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Sonoma County, CA November 2, 2004 Election
Smart Voter

How I am different from the other candidates

By Chris Elms

Candidate for Member, City Council; City of Sonoma

This information is provided by the candidate
Practical and visionary. Many real ideas, spending little money, talking to people a lot.
Here are some ways of noticing how I'm different than the other candidates.

1) Drive around town at 18 or 20 mph, and notice how calm you could feel. Imagine if everyone where going at that speed.

2) Visit Firehouse Village and imagine that instead of 34 units, there were 22, in a horseshoe still, but toward the front, so that behind the houses there was land for kids to play and gardens to be planted

3) Visit various of the new developments and imagine that they are going up at half the rate; that every spare space isn't being rushed into building; that there are less jackhammers and saws noising up our stressed small town

4) Even better, imagine a town where people did most of their traveling inside city limits on bicycles and walking, since the cars would be slower and it would be safe. My whole campaign has been conducted, meetings, forums, door-to-door, on bicycle.

5) Look at the sun's questions and notice which candidate gave precise and exact amounts that the $20 million redevelopment money could be spent on.

6) Go to city hall and see who is spending the big bucks and who isn't. I will call, after the election, for a reform to either A) limit candidates for city council to $4000 ( I'm spending several hundred, but give the sign folks their fun); or B) have this: for every dollar over $2000 that a candidate spends, they must contribute one to a local non-profit; so someone spending $6000, would have to contribute $4000 to charity. Wouldn't that be decent, instead of all this me, me, me business?

And then here's more ways I'm different:

Same birthday as Thomas Jefferson: practical and visionary. Created, via 5 years work in the soil, the basic beauty and layout of what is now the Sonoma Garden Park. Calling for a paradigm shift: from rushing around ( and hence losing what is most important: our life), to slowing down. Slowing down traffic and slowing down the rate of building.

I'm ready to help spearhead a movement to slow down the rate of building. If that means having a citizens referendum, then let's get to it. We are building too many houses, too big of houses, too fast. We are packing the houses too close, sardine building, we are depriving the children of the future of soil in which to enrich their soul.

I love ecology and live ecology. I'm not addicted to the car. I make part of my living (via the Feldenkrais Method, see helping people stand, walk and move more easily, and see the action of walking outdoors as a sacred part of our heritage, to be encouraged every way possible.

I have ecological integrity. I don't talk about the environment and then rush around in my car. I have done the entire campaign on my bicycle, not just to help the Earth, but because it's so much more fun and alive, to have a ceiling five miles above me rather than two inches, and to be able to smell flowers and see people to talk with, and enjoy the gardens as I'm getting around town.

Calling loud and clear to keep our small town small.

The least number of signs, the most ideas. Check out for many: Here are some:

1) Park cars at the high school on weekends and have a shuttle to bring them in.

2) Drop the speed limit to 18 or 20 mph on residential streets, so walking and bicycling are safe and real alternatives, for children, for the elderly, for all of us..

3) Divide up housing equally 25% upper level, 25% moderate, 25% low, and 25% very low, instead of as being done, 87% upper, 7% moderate, 5% low and 3% very low.

4) Cut back the rate of building severely.

5) Use redevelopment funds to give grants to move toward solar electricity; sustainable business, and high-tech infrastructure.

6) Close some streets some days for the fun and a break from the car. Close all the streets but 12, one day of the year.

7) Create organic zone within the city.

8) Explore how to create an organic zone for the entire valley.

9) Move toward thinking like a watershed, for the whole valley.

10) Encourage merchants ( and events, especially the museum) to give a % off to locals who ride a bike or walk to their stores.

11) Calling to use, by drywell, the 7 million gallons of water that falls each year on the Plaza.

12) Figure all ways possible to improve the local bus service.

13) Pay people to take out front lawns and put in drought tolerant gardens.

14) Have the city stop wasting money and energy by overcooling meetings.

What else is different about me?

I'm spending little money ($208 at October 30). I don't believe in buying votes; ecology is in part about frugality; I don't thinks signs and bumper stickers have anything to do with the quality of my ideas, which is why I'm running. I love talking to people, learning from people, meeting people.

I want to keep central to my campaign a realization of the core meaning of life: to love more and to be happy.

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