Please click on image to ENLARGE view of mayoral-candidate forum sponsored by the Sierra Club on Thursday September 25, 2008, at the University of Arkansas law school's courtroom.
Candidates in consensus on ‘going green’
BY DUSTIN TRACY Northwest Arkansas Times
Posted on Friday, September 26, 2008
Fayetteville mayoral and alderman candidates are in favor of sustainability, being environmentally friendly and creating a city that will lead the nation in “ green ” development. But not all the candidates agreed on exactly how to do so.
The Ozarks Headwaters Group of the Sierra Club hosted a forum Thursday night for all candidates to weigh in on the environment issue. Recycling, environmentally friendly development, public transportation and green ordinances were among the topics discussed.
Mayoral candidates present included Incumbent Mayor Dan Coody, Walt Eilers, Steve Clark, Lioneld Jordan and Sami Sutton. They squared off for their fifth debate in a month. Candidate Adam Fire Cat was not present.
Northwest Arkansas Times report on Sierra mayoral debate
Eilers kicked off the forum stating that he wanted to be a servant leader and focus on bringing a “ Green Valley Initiative ” to Fayetteville to encourage environmentally friendly businesses to settle within the city limits and provide economic growth. He said that a government providing tax breaks or incentives to sustainable businesses could be very successful.
Coody told the audience to let his resume as mayor for the past eight years speak for itself. He pointed out that he brought in the first city sustainability coordinator in the state of Arkansas and has consistently pushed for innovative energy-rating systems to be used for judging new homes.
Clark said he wants to see a tree for every parking spot and more parks filling the city of Fayetteville. He added that public transportation is one of his priorities and buses, satellite parking and park and ride programs would be a nice addition to Fayetteville.
Jordan also asked the public to look at his service record when they hit the voting booths. He said when it comes to voting on environmental issues, he’s cast 143 “ yes” votes and very few “ no ” votes. Projects like the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks and the citywide smoking ban top his list.
Sutton said she’d like to put more focus on recycling and tree planting. She said wants to see more businesses and apartment complexes offering recycling programs and she’d like to do away with bottled water and switch the city to tap water.
On the alderman side of the debate Ward 1 candidates Brenda Thiel and Don Conner; Ward 4 candidates Craig Honchell, Sarah Lewis and Bernard Sulliban; and Ward 2 candidates Mark Kinion and Matthew Petty talked about environmental issues as well.
Thiel asked that voters consider what she said is an excellent record of service. During her two terms in office, Thiel sponsored and supported ordinances dealing with hillside development, water runoff and drainage issues, animal protection and services, and sidewalk and trail development.
Conner said he wants to put more teeth in the city’s ordinances dealing with hillside development and he wants to create more environmentally friendly ordinances.
Kinion said that he’s very sincere about protecting the environment, stating that he wanted the city to become less dependent on automobiles and he supports the 2025 plan while encouraging environmentally friendly businesses to come to Fayetteville.
Petty said protecting the environment is his lifeblood and his experience in lobbying for climate change and running social sustenance programs should be proof of how committed he is to “ going green” in Fayetteville.
Honchell said he’s just an average guy who’s learning about how he can help the environment. He said that he’s interested in environmental ethics and the green technology that’s being produced.
Lewis said basically her whole educational background is in environmental studies and she works with developers around the region teaching them how they can be environmentally friendly and can save money in the process.
Sulliban said he’s a community activist who’s been involved in many grassroots movements. He said pushing for recycling for businesses and apartment complexes is one of his priorities. He said he’d also like to see entire neighborhoods of environmentally friendly houses built.
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