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Questions from the Audience

Buckrail's candidate questions unfiltered

If elected, what will be your first priority in office?

Jackson is better off all-around with people who work and live in our community. Housing insecurity is bad for residents and workers, for our businesses and our economy, and for our overall safety and wellbeing of our community. Therefore, my first priority will be to address the housing issue. We need short term solutions that help those who are homeless now or who are soon to be. Secondly, we need to address the inflated rental market; our community cannot thrive when half of our residents are uncertain about how much their rent is going to be next month or or 6 months from now - or if they and their family will be out on the curb. Thirdly, we need to address residential development, zoning, and LDRs and what is causing the disproportionate job growth. Additionally, we must address the question of livable wages in Jackson.

What do you see as the greatest dilemma facing the Town of Jackson?

Once again, the greatest dilemma facing Jackson is housing. In the short-term, it’s harming our community; in the long-term it threatens our conservation efforts and the ability for our community to ‘regenerate’ and innovate as people from across the socioeconomic ladder are priced out. Along the same lines, children raised in Jackson do not automatically have the ability to come back ‘home’. The housing issue posing existential threats across the board - but unlike San Francisco or New York City, we are small enough to do something to shift course.
 

Are you on the "No Compromise" wagon or do you believe in negotiation? If you believe in finding common ground, please give examples of past experiences where you negotiated to a common outcome.
Compromise means everyone loses to a degree. I make a distinction between compromise and negotiation. Quality negotiation results in beneficial solutions for all parties, focused on common interests rather than specific predetermined outcomes; it relies on understanding motivations rather than simply positions. It’s a far better means to resolution than compromise. So, the short answer is I believe in working together to find mutually beneficial solutions.

Housing is a hot button issue that the local governments want to support financially. How do you plan on cracking down on what I see as run away abuse by the owners with illegal renting?

Good question. I’m not totally clear on what ‘illegal renting’ means to you [the questioner]. Therefore, I’ll address my two interpretations: illegal short-term rentals and run-away abuses of long-term renters. To address the issue of illegal short-term rentals, the town is taking legal actions to counteract this practice, which is effective but likely costly and time-consuming. Property taxes could be an avenue to generate revenue from these exploitative owners and recoup public money spent on policing. However, I feel for some owners or renters who are illegally using short-term rentals to offset rents or mortgages; people are trying to make things work in a very expensive place. To address the second area of abuse of long-term renters, I’d push for rent stabilization measures. Rent stabilization is often but incorrectly used interchangeably with ‘rent control’, which is crudely the practice of freezing rents that can be passed down to family members. Rent control is extreme. Rent stabilization is the practice of setting annual rent increase limits that are in line with inflation and can be reset with new tenants, but that stabilize the market to create rental security. Additionally, seeing as how Wyoming does not have a lot of protections in place for renters, establishing a small department within the Town of Jackson to aid renters in knowing their rights and how to protect them could also be helpful.

What is your opinion on using SPET dollars to pay for the West Broadway Landslide fix?

I’m all for using SPET dollars for the West Broadway Slide. People’s lives, homes, and livelihoods are at risk if we have a catastrophic failure, which would also be far more expensive to mitigate. Furthermore, I don’t like the idea of putting a price tag on people’s lives.

Do you consider Jackson a "Sanctuary City"? Do you think it is ok for Jackson to be a Sanctuary City?

Interesting question. Undocumented workers are unfairly scapegoated; they actively contribute to our community and economy, and they are only one piece in the overall economic puzzle. With regard to Jackson being a ‘Sanctuary City’, I read Mayor Mark Baron’s absolute refuting of this designation with awe. I would hope we would be a sanctuary of sorts for people who are trying to realize a better life for themselves and their families or to achieve the elusive American Dream. We have undocumented workers in Jackson who support our local economy and businesses; many of them are part of the collective of undocumented workers who pay billions in taxes across the US and who will never see it returned. Additionally, if there weren’t people who were willing to hire them or jobs for them to do, undocumented workers would likely not be in Jackson. Some could argue Jackson is a sanctuary for people on both sides of this ‘illegal’ equation.

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