1. How important is a comprehensive land and water use plan, and why has the territory been unable in more than 20 years of effort to enact on it? What will it take to change this, and what, if anything, will you do bring about such change?
I dont believe a comprehensive plan is possible. I prefer to use CZM initiatives for shore line development and local zoning boards to establish a firm line for land and water use. We desperately need development on St. Croix, but must learn to stay away from speculators. How often have we re-zoned properties for projects that do not get built? Re-zoning must have a time limit for action or it is lost. Environmental impact fees must rise as well as re-zoning fees. We need the added revenue for investigation and enforcement. We must put citizens with a vested interest in development and/or environmental protection on our zoning boards with no empty seats and require each and every member to be present at each meeting or yield their seat.
2. How important is private and public sector partnering, and how can such partnering best be accomplished in order to be most effective in addressing economic and social problems in the territory.
We need the private sector to aid and assist in many economic and social initiatives in the Territory. Considering recent history, as well as the current state of affairs in our Government, I cannot imagine a private business wanting to be partners. The public sector must make it easier for private business to start-up operations and work hand in hand for similar goals without being the liability it seems, at times, to be. Important economic and social issues hang in the balance. The private sector is prepared to help. I am not sure of the ability of the public sector to follow through at this time. Perhaps the Government should prepare to give up some control in order to allow the private sector to do what it does best provide service and not lose money.
3. What are the biggest problems in the public education system, and what will it take to solve them? What will you do toward getting them solved?
Mismanagement, possible corruption and negligence has led to the decay of our school system. The new Commissioner of Education must provide the reorganization and overhaul of the entire Department. We spend a lot of money on education that does not make it to the classroom, where it belongs. The students want to learn, the teachers are dedicated. Together, they can prove that they are better than "next to last" or "last." We must provide the materials and incentives. I propose a school for the arts, a school of math and science and a school of sports education, where qualified students can apply to enhance their educational experience in their choice of a particular field. School can be a challenge for tomorrow instead of the burden it is today.
4. How do you feel about floating future bonds to finance government initiatives, given the territorys present bond indebtedness or more than $1 billion? What will you to persuade others of your views?
I am not comfortable with any future bond issues. Already, we have mortgaged at least one generation. Lets prove that we can find the way to pay off our existing debts. Clinton/Gore dug into the National Debt. Bush, like his father before him, will double and triple that Debt, just like our incumbent Governor and Senators have done. Put a stop to deficit spending. Lets pay some bills, plan for the future and move forward to reform.
Landfill is still the most cost effective way to address our problem. We need to begin to separate our trash before it gets to the landfill. Paper, plastic and metals can be put to better use. I favor incinerating all paper products at high temperature, releasing only the water vapor into the air. Do not be fooled by the waste/energy proposal. The Company would have to import tons of garbage to feed that system. St. Croix must not become the garbage capitol of the Caribbean. A landfill must have a limited life. Dig it, fill it, level it off and reclaim it for public recreation. Today, it is important to have a pre-dump site with fenced off areas designated for specific materials, such as metals (washing machines, refrigerators), wood products, cars and car parts, etc. These areas must be open 24/7 to accommodate the public with no fear of harassment by government officials. Less enforcement, more access, cleaner Island.
6. What is the most viable solution to the territorys sewage disposal problems? What will you do to advance the implementation of this solution?
The solution is modern sewage treatment facilities, capable of passing all EPA standards. On St. Croix, the Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) has never passed a full EPA test. The same test that the Government forces private STPs to pass or be fined. Private plants pass these tests on St. Croix. A modern, low-tech STP can provide an effluent that can be used for farming, golf course irrigation or fire services. We have local, experienced companies that build STPs that work. Ask Divi, The Reef or Coakley Bay. Local problems with local solutions.
7. How do you assess the economy of the Virgin Islands at this time, what do you see as its best hope for growth? What will you do to foster that growth?
Our economy is on the brink of disaster. If we could only use the fiber optic lines that run through Frederiksted town, alone, there would be a revival and rejuvenation that would bolster the economy. The major hi-tech internet players live or die on the ability to move information quickly and securely. Put a stop to the Innovative monopoly on hard wire telecommunications. We need a new company on St. Croix, in Frederiksted, that will provide low cost fiber-optic, T-1 line connections to this industry. By providing existing EDC programs as an incentive for relocation, we can attract companies that will bring jobs that will help to bolster our sagging economy.
8. How pervasive is corruption within the local government, and how should this problem, if you consider it to be a problem, best be addressed?
Corruption or mismanagement? Both can be solved with the power of your vote. A vote for the incumbent Governor and Senators means that you approve of their actions and want more. A vote for new representatives sends the message, loud and clear, St. Croix will no longer participate in "business as usual." Lets clean it up and clear it out.
Evil triumphs when good men and women do nothing.
9. What is the most viable solution to Government Employees Retirement System payouts exceeding revenues, and what will you do to advance the implementation of this solution?
There is a continual raid on GERS funding. Thankfully, the government cannot take the funds already in. Sadly, the government has taken the funds that should have gone in already. I propose mandatory legislation that puts GERS funding ahead of payroll. No pay without feeding the GERS first. A healthy well funded GERS could have been used to invest in storage tank systems for gasoline on St. Thomas and on St. John. In addition to providing low cost fuel from St. Croix, a profit could be generated to continually provide future GERS funding. The members of the GERS must vote for candidates prepared with solutions. Your future is at stake. Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it.
10. What is the most viable solution to government spending exceeding revenues, and what will you do to advance the implementation of this solution?
Abolish the General Fund. This is the deep, dark hole where much of our tax dollars and federal funds disappear. Make each and every appropriation public, specific and accountable. Make each and every elected official, Commissioner and Department head publicly and specifically accountable for this money. Show me the money! I want to know where every nickle, dime and dollar goes. As your Senator, I promise to provide a
detailed accounting of all funds given to me. I will post this information on the internet and make it available by mail. What other candidates will agree to this public disclosure?
11. How do alignments between majority and minority blocs in the Legislature and adversarial relationships between the legislative and executive branches of government serve the best interests of the people of the Virgin Islands.
They do not serve the people of the Virgin Islands, but do seem to serve self-interest groups. The voters of the Virgin Islands do not elect Senators that are put at an immediate disadvantage by blocs. Its one thing for the majority to control office assignments, committee assignments and parking spaces, but each Senator must have an equal budget to run his or her office. The legislative and executive branch must have common goals and iron out individual preferences for a united stand against the economic and social problems that plague our Islands. As voters, we must prove our ability to change the current status of "business as usual" by electing new candidates with practical solutions to the issues.