With limited land in the city for potential commercial development and tax revenue, what can the City Council do to build the tax base outside of taxes on private homes? What would you do as a councilor?
I don’t agree with the premise that the city has limited land for commercial development. We need to take advantage of existing vacant commercial properties for adaptive reuse or demolition if the cost of rehabilitation is beyond any potential revenues.
The City Council may have a limited role in the effort, but the city can do more for adaptive reuse of vacant storefronts and properties. We are not alone in this. But we can find our niche and promote it.
UMass Dartmouth’s decision to move the College of Visual and Performing Arts out of New Bedford is seen as a significant blow to business and cultural activity downtown. What could the city have done to keep the CVPA here? What should the city do now?
I’m not sure the City could have done much to prevent the situation beyond pushing our legislative delegation for sufficient funding to lease for one more year, which would have provided everyone — students, faculty, administrators and the property owner —– with a better ending.
Going forward, the City should do whatever it can legally do to assist in the adaptive reuse of the building. It’s now in the owner’s court to redevelop the property.
Most agree the city needs more affordable housing. How do you see the role of the City Council in this?
I am a strong proponent of rent stabilization, not control, as a stop-gap measure while the housing market is adjusting. Rent control fixes rent without increasing over time, which is unfair to landlords. Rent stabilization is done through a collaborative process among stakeholders that sets reasonable rent increases based on property improvements and costs.
The City Council’s current committee on affordable housing is headed in the right direction. The public hearings have been a breath of fresh air. That committee is still seeking comments via email.
What’s lacking is a voice for the tenants. I am asking the neighborhood associations to act as a conduit for tenants and to form a tenants’ association that will participate in the process.
How should the city balance the needs of the offshore wind industry with the needs of New Bedford’s commercial fishermen?
Practically speaking, I’m not sure the City Council is able to do much either way. Outstanding issues are the use of navigational aids around the towers and spacing of the towers relative to fishing grounds.
Editor’s note: Candidates in all contested races were asked the same questions with a limit of roughly 200 words for each answer. Additional profiles will be printed as they are returned by the candidates.