I've served on the Alachua County Commission for twenty years, but I still learn something new in every meeting. Practice with the buttons and levers of government have put me in a position to recognize proposals that offer more lip service than consequence. I've learned that defining the agenda is more important than reacting to it. I've learned the hard way that a vote is not the end of the process: good government demands long-term follow-through and perpetual monitoring, and institutional memory goes a long way in ensuring that governments remain faithful to hard-won public-interest legislation.
Reform Law Enforcement
In my twenty years on the County Commission I have attempted, mostly without success, to curb the steady militarization of our civilian police forces, contain the growth in our bloated and under-scrutinized law enforcement budget, and redirect those funds into more rational and preventative approaches to public safety, like social services and early childhood development. I'm cautiously optimistic that we are poised to make progress in the next few years, and I'm prepared to push.
Climate Change and Environment
Our community is in a more resilient position than most to cope with the slow-motion train wreck of climate change, thanks to far-sighted policies like two decades of public land conservation, a strong urban growth boundary, a countywide wetlands ordinance that's more protective than the state default, and open space set-asides for new development. But we obviously can't afford to rest on our green laurels; we must push harder while we still can.
I support community planning, and my focus as a policymaker has been the Alachua County Comprehensive Plan. Tools like a strong urban growth boundary, mixed-use zoning, and multimodal transportation infrastructure yield a more physically and socially integrated community, promote more affordable housing options, protect the natural environment, and reduce the public costs that all citizens must bear. Sprawling, leap-frog growth yields the opposite of all these things. Our Plan is the best response we have to the rapid growth that has overwhelmed and fragmented so many other Florida communities, and it must be protected from the "death of a thousand cuts" that is the fate of most lofty-sounding growth plans in our state. That requires a knowledge of the details, and the history that went into them.