Simply put, I’m tired of our City encouraging wasteful behavior, and the biggest problem starts with the residential trash service. In order to improve our quality of life and promote a more sustainable future (focused on zero waste), I would implement several changes.
1) Tiered pricing for garbage collection. The City already offers 3 different size containers for residents, but the price for each is the same. Start everyone with the smallest size, and if they need a larger size container, then charge more. [Speaking of charging more, our trash fees are ridiculously low so I would increase them across the board to start.]
2) Switch the garbage collection and recycling collection schedules. Garbage should be picked up every other week and recycling should be a weekly thing.
3) Implement residential compost pick-up. The Charleston Green Plan notes that up to 40% of waste going to landfills is organic matter than can be composted. By implementing a compost pickup program, people will have less garbage, which will be more appropriate for a biweekly schedule as noted above.
4) Stop the weekly trash pickup of large items. The fact that one could throw out a mattress or couch each week and the City picks it up without any problems is absolutely ridiculous. I would designate 2 days a year (one in Spring, one in Fall) when people can put out large items for pickup at no cost. If you need something large hauled off outside of these days, take it to the dump or call it in to the City for a special pickup for a fee.
By offering unlimited weekly pickup of trash and garbage (with limited to no service for recycling and compost), the City is completely encouraging people to waste more and conserve less – even though everyone knows we need to do better.
I would like to see the City create a portal for people to crowd-fund community projects/needs. Ideally the City will “pre-approve” these ideas and that once funding goals are achieved, there is a process in place to quickly implement the idea. This has great potential for success on small scale projects (like bike racks and air pumps, covered bus stops, drinking fountains, etc), but it could also be utilized for more public art, improvements to area parks, better crosswalks, more public bathrooms, etc.
Certainly many of these things should be provided via existing tax revenues; however, the City is often quick to say that funds are not available (and I’m tired of that excuse). While we won’t be able to stop the general taxation of citizens, it would be nice to see a more direct avenue for people to decide where they want their money to go. Crowd-funding has been used with great success in the private sector, so there is no reason why the City should not utilize this to also fund things with public benefit.
If I were Mayor, I would work with the City Council and Charleston’s Planning Commission to create Charleston’s own Fashion Incubator. The Charleston Fashion Incubator will provide a creative professional environment to nurture promising fashion talent in the Southeast. The goal is to help selected designers grow and sustain their businesses. By offering low-cost design studio space, business mentoring, educational seminars, and networking opportunities the incubator provides a way for participants to reach their full potential and become an integral part of the larger fashion community. The frustration for many independent designers in the apparel industry is how to navigate the complex global supply chain. Let us bring a portion of that supply chain to Charleston. The apparel industry is a multi-billion industry. Charleston has the potential to create its own mini garment district. Let us take a fresh look at the apparel supply chain and generate money that can be funneled into middle class jobs. There is the potential to integrate traditional, artisanal fabrication techniques with technology and possibly incorporate sustainability techniques. The center of operations would consist of work space rentals, product exhibits, contract sewn products manufacturing, equipment demonstrations, meeting space + communication center, and center administration services. Fee based revenue streams might come from product development, small run manufacturing, education + training, contract referral services and supply chain sourcing. Funding for the Charleston Fashion Incubator will be a public-private partnership with assistance of grants. The Charleston Fashion Incubator will develop long lasting relationships with existing suppliers and manufacturers as it is a commodity to maintain positive relationships with the heads of the industry. The Incubator will impact the larger community, not just those directly working in the apparel industry. The incubator will reach out to small machine repair men/women, technologists, lawyers, web designers, accountants, marketing agents and more. We have potential to create a program that strengthens the City of Charleston. Charleston is the perfect location for such a program because this city has a robust art scene, cherishes history and artisanal craftsmanship is a way of life. Fashion tells a story. What will Charleston’s story be?
If I were mayor I would encourage partnerships between local restaurants and individuals or small businesses that are raising chickens for eggs. Each restaurant would save the produce they currently have to throw away (waste of a good resource) and the individuals would agree to a pickup schedule. Free disposal, free chicken food, less waste. Win, win, win!
Lots of college students have said they would love to have an affordable specialty sandwich shop (such as Panera Bread) downtown for breakfast, lunch, and coffee purposes!
Just read about this idea: http://www.lucidenergy.com/lucid-pipe/
Can you even imagine how much energy could be produced if put into the massive pipe to be installed at the crosstown?
