My platform for Peoria
The city of Peoria is growing quickly, and the decisions that we make today will be felt for generations to come. We need to guide development to make the city into the place we what it to be tomorrow.
I am Jason Dragon, and I am running for city council. I am a proud Husband, and a Father of three great boys. I am a small business owner, owning Emerald Computers, and I am also a Realtor. I want to be the next councilperson from the Acacia district.
I see Peoria as a place full of potential, it is good now but can be really great if the right decisions are put in place. Here are some specific ways I will work to make our city great.
We need to make it easier to grow a business in Peoria. Peoria has earned a reputation of being hostile to business development. The American dream is to start your business, usually from your garage and make it into something. In Peoria home-based business have very restrictive rules oppressing them, fortunately these rules are hardly enforced. When your business gets bigger you want a retail space, but the city thinks it is their right to decide what sort of businesses get built here, in some cases they will not allow a charity to open because they will not bring in enough sales tax revenue, and in other cases business have to do costly enhancements to their building just to satisfy outdated city requirements. In many cases this makes companies now want to move here, or once here to move out. I would work hard to constantly keep the rights of small business owners and property owners in the forefront, making it easier for business to build and grow in Peoria.
The city also treats small business owners as a source of extra money by doing multiple fire inspections in a year, stopping in for ten minutes and then sending the owners a $150 bill each time, this harassment needs to stop. All of this is the reason that as you drive down grand avenue, or down 91st near Peoria you see that almost all the building are empty. How would you feel if you put a huge amount of your life savings into a building and the city won’t let you do your dream there? This sad event is happening all over the city just so the city can get extra money, and I will work to put a stop to it. I would also look at major changes in the required amount of parking in our city, it is ridiculous that for most retail property in Peoria the parking lot is vastly larger than the store itself and is 70%+ vacant almost all the time. Furthermore, some business are rejected because the city puts unreasonable demands are parking lot sizes for that business, lots sizes that would never be filled up. In the face of Uber, Lyft, and people carpooling more I would drastically reduce these requirements, making way for parts of these lots to be converted into more stores or even condos. I will be the pro-business and growth councilperson.
I will work to make our roads better, by promoting smarter design, and much smarter lights. I will question every design that passes in front of us, to see if it is the best we can do. We have places that have a light where none is needed, road that are blocked for no reason, making people drive much further and places that are designed poorly making a light needed where a simple redesign would help with the flow much better. I will make sure that 10 cars don’t sit at a red light for 2 minutes while the cross traffic has a green and there is little traffic. Then we have lengthy conduction projects with little work done in months, and headaches for everyone, all for such a small improvement that most people will be very alarmed when it is done. The inconvenience caused to citizens is a huge uncounted cost, people spend much more time in traffic, causing extra traffic in surrounding neighborhoods and this has even caused many accidents. A huge factor in the livability of a city is how much time it takes to get anywhere, and everywhere I look I see room for improvement, and will work hard to constantly push for such improvements.
As a suburb of a major metro area housing is one of the key features of our city, but right now it is all being built in an outdated style, as a Realtor I have ideas that will bring vibrant new housing concepts to the city. Of course we should only suggest what owners do, if someone owns property in almost all cases they should have the final say on what they do with their land.
In Phoenix, Tempe and other cities in the valley higher density housing is booming and becoming very popular, this sort of housing is in high demand with the younger generations and takes up less land and much less infrastructure from the city, and is centrally located so causes much less traffic, yet the city has not promoted this type of construction and has even put block out there to make it harder. I would work to make this type of construction the preferred method and give it streamlined support from city planning and permit offices. I do not prefer the low rise, 2-3 story type buildings that most apartment complexes are made out of, I would like to see something taller, and more centered around community than cars.
We still have a failed downtown and after over a decade of the current leadership very little has been done. In any city that has successfully revitalized their downtown the step that made it happen as a surge of denser residential in the heart of down town, this was usually mixed directly with retail and office all in the same building. The city has failed to revitalize downtown because they have failed to promote this type of construction, just look at High Street, or Tempe Town Lake, or downtown phoenix to see how well this works. We have to be careful with housing because whatever is built now will still be here generations from now. We made mistakes in the past, such as homes next to freeways, that we are still paying for. Bad planning is causing traffic snarls all over town as people drive many miles through bottleneck road systems that should have been avoided. We can do little to fix these bad decisions but we can learn from them and not repeat them.
As we grow we need to be mindful of our roots and preserve the deep history that we have. I see great value in the history of downtown Peoria and would work to protect it. I would work hard to reopen the Peoria Historic Society and give it a budget more fitting of its importance. I would work to stop the forced destruction of historic properties that has happened in the last few years.
budget and taxes
I have always felt that there is enough money for what is important, but that we do things that are not important and worse we do things in ways that are just wasteful and bureaucratic. The city has more than enough money do everything that we need for it to do and enough left over to do most of the dreams we wish we can do. I would look at the budget like a business and how much things should actually cost, and not the current governmental way where everything starts with pervious spending and adds a percentage to it. I don’t feel that we should raise taxes on our neighbors and business, and I would fight any request to do so.
The police department is one of the most important functions of our local government. I feel that our police department tries to do a great job but does not have the resources that it needs to that great job. We lose too many good officers to other cities and entities that pay better than we do. This has caused cases to take much longer and other cases to not be followed up on at all. This can and should be fixed by giving this department more money in the budget. Most of that money should be given to officer salaries so that we can increase the number of officers and their retention. By reducing other areas of the budget where there is enough we can do this with no impact in taxes.
Business MINDED leadership
We need to run the city, in many ways, like a business. We need to figure out what things cost and see if the return to the citizens is worth it. We need to treat our customers, the citizens of Peoria with the importance they should have. There are many small examples where we can do better. Citizens should not be forced to sign in to enter city hall just to pay their water bill, we should reopen the city hall to allow them to park in the back also. The city rents many meeting rooms at rec centers, and other buildings around the city, but the price is so high that it is vacant 95% of the time, there should be variable pricing, just like a hotel, to maximize revenue for the city. We want to make our city the best place it can be to live work and play.
I understand the problems and I have the solutions, I have done the research to know what works, and what we can do to make it happen here in Peoria. Its time for business minded leadership in Peoria.
I want to be open to you, so I am giving you my personal cell phone number, you can text me any time, or call me from 10am until 8pm any day. I want to talk with you and answer any questions you may have about me and my hopes for the city of Peoria.