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Peoria City Council Candidate Forums 2017

March 28, 2017

To help educate voters on the environmental issues that matter to them, the Global Warming Solutions Group hosted 2 candidate forums.

Mayor Ardis was invited to both forums but was unable to attend either. Instead he sent his written responses. View the PDF with Mayor Jim Ardis’ responses >>.  Couri Thomas had submitted written responses per our request for the first forum. View the PDF with Couri Thomas’ responses >>.

The first Forum invited all 6 At-Large and 3 Mayoral candidates running in the primary (that was held on Feb 27, 2017). The second forum invited all 6 District and 2 Mayoral candidates that will be on the consolidated general election to be held on Tuesday, 4/4/17. Early voting is underway. In these low turnout elections, one of the primary races was decided by a single vote.

Here is the list of questions from the second forum, many of which were similar to the first one. Due to time constraints not all were asked and some were combined.

GLOBAL WARMING

Do you believe in human-caused climate change?

RENEWABLES

In the past, Peoria has saved residents money and supported 100% green energy through its municipal electrical aggregation program. How should the city build on this success?

State Senator Dave Koehler was a lead sponsor of legislation to reform Illinois energy policy. The final legislation passed in December in the General Assembly includes a funding stream for community solar development. How should Peoria position itself to seize its rightful share of funding and the associated green jobs?

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Should the city have policies for measuring the energy efficiency of municipal buildings and working to lower its utility bills?

Other cities use revolving loan funds and similar financial tools to incentivize energy efficiency improvements in older building stock. Should the city have a similar program? Should it be used as a tool to revitalize struggling neighborhoods?

CLEAN AIR

Burning coal for electricity generates climate-warming greenhouse gases and respiratory irritants like sulfur dioxide. The air quality in Peoria is among the worst in the state, per the Illinois and U.S. Environmental Protection Agencies due to high sulfur dioxide levels. A major source of emissions is the aging Edwards coal-fired power plant five miles south of Peoria. Edwards has no scrubbers to capture the pollution which disproportionately impacts Peoria’s poorest zip codes. What action should the city take?

TRASH AND RECYCLING

Do you personally recycle at your home?

Do we need improvements in residential and/or commercial recycling in Peoria?

The city currently has its most expensive contract with Peoria Disposal Company for hauling trash and recycling. Recycling can be a good source of entry-level green jobs. Yet the contract does not have a provision for minority hiring. Should there be one?

COMBINED SEWER OVERFLOW

The city is obligated to reduce its combined sanitary and storm sewer system’s harmful discharges into the Illinois River. The current proposal uses water-absorbing landscaping such as bioswales, native plantings, innovative paving and other green solutions rather than constructing larger sewers and adding storage tanks.

Do you support continuing to pursue a green solution to address combined sewage overflow?

How can we ensure these green jobs go to city residents most in need of employment?

RIVER TRAIL APARTMENTS

In December 2016, council extended for the fourth time the contract deadline for the River Trails apartment complex in Constitution Park. After many months, a complicated land swap proposed by the city still has not been approved by the National Park Service. Council chambers were filled many times by people opposed to the project, and over 1000 petition signatures in opposition were presented. To date no ground has been broken.

Would you support council action, such as denying future contract extensions, to stop the building of apartments in Riverfront Park?

A major objection was the taking of public park land with no accounting for its natural and recreational value. How should loss of green space and other negative sustainability impacts be avoided in economic development?

LEAD

One study a few years back showed lead levels in Peoria’s children to be the highest in the nation. Peoria has been partnering with the county to address this. The recent Trump budget proposes eliminating Community Block Grants which Peoria uses to fund its lead remediation work. What should be done if CBG funding falls through?

Missed the Forums?

Both were broadcast live on Facebook and are available there to watch.

March 27 Forum with District and Mayoral Candidates

  • 1st District Candidates Attending:
    • Helen King read Denise Moore’s answers because she couldn’t attend due to laryngitis
    • Dave Berry
  • 4th District Candidates Attending:
    • Jim Montelongo
    • (did not attend) Mike Eddelmon was expected but sent last minute regrets
  • 5th District Candidates Attending:
    • Denis Cyr
    • Rita Ali
  • Mayoral Candidates Attending:

February 27 Forum with At-Large and Mayoral Primary Candidates

At-Large City Council Candidates Attending:

  • Robert Hanauer
  • Sid Ruckriegel
  • Scott Kelsey (eliminated in the primary)
  • (did not attend) Amr Elsamny (eliminated in the primary)
  • (did not attend) Zach Oyler
  • (did not attend) John Kelly

Mayoral Candidates Attending:

  • Couri Thomas
  • G. Marie Kennel (eliminated in the primary)
  • (did not attend) Jim Ardis

 

Feb turnout

Attendees at the Feb 27 Primary Forum

City of Peoria Curbside Recycling Meeting tonight, no GWSG meeting

February 27, 2017

A public meeting will be hosted on Monday, February 27, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. at Valeska Hinton Early Childhood Education Center at 800 W Romeo B. Garrett Ave., Peoria, IL 61605 to allow for public comment and suggestions about the City of Peoria’s curbside recycling program.

We are encouraging all GWSG members and Peoria citizens to attend this meeting and therefore, canceling our regular monthly meeting tonight.