I believe a successful community/city must have a strong backbone. Let’s take a hard look at the wages/salaries of our teachers, firefighters, police, etc. They may be paid ‘competitive’ wages for the region, but the region as a whole is far below the national average (even when the lower cost of living is taken into consideration). In addition, the amount of money we lose due to turnover is astronomical. We make efforts to attract the best and brightest in tech/business; why not the same treatment? Don’t we want the best teachers for our kids, and the best first responders protecting us as we sleep. Let’s be a model for the region. I think this is a reasonable goal.
The city, its citizens and the developers must come up with an understanding of what ‘affordable’ means.
Laws are enacted to protect the integration and survival of existing tiny and small businesses, and represent inhabitants, including minorities and the poor.
So,,, not the most exciting idea out there, but I am hopeful the next Mayor undertakes an extensive Process Audit. The incredible longevity of the current administration has certainly provided stability for the City, but City processes have grown and become more complex overtime. My company does business with the City everyday and I would like to think that a third party review would increase efficiencies and likely result in monetary savings for the City and the private sector.
Historic Charleston Foundation has been working with the city of Charleston and other community partners on several key plans that should shape the priorities for a new mayoral administration. These plans include the Peninsula Mobility Report prepared in November of 2014 by transportation expert Gabe Klein, the proposed updates to the Tourism Management Plan that resulted from a large community effort, and the upcoming report concerning the design review process and the Board of Architectural Review that will be prepared by Andres Duany in the summer of 2015. Transportation, tourism management, and quality architectural design are keystones to the future livability and sustainability of this city. These three important projects will require the focus of the entire community in order to implement them properly. Gabe Klein’s report, for example, states simply: “Charleston must decrease driving and parking while increasing use of public transit, cycling and walking.” This will require a very significant outlay of public investment in transit infrastructure and the creation of complete streets for all modes of mobility. As is typical with any plan, these are only as valuable as our commitment to bringing them to fruition. Their implementation will require a combination of non-profit advocacy, private sector engagement, and the political will of our leaders. Ordinances must be adopted and realistic time frames must be established so that the appropriate level of funding can be raised and allocated for specific projects. Obviously, this will require consensus and hard work to lay the groundwork for success. Plans that merely sit on the shelf reflect a lack of ambition and vision in a community, and Charleston cannot afford that. We have a strong tradition of proactive engagement and community foresight, so we all need to step up to the plate to turn the progressive vision represented in these plans into a reality.
I would encourage the Marion Square Farmers Market to strengthen their bylaws so only local products can be sold there. As it is, a vendor can buy products from someone else, and sell them as their own, yet everyone assumes all of the product is actually “local.” This is a huge disservice to consumers who want to spend their money on homegrown products, and local producers who can’t compete or differentiate themselves from cheaper products from out of state. The City’s Office of Cultural Affairs runs the Market, so the Mayor should work with them to change the bylaws. Let’s give our local producers the leg up they deserve, and shoppers the high quality, local products they expect.
Chs continues with the Laundry List —
East Side: I would invest money in a community center on Columbus St, which focuses on job training and recreational activities. Keeping kids off the street and providing education.
In 2007, over 100 Charleston experts met dozens of time to create a roadmap to sustainability for Charleston called the CHARLESTON GREEN PLAN, presented to City Council in 2009. This 162 page plan clearly and deftly outlined how Charleston could move forward as leaders in environmental stewardship critical for our community to thrive.The response by City Council was that the guidelines crafted were accepted as recommendations but not passed into law.
If I were mayor, I’d vow to update and enact the Charleston Green Plan as the roadmap to sustainability for Charleston.
If you want a copy of the Green Plan, they are for sale at the Department of Planning and Sustainability for $35 (75 Calhoun) or it can be downloaded here. Prepare to be astounded by the hard work of the volunteer Green Committee, and heartbroken by the unfortunate curtailing of this community effort by a very small but very loud (and well-connected) opposition. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water.
Charleston needs a mandated green plan that creates more green space, improved public transit, bicycling opportunities, sidewalks and better walkability, solar and wind energy, stricter building standards and more responsibility to developers to substantially support community infrastructure.
Let’s make sure the new Mayor is pro-Green Plan and committed to leading our City Council (and community) forward to adopt an updated plan.
If I were mayor, I would enter into performance contracting with an energy services company (ESCO), to improve City-owned buildings’ energy efficiency. Performance contracts are paid with the cost savings realized by the client (the City), so it is a low-risk investment with great benefits.
Overlay districts in commercial areas that require special review before a chain store can open. This type of land use regulation is in place in San Francisco, Seattle and 15 other cities.