Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Response from Alexandra Johnson, Candidate for St. Louis Comptroller

1. What do you view as the key role, and/or attributes needed for this position? What experience/attributes do you have that qualify you for this position?

In the City of St. Louis, the Comptroller wears many hats but in particular, two: The fiscal and the visionary. On the one hand, our comptroller’s office is in the news too often with problems (e.g., city-owned vehicles). This needs to be rectified, making sure any known issues, such as those brought to light by the 2010 audit, are rectified with transparency, integrity and efficiency.

Secondly, the Comptroller must have an inclusionary vision of St. Louis, one that informs all votes made on the Estimate and Apportionment Board. What the Ferguson Commission told us, is what our leaders should already have been doing.

I am a life-long St. Louisan, dedicated to diversity and inclusion in my personal and professional life. I have my own practice now and have previously worked in public service as well, and have a master’s in business in addition to my law degree.

2. Why do you think you are the best person for this position? What differentiates you from your opponent(s)?

I will show up to work, every day, to fight for every St. Louisan, north and south, east and west. St. Louis has a great deal to offer but, in collaboration with a new mayor – if we pick a good one, who will truly share the vision of an inclusionary St. Louis – we can work together to effect real change for some of the real problems our community still confronts.

3. What do you feel are the most pressing issues currently facing this office and what plans do you have to address these issues? (please be specific)
  1. We’re highly leveraged 
  2. Our credit rating has been lowered 
  3. Our rainy day fund is at about 10 days, if we’re lucky 
    These phases may be pursued individually or simultaneously, as needed:

     Phase 1: Internal Audit, which includes a Sustainability Factor. Immediately implement savings where possible. Reward employee ideas/input re: efficiencies and savings.

     Phase 2: Determine how to increase revenue – residential and commercial development in the north will increase our tax base, stabilize the community, and benefit all of St. Louis.

    Phase 3: Make cuts, if needed. Evaluate office and its efforts using standards of success, to determine the best use of the money. Community input from leaders is vital to this process. 

    Phase 4: Increase our rainy day fund to a minimum of 60 days.

4. Describe how you work with, or will work with, others to address your priorities.

St. Louis has so much strength and is rich in untapped potential but our problems are too big for one person to solve alone – only by setting aside at least some of our differences will we be able to work together to develop the best solutions possible for our priorities. Extreme partisanship has hurt our country. I will listen to any viable idea that will benefit the community.

5. Who are your 3 largest campaign contributors? Are there donors from whom you will not accept campaign contributions?

My support is coming in relatively small amounts, from individual members of the community. Many people are offering to knock on doors and volunteer for the campaign, for example.

I will not accept campaign contributions from hate groups.

6. The Ferguson Commission Report asks government to look through a "racial equity lens" in developing policies. Specifically, what does that mean to you?

No public money – not a single public dollar – should be spent without looking at the project through the racial equity lens, the social justice lens, the sustainability lens… Literally, every lens we can think of. No public money should be spent, without it benefiting the public. This is no-brainer to me. It is our money to spend; it should help us overcome the issues we are facing, and all solutions should seek to meet the needs of all St. Louisans.

7. What are your criteria for approving tax abatements and TIFs?

  1. Is the project fiscally sound? 
  2. Does the project make fiscal sense for all of St. Louis, given our overall financial state of affairs? 
  3. How does it benefit the community? 
  4. Are there any negative effects in the community, and to what extent can they be mitigated? 
  5. Historically, how has this group of citizens or this area in the city been positively or negatively impacted before? 
  6. Does the project represent a coalition of citizen interests, or benefit only a few? 
  7. What urgency level of need does the project address? 

8. If you could ask each of your opponents one question, what would it be? (You may specify a different question for each opponent or the same question for all.)

An audit was done in 2010, mentioning the improper use of tax-paid vehicles. Why was this not addressed until the media reported it 6 years later in 2016?

1 comment:

lagibby said...

Thank you for this. I have seen very little about the comptroller's race.