If you cannot attend the recycling meeting tonight, there is an on-line survey you can complete instead.  Please go to:  http://www.peoriagov.org/city-gathering-public-input-to-inform-waste-collection/

Thanks!

No Dakota Access Pipeline – No Keystone XL Pipeline RALLY

February 4, 2017

February 7, 2017, 6:30 pm to 8 pm

AT Universalist Unitarian Church of Peoria, Illinois, 3000 W Richwoods Blvd, Peoria, Illinois 61604

Global Warming Solutions Group of Central Illinois, Heart of Illinois Sierra Club and some of the local Native American Groups are sponsoring a vigil of solidarity with peoples opposing the Dakota Access and Keystone pipelines. These pipelines were put on hold during the Obama administration but the new administration has issued an executive order re-opening them.

Our event will provide a way for the community to demonstrate its solidarity with the Native American water protectors at the Standing Rock reservation and others fighting the Dakota Access pipeline as well as the many groups and communities fighting the Keystone XL pipeline.

We will host a contemplative walk through a luminaria-lit labyrinth and, indoors, a conversation to allow community members to share their concern about recent events and support for those working to safeguard the environment. Beyond the circle will be tables allowing groups working on various facets of the progressive agenda to share their missions.

We will also be accepting donations to assist in opposing the pipelines.  There will be pre-prepared post cards available to sign and send to our Federal legislators.

We will serve hot coffee, tea and cocoa. The indoor and outdoor areas will be open from roughly 630-800PM. The Eagle Ridge drumming group and a few speakers will lead a short program outdoors at 715PM.

labyrinth

August Meeting: Cowspiracy

August 22, 2016

cowspiracy

Join us tonight for a controversial movie, Cowspiracy, which examines the climate impact of agriculture and speculates about why many environmental groups are reluctant to take the industry on.

Nerma Frieden, local vegan and animal rights activist, will introduce the film and lead a short discussion afterward.

Monday August 22, 2016, 6PM
Lakeview Public Library
1137 W. Lake in Peoria

Citizens Climate Lobby: Carbon Fee and Dividend

June 27, 2016

CCL

Tonight, Global Warming Solutions Group will be hosting a speaker from Citizens Climate Lobby at Lakeview Library in Peoria at 6:00 p.m.  Please join us if you can!  This meeting is open to the public!

Our speaker is Mr. Rick Knight.  Mr.  Knight is an engineering chemist just finishing a 40-year career in energy research. His interest in climate change was heightened by reading Dr. Jim Hansen’s book Storms of My Grandchildren, leading him to join Citizens’ Climate Lobby in 2011. In his volunteer work for CCL, Rick currently leads a chapter in southwest Chicagoland and also serves as a state coordinator for Illinois. Rick is passionate about getting the message about climate change and CCL’s legislative solution out to the public and community leaders.

In this talk, Rick will explain who and what Citizens’ Climate Lobby is and how their unique strategy of citizen engagement works. He will also explain the Carbon Fee and Dividend proposal that is central to CCL’s efforts to build political will in the U.S. Congress for effective national climate policy. Finally, Rick will talk about CCL’s drive to establish chapters in every U.S. Congressional District. 

He will also have Mr. David Holmquist with him.

You can learn more about Citizens Climate Lobby on Facebook at facebook OR at Citizens’ Climate Lobby – Political Will for a Livable World

April Meeting: Dr. Tim Kasser on Communicating About Climate Change

April 22, 2016

Communicating about Climate Change: Why Values Matter
Monday, April 25, 6PM
Lakeview Branch Library, 1137 W. Lake in Peoria
co-sponsored by Global Village, our local 360 degree fair trade store in Peoria Heights

Communicators often appeal to values when trying to motivate people to care aboKasserut the environment. Professor Tim Kasser from Knox College will share psychological theory and research to show how contemporary culture’s focus on materialistic values and consumerism must be confronted in order to create a sustainable future. He will present lifestyle and policy alternatives that are positive for the planet, and also promote people’s wellbeing and a more civil society.

Tim Kasser, Ph.D., is Professor and Chair of Psychology at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. He has written extensively on materialism, values, ecological sustainability, and quality of life, among other topics. He is the author of The High Price of Materialism (MIT Press, 2002) and co-author of Meeting Environmental Challenges: The Role of Human Identity (WWF-UK, 2009). Tim works extensively with activist and civil society organizations that protect children from commercialization, promote ecological sustainability, and that encourage alternatives to consumerism. He appeared in The True Cost, a documentary about the high cost of fast fashion, shown in Peoria last fall.

2016-New Meeting Location and Dates

February 17, 2016

New location:  Lakeview Library1137 W Lake Ave, Peoria, IL 61614

New Time:  6 to 8 p.m. (Sometimes shorter meetings, we simply have the meeting room for this long)

New Date:  The 4th Monday of every month-except December 2016.  No meeting that month.  (Feb. 22nd, March 28, April 25, May 23, June 27, July 25, August 22. September 26, October 24, November 28)

Feb. 22nd – Rick and Tracy Fox will present “Paris and the Climate Agreement”.  They were there!

 When we adjourn these meetings, we will likely reconvene at a local eatery and watering hole.

All are welcome, of course!  Please join us as we develop and re-kindle the fire in this organization!  Please come with your suggestions and ideas for community and issues engagement.

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