Latest in a series of posts on candidates for election
Candidate for Mayor Dana Grubb at the Lehigh Valley for All “Meet the Candidates” event February 17.
What I’d like to do tonight is outline three key areas of my platform:
Public safety and policing:
We need to customize policing and public safety to meet Bethlehem’s needs. I think Chief Kott’s vision for Bethlehem’s police force aligns pretty much with mine; to provide the best service and protection possible to residents, to various out reach measures. I’ve lived through two versions of community policing, and I think it’s been proven to work. It establishes very strong relationships within the community, and in the end it grows trust between law enforcement and the residents. I will implement more diversity in hiring and seek to employ more Bethlehem residents throughout all departments in City government. I worked there 27 years, and when I was hired, you had to be a Bethlehem resident. I’m not saying I want everybody to be a Bethlehem resident, but I think residency improves the buy-in to the community. I fully support programs that encourage young people to consider a law enforcement career in their hometown, programs such as the Junior Police Academy. Continue police training in crisis intervention and diversity recognition, as well as the appropriate interaction with resources dealing with mental health and substance dependence will be a priority for me. And there will be a zero tolerance policy across all city departments for discrimination and disrespect. Our laws will be applied uniformly and fairly.
Considering climate change, I support the city’s climate action plan, and I will pursue initiatives such as widespread and conveniently located electric charging stations for civilian and commercial vehicles. I will seek to amend zoning ordinances to require solar installations on the roofs of large new developments, and I want large warehouse developments to require off-street and energy stations to reduce diesel truck idling. Truck traffic and its attendant pollution disproportionately impacts the very young and the old in the community who are most vulnerable to assaults on their health. And it’s especially dangerous for those with fewer resources. As a long-time advocate of appropriate economic development in low-income communities, in the Southside in particular, I think it is critical that whatever benefits get allocated from the climate action plan apply to all communities not just those that can afford solar panels and electric vehicles.
In my 27-year city career, I served as a finance specialist in the City’s housing rehabilitation program, later as grant administrator for all grant programs, including Community Block Grant and Home. My responsibilities included oversight of that same rehab program and the home ownership opportunity program that covered down payment costs for first-time home buyers. I also processed a number of HUD loans used to convert empty factory spaces into affordable housing units, all benefiting low and moderate income residents in Bethlehem. I recently crafted the closing assistance program called CAP, the guidelines for the non-profit housing opportunity program, which provides up to $12,000 in closing costs for low and moderate income first-time home buyers.
I think my experience matters. I have a lot to bring to the table because of that experience in City Hall and since as a small business owner.
Reminder that you can find a comparison of the mayoral candidates here.