By Andrew Dobbs
On May 5, 2018 voters in Cedar Park will elect a new mayor and three new members of the City Council. These four new leaders will form a MAJORITY of the City Council: the right four could mean a greener, more responsible future for Cedar Park. To help voters know just where the candidates stand on the issues most important to Texas Campaign for the Environment and our supporters we asked the 8 candidates the following questions:
1. How important is it to you that Cedar Park divert discards away from landfills?
2. Would you support a formal policy committing the City of Cedar Park to specific waste diversion goals?
3. What policies or programs do you support to increase waste diversion? Specifically to you support…
a. Diverting yard waste and bulk waste away from landfilling and into mulching, composting, and recycling?
b. A pilot program for curbside compost collection?
c. Investing in a year-round household hazardous waste collection center, perhaps through a public-private partnership?
d. Any other initiatives?
4. Would you support ordinances guaranteeing recycling services at apartment/condo complexes? Would you support such an ordinance for commercial businesses?
Look below for how the candidates answered, and vote early between April 23 and May 1 or on Election Day May 5.
Check here for more voting info.
Jump to race:
Mayor Place 2 Place 4 Place 6
Corbin Van Arsdale
1. Very important. Being better stewards of our land, water, and air is one of the ten issues I’m running on. It’s in all my mail, social media, door hangers, and website.
2. Yes, as long as the goals were deliberated, collaboratively-reached with the community, and attainable—not merely political statements or for PR. In other words, the community has bought into them.
3. a. Of course.
b. Don’t know enough about such a pilot, but don’t see why we couldn’t come up with one that works.
c. Would LOVE a year-round hazardous waste collection center. The one we have now has lines that are too long.
d. See #4 below. Engage the creative class/artists for clever ideas that change hearts/minds. Also, we can engage an environment consultant with demonstrated successes to look at what we’re doing and advise how we can improve.
4. I would support ordinances encouraging, incentivizing, supporting, and enabling recycling—that applies for anywhere (apartments, condos, commercial businesses, etc). Again, the costs/methods must be collaboratively reached, so there’s buy-in. My cousins, Jimmie and Stevie Vaughan, cut two of the first ads ever made for “Don’t Mess with Texas,” a waste (more specifically, highway litter) diversion program that was among the most successful in history. It targeted the demographic that was littering, and did it in a way than changed hearts and minds—not merely trying to regulate behavior. Marketing firm GSD&M was the source of the idea.
1. It’s very important, because landfills aren’t sustainable in the long-term, and in many cases, not even in the short-term. It’s also bad policy to place recyclable and/or reusable material into large piles that will last for centuries.
2. As mayor, I’d listen to experts with knowledge about what reasonable and achievable waste diversion goals really are, before committing to specific ones. As only one member of the council, I’d of course also have to work to build a consensus on what those goals should be.
3. Again, I’d be open to listening to various programs and options that best fit Cedar Park’s specific needs and what the voters and councilors feel are appropriate and affordable at this time.
a. But generally, it’s common sense to divert yard waste away from landfills, since they are biodegradable far more than other materials.
b. I’d favor a pilot program for curbside compost collection, so long as costs are balanced with the number of our citizens who say they’d be willing to participate in such a program.
c. I’d support a central location year-round for citizens to drop off hazardous waste.
4. I would support ordinances offering recycling services at apartments and condos, as well as businesses. Most already do this voluntarily, and I would not seek to impose this as a mandatory program.
Michael C. Thompson
1. Extremely important. I am really glad so many residents of Cedar Park consider zero waste a key issue. No one wants to create a new landfill, least of all in Cedar Park! The one we’re using right now is starting to run out of space. Policies which promote and move us closer to zero waste is good for the city, the county and the environment at large. We’re finally at the point where the environment and the economy are no longer at odds. We can grow the city and protect the environment at the same time. Its the right economic choice to do so.
2. Yes, absolutely. The challenge is to craft a program that reduces waste and which does not increased taxes or fees on residents. I will absolutely be a vocal supporter of zero waste, and I spoke in favor of zero waste when Heather Jefts introduced the topic last year on council. I am an unabashed champion for environmental policies and climate change actions. I explicitly call out my support for zero waste in my recent blog post as to why I am running. Its also mentioned in the Statesman article about the upcoming May 5th election.
