Interview with mayoral candidate Tom Frantz

Editor's Note: These are the results of a Tidings survey e-mailed to all candidates.

DT: How old are you?

TF: 47

DT: How long have you been in Ashland?

TF: since 1976

DT: What are your top three priorities?

TF: Transportation possibilities in town and in the Valley. I see this as an opportunity, and we have good things to look forward to by improving our transportation, transportation planning and parking in and around Ashland and the Rogue Valley. We need to look into state and federal grant money to make our town less congested and safer by implementing better transportation such as 20-minute shuttles in the short-term, and an even more comprehensive transportation plan for the future. This needs to be turned from a problem into what I see as a huge opportunity!

We need to thank our merchants for their tenacity and hard work and continue to support them; they are the lifeblood of Ashland. SOU, OSF, Ashland public schools and all the merchants in town have more potential to dovetail into the structure of the city. Most urgently a real solution for pedestrian students needs to be addressed. There is tremendous potential for us to open our doors to better transportation for students, retired residents, OSF and off-OSF tourists and the public at large.

To let the very departments do their jobs. There are great people in place in the [city] departments, and they need to be respected for their expertise and experience in various fields they work in every day.

DT: What is the biggest issue facing Ashland in the next two years, and how do you intend to address it?

TF: We need to strengthen our support for our merchants and city business, and we need a working City Council that equally and equitably listens to experts that have viable input, but also discerns and decides without looking back.

DT: What kind of experience do you have, and how will it affect your approach to city government?

TF: I have been a high school teacher that required team building and listening skills to develop successful people everywhere I've been. I wore many hats as a production manager and producer for eight years.

DT: Would you try to be a strong leader, or do you see your role more as the facilitator of City Council meetings?

TF: I am a leader by listening and example. I understand some public and some staff and some Council members may come to the table with a rewired preloaded decision — I am ready for that challenge and I can listen with big ears and facilitate at the Council meetings. I want to cut in half the study sessions and save time and money, encourage team building within the Council and enforce Roberts Rules in the meetings as the ordinance states.

DT: What do you think the city government's role should be in relation to the business community?

TF: It is not the city's job to have too many study sessions to decide whether we allow a stuffed bear to sit in front of a great chocolate shop. It is the city's job to implement better parking strategies, provide parking for employees and to support the merchants and their employees.

DT: Is the current pace of growth in Ashland desirable?

TF: We have some more growth available in the UGB [urban growth boundary], enough projected growth for 20 years. The Council and Planning Commission have the ability and expertise to look at further growth areas with professional and comprehensive judgment. I support the planning department staff and the Planning Commission, however we need to look at some creative permitting, zone density transfers and conditional use permitting within the city so that we can all benefit.

DT: Should the city government continue to devote resources to affordable housing?

TF: A lot of hard work has been put into the arena of "affordable housing," and I believe that more can be done in the area of density transfers, creative permitting and conditional use permits so that all can benefit.

DT: How would you address the city government's growing financial problems?

TF: The city administrator and department heads work very, very hard to create a working budget each spring, and this is not an easy task. It takes extremely hard work and rolling up sleeves to make this work. I look at this as a huge task and will work hard to make fiscal responsibility number one as mayor.

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