Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Meet the Candidate - Brian Cramer

Candidate Questionnaire
Brian Cramer

Gazette: What sets you apart from other candidates? 
For the past 18 months, I have actively volunteered for projects that impact economic vitality and quality of life in Baldwin City.  I have volunteered for Baldwin City Economic Development Corp., Baldwin City Chamber of Commerce, Baldwin City Senior Engagement Coordinating Council, and Douglas County E-Community.

I have experience working on a wide variety of Baldwin City initiatives including senior housing, youth entrepreneurship, and small business development.  I have also participated in fund raising projects for non-profits in Baldwin City including cultural and historic attractions.

I'm committed to serving Baldwin City now and in the future, regardless of the outcome of this election.

Gazette: What aspects of your personal history, accomplishments, and personal philosophy make you the best possible choice in this election cycle? 
Personal accomplishments don't  matter once you are on the council.  What does matter, is being able to listen, learn, communicate, and make decisions based on the values of integrity, discipline, and character.

I am a team player, and I believe the other candidates who have communicated their ideas are as well.  My goal is for Baldwin City to be at its best, not for me to be the "best possible choice".

GazetteWhat do you see as the most important issue this election? 
Cramer:   I believe helping Baldwin City achieve responsible economic growth is the most important issue during this election.  Our Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) will provide property tax incentives for new construction and improvements to existing property.  But it won't do much unless we engage property owners, developers, and builders on the benefits of the NRP.

I am ready to help the council and city staff educate the public on the NRP if called on to do so.

Gazette: What would you do to ensure the community you hope to represent is a livable community? 
Cramer:  I would continue strong collaborations with the community organizations that make Baldwin City more livable.  Organizations such as the Chamber, Lumberyard Arts Center, Recreation Commission, and the Library do a fantastic job providing programs and services for our citizens.  Their leadership fosters growth in programs despite large increases in public funding.  That leadership helped inspire me to run for city council.  The City of Baldwin City supports these organizations in various ways, and I would be excited to collaborate with them as a councilperson.

GazetteIf money were no obstacle, what is one project you’d like to see the city move forward on? 
Cramer:  Let's focus on making money less of an obstacle instead of pretending it's not.  That starts by assertively pursuing economic growth while considering how we spend tax dollars and revenue from utilities.  

Gazette: Polls show most voters don't think government works. What would you do to reform the underlying structures and systems that seem to be a major cause of the problem? 
I applaud City staff that traveled to Florida to face a hurricane and restore power to our distant neighbors.  Their spirit was supported by City administration, council, and our citizens.  That's one example of our local government at work.  It works here in Baldwin City on a daily can see examples of it everywhere.

The city council has improved over the past four years, and I believe it can continue to make more improvement over the next four.

Gazette: Do you think eliminating obsolete laws, regulations (and bureaucracies) would help reduce wasteful spending in government? And if so, how would you do it? 
Cramer:  The city council approves the budget, so wasteful spending should be addressed during the budget formation process.  As a councilperson, I would demand full transparency to get the best information from city staff.  I'm not aware of any laws or regulations that prevent doing those things.

 Gazette: Do you think state and local civil service rules make it harder to cut wasteful spending and to efficiently manage public agencies? If so, what would you do about it? 
Cramer:  Again, the council is responsible for approving the budget and policy.  It's about planning and considering all options including cuts prior to budget approval.

Gazette: What is your position on the Baldwin City Recreation Center?
Cramer: I agree with the City Council's desire to have citizens vote on this issue. 

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