More details at www.fergusonward1.com.
A pivotal moment…
This is a pivotal time for Ferguson. Our town has wrongly become a national symbol of injustice and intolerance. Outside groups are actively trying to reshape our community to deal with problems they have mischaracterized. If they succeed, we will waste this prime opportunity for adjustment along with a lot of good will and scarce money. It will likely damage our town along the way.
Will we ever again have a moment when people are openly discussing and recognizing our differences at the same time as we have been unified by the mischaracterizations in the media?
We can’t squander this.
Who I am and why I'm running for Ferguson City Council...
I am Doyle McClellan, a proud Ferguson resident with a deep interest in helping us get through this crisis. My wife and I moved here to raise our son, and we are happy here. I don’t have high political aspirations. Instead, I am running because I believe I must. The road ahead requires vision, problem solving, and levelheadedness. Those are characteristic that define me.
If we try to find solutions based on the August shooting alone, we will blow it.
The shooting and disturbances that followed have given us reason to reflect on the state of Ferguson immediately before. But, when we think of last August and November, we must also pause to think of last July. That was when the town turned out for our Independence Day celebration. On that day, we smiled, laughed, and ate together. Black and white families crowded together to see the shows. It was a good day – and Ferguson has had many more good than bad.
This is not a time for us to compromise with outside groups. It is a time for residents of Ferguson to come together and decide what our future will be.
Ferguson’s Most Important Issues
City Government Can’t Fix This Alone…
The city of Ferguson doesn’t have enough money for big new projects. Our budget was already tight before the unrest. We have hit the statutory limit on property taxes, a number of sales tax generating businesses are gone or going, and we have become reliant on ticket and court revenue in place of taxes. Keeping services at existing levels will be a challenge in itself.
There are three ways we can help individuals and groups take a bigger role in maintaining and improving the community:
1.) Create an independent Cultural Development Foundation to solicit donations and help the city support cultural events and institutions.
2.) Designate a point of contact for all nonprofits that want to provide services in Ferguson. Have that person facilitate meetings with city employees, share plans, and assist organizations to provide services that align with city goals and minimize overlap.
3.) Allow and encourage participation of local groups on projects such as building trails that have been in the city’s plans for years.
An Isolated Corner of Ferguson…
The area of greatest unrest from August to November is a corner of town very different from the rest. Thousands live in low-income apartments and attend a different school district. Residents there experience high crime and concentrated poverty. Additionally, public transit makes it difficult to get to the cultural center of town. By and large, our community does not extend to them.
For long-term meaningful change, we must build personal, economic, and cultural ties with this corning of town.
We should also work to heal the relationship between that community and law enforcement. Studies show the best way to do that is with park-and-walk or foot patrols.
Law Enforcement’s Evolving Role…
Ferguson has increased the use of fines, tickets, and forfeitures as a source of revenue. This is up to about a million extra dollars per year over a few years ago. This worries me for various reasons:
1.) It exceeds the maximum allowed in Missouri Senate Bill 5, proposed for 2015 legislation.
2.) It threatens to alter the role and flexibility of law enforcement officers.
3.) It undermines trust between city government and residents.
4.) The longer it continues, the more dependent we will become on penalties for revenue.
Falling Property Values…
Ferguson has less than a 60% home ownership rate. As more homes switch to rental properties with out-of-town owners, their appearances decline. Owners focus on meeting code – but not on making improvements and embellishments. Those improvements are what give neighborhoods their charm. This is one factor in declining values.
We need to support civic groups on beautification efforts that go beyond the main streets and get into the neighborhoods.
Poorly Performing School Districts…
Another factor in declining property values is our poorly performing school districts. They drive away young families and lower competition for housing. This is not easily changed. In part, the low test results are because many of the best students have been taken out and placed in private schools and homeschools. Their families won’t return their children until the public schools show they are better.
There are some things we can do though:
1.) Help a nonprofit set up a learning-centered after-school program in the most disadvantaged part of town. Christian Activity Center, in East St. Louis, is an example of one such program.
2.) Help a homeschooling group to become a center for families to more easily pool resources and teach more difficult topics.
3.) Migrate the library’s role to become K-12 learning centric and to work in tight coordination with public schools, private schools, and homeschools.
Why am I asking for $4,000?
First, I intentionally held back on starting the GoFundMe campaign until I was a "real" candidate. Now, my signatures are gathered, bank account set up, Web site created, campaign paperwork submitted, and first advertisment preparing to run.
I am a real candidate.
I am budgeting enough money to mount a vigorous campaign of ideas. A typical campaign costs $1 or $2 per household. I expect my per-house budget to be about $2. I believe the stakes merit that. $4,000 represents much of the budget. The remainder will come from personal contributions and others outside of the gofundme.com system.
This money will go toward routine costs such as advertising, hosting, and research.
What if this exceeds $4,000?
Then, I will be very happy.
My first goal will be to win the election. If it appears more funds are needed for that, then I will spend the excess on additional campaigning.
If funds so far exceed campaign needs that money is still left in the bank, then all of the remainder will be donated to charity. Preference would be for a small organization that directly supports Ferguson residents in an effective way.
Thanks, and best wishes!
Candidate for Ward 1 City Council of Ferguson MO
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