Coalition Report Card
Pulaski County Justice of the Peace #5
Candidate Mary (Jill) Kennedy
Possible: 60 pts. – Scored: 25 pts. – Grade: 42 percent in Agreement
Do you support a Zoning Code and Land Use Plan for the Maumelle Watershed?
While I fully support an individual landowner’s right to develop his/her property, I also feel that it is incumbent upon these individuals to take responsible steps in development when it impacts a large population of people. Any potential damage to the watershed and, therefore, water quality, must be addressed, effects of irresponsible logging towards landslides, soil erosion, etc.
0 pts. Since 2007, the greatest risk to our drinking water reservoir at Lake Maumelle has been identified as the threat of excessive development, for which government regulation has been deemed necessary by water utility officials and other advocates of keeping our drinking water clean. Prevention is much less costly than cleanup of pollution.
If you do support this drinking-water protection ordinance, outline major features that you think should be included, such as annual review of water quality testing, to be reported to the Quorum Court.
Storm water runoff and turbidity levels must be closely monitored if development is allowed to ensure water quality and safety. At this juncture, it is difficult to gauge what the true impact could be; instead experts can only look to empirical evidence from other similar projects across the country (ex: Lake Dallas, disinfection byproduct issues appear to be cancer-causing in addition to taste and odor issues). In relation to the development of a housing development, concerns are different than a golf course because of potential issues with car exhaust and household pollution and the like.
Within Arkansas, Fayetteville’s Streamside Protection ordinance (for sloping and streamside land ordinance) is probably the best model.
Smart development while simultaneously protecting our natural resources is important for a better future for all of Pulaski County.
5 pts. For researching a model of protection, although not supporting any ordinance at this time, when one is pending for a vote, and when a threat of pollution to drinking water has clearly been identified.
Most of our jail inmates are repeat offenders; most have alcohol or drug- addiction problems. What would you do to close revolving door of jail, which has led to overcrowding?
Pulaski County’s PAC (Post-Adjudication Court – Judge McGowan) Court is currently addressing this very subject. This program requires strenuous and difficult benchmarks as an incentive to offenders to expunge their records and prevent the cycle from repeating in these cases (i.e.: avoiding jail time and, thus, overcrowding). While this is only one measure currently being utilized, alternative programs currently in place around the state (such as in Washington Co. - Judge Gunn) would serve as a good benchmark for additional programs for Pulaski County.
0 pts. Expansion of this program and other diversions are needed to reduce repeat-offender numbers. Many are never allowed into such programs, by current standards.
Do you support additional funding for the county Youth Services program, which offers prevention and intervention programs for youth,?
Youth services have become increasingly important over the past several years due to the shift in society and the fast-paced, ever changing world that we live in. One thing has not changed as our society has - youth still need meaningful opportunities for engagement and empowerment within their communities. The term community not only extends to their neighborhoods, but their schools and churches. Other states utilized evidence-based prevention programming in order to universally impact the lives of youth. An example of such programming is the nationally recognized Peers Making Peace (PMP) program, which originated in the state of Texas. Peers Making Peace offers an opportunity for students to learn critical life skills that not only help them resolve conflicts in their own lives, but in the lives of their peers as well. This program has been proven to extend naturally into the community as well, allowing family members to access conflict resolution services offered by the youth. PMP, like other effective prevention programs, utilizes many different theories that have been proven critical to positive youth development such as the 40 Developmental Assets, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and the Risk & Protective Factors approach by Hawkins and Catalano. The results of programs like these speak for themselves; schools with PMP have 90% fewer assaults, 73% fewer expulsions, 58% fewer discipline referrals and almost 20% better state standardized test scores than schools that do not offer the program.
10 pts. Although not directly stating she would propose funding for these programs, the research cited here does indicate a willingness to pursue this.
What would you do to support and expand the Brownfields program in the county Community Services program, which enables cleaning and recovery of contaminated sites for redevelopment?
Including line items, Brownfields currently makes up 28% of the Community Services budget; at this rate, it has the largest portion, including Housing. While I fully support initiatives to return contaminated sites to their previous state, it is prudent to ensure that other items are being given an equitable share, as well. Less than 2% of the Community Services budget goes to parks, recreation and library services. Before evaluating Brownfields for expansion, we should look at the overall mix of expenditures within this department’s budget.
0 pts. County gets money from Federal EPA budget for this program, and new grant and loan opportunities are regularly offered by EPA, which should be better publicized.
Pulaski Co. built Verizon Arena, which has lived within its means, but now is consuming its savings. In the event the Arena runs out of operating money, what, if anything, should Pulaski Co. do?
Before Pulaski County acts at all, Verizon Arena management should look into additional revenue generation events and present a sustainability plan to the county, for us to even consider additional action. At that time, the county may look into options for additional assistance.
© CGLRN 2012