3. a. Yes. Cedar Park already does this to some degree, but the program should be expanded. In particular I would like to see curbside compost be an option, particularly for kitchen waste and yard waste (such as leaves and grass clippings).
b. Yes. I think running a pilot program would help the city evaluate the fiscal impact and citizen interest in such a program. I would be one of the first people to sign up for it.
c. I value the household hazardous waste collection program Cedar Park provides, but I wish it was more frequent. I have a dedicated bag for old batteries which I bring on collection day so that they can be properly disposed of. I would like to increase the frequency of this program with a goal of making it year-round. Funding avenues such as a public-private partnership is definitely worth exploring.
d. I support increasing the frequency of our recycling collection. I support the city taking action to reduce our carbon footprint. I support the city purchasing vehicles which are electrified or use natural gas. I support the city using electricity from only renewable energy sources. I support incentives to make businesses and homes greener by being more energy efficient or installing solar panels. I support actions which will improve and protect the quality of our air, water and other natural resources. I support all of this within the framework of being fiscally responsible so that we take action without raising taxes or fees on residents.
4. I support policies which ensure citizens have access to recycling. I respect the burden that mandatory ordinances have for businesses, so I am in favor of exploring ways in which we can incentivize the right behavior, rather than forcing it. I expect recycling to be available for me where ever I go. I get frustrated when it is not. If it isn’t I take items which can be recycled home with me so that they can be properly disposed of. That is a burden on me, but it is also my choice. I would like to see recycling everywhere and I believe we can find ways to do that which are business and environmentally friendly
Mr. Kirkland did not respond.
1. This is an important issue. Policies which promote and move us closer to zero waste is good for the city, the county and the environment at large. I support efforts to improve recycling, composting, and other diversion issues. We need to evaluate our waste/refuse providers and consider their ability to divert waste within their operations.
2. Yes, though we need to be cognizant of our many budgetary choices to avoid increases on taxes or fees on residents. I would prefer a multi-year plan implemented in stages, with evaluation of results before proceeding to more aggressive targets
3. a. Yes I would like to see curbside compost be an option, particularly for yard waste (such as leaves and grass clippings).
b. I cautiously support this. I think running a pilot program could help the city evaluate the fiscal impact and citizen interest, and the extent to which the waste disposed as compost is truly compostable. I am concerned that the costs of dealing with improperly-characterized wastes could be high.
c. Absolutely. I would like to increase the frequency of this program with a goal of making it year-round. With only one annual disposal date, I suspect a lot of hazardous waste may be improperly disposed of Funding avenues such as a public-private partnership is definitely worth exploring.
d. I support increasing the frequency of our recycling collection to weekly, as quickly as possible. I support land use policies, such as favoring planned development near transit and major roads. Finally, I support a limited partnership with Cap Metro with the goal of bringing a Metro Rail station to Cedar Park, anchoring a transit village.
4. I support policies which ensure citizens have access to recycling. I respect the burden that mandatory ordinances have for businesses, so I am in favor of exploring ways in which we can accomplish this without onerous fees or requirements. I also support expanding City recycling efforts in our public spaces.
Of course, the reduction of solid waste is important to our future as is the conservation of water, the proper treatment of wastewater and air quality. I have worked on the cleanup of a federal superfund site, worked on permitting and installing air scrubbers at manufacturing facilities, worked with Texas municipalities to evaluate viable solid waste solutions and worked with both the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency to both remove contamination from groundwater and bring drinking water into compliance with drinking water standards. I would certainly support a viable recycling program that would divert waste from landfills; however, without the opportunity to review the benefits and costs of a specific program, I am not able to state an opinion to the questions as presented.
1. Extremely important! I was very surprised that recycling wasn’t the norm when we moved here. I’m not sure citizens realize the jobs that are created by increased diversion as well as the environmental benefits and the opportunity to educate the public and possibly re-distribute usable goods.
2. Yes! A goal with a plan is just a wish. If we don’t take steps to define what we want our end goal to be, why talk about it? Why suggest it? I would like to see a well-thought out plan for moving Cedar Park towards zero waste, including a cost break down as well as a benefit breakdown.
3. a. Yes, as this is great for the city and could potentially become another source of income for the City.
b. Yes, I would support a pilot program for curbside compost. Pickup schedules, bins and a plan for the compost (donation or sales) would need to be part of the proposal.
c. Yes I support this, and want to explore the possibility of public-private partnerships or collaborations with area non-profits to defray costs.
d. I partnered with Break It Down Austin while I was a grocery store manager to come in and streamline our recycling needs (packing materials, shrink wrap, compost, paper, cardboard).
4. Yes, I would be in favor of mandatory recycling ordinances for apartments (which many communities around Texas—including San Marcos, San Antonio, Fort Worth, Allen, Euless and several others—already have) and commercial businesses. This would need to be a coordinated effort with complexes and business with perhaps an incentive program attached. Perhaps discounts on rain barrels or systems for recyling water used on the grounds of their properties.
Mr. Chavez did not respond.
central Texas, recycling and zero waste, TCE blog
See All Posts >