A Note on Important Issues:

"I will be addressing a variety of issues we need to tackle in our community. But it’s important to point out that these issues are intertwined and will therefore need an integrated approach for solving these challenges. This approach MUST include the voices and perspectives of the people who are most directly affected by the issues and be rooted in a commitment to social justice and equity!"
ISSUES & PRIORITIES
Integrated Approaches to Complex Issues:
  • Establish a task force to address the complex and intertwined issues of homelessness, substance use disorders, untreated mental illness, incarceration, and domestic violence. This task force should be comprised of city AND county officials to include representatives from the mayor’s office, county commissioners, city and county council as well as social service agencies and, most importantly, citizens with lived experience. A key component to this discussion must include recognition of brain injury as a complicating and contributing factor.
     

  • Implement a Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program. This approach to treatment and supports rather than arrest and incarceration will divert people out of our already overburdened criminal justice system and into services that will address the issues leading to the initial interaction with police. Effective implementation will require good preparation for and buy-in by all parties involved, continual training of police and service providers, and city investment in the program.
     

  • Install public restrooms downtown and in any public parks that do not currently have them. This would benefit all of us who might need a restroom while out and not specifically patronizing a business with a restroom.

Transportation
  • Explore funding options for improving public transit. The city of Bloomington has a stake in developing accessible and usable public transit and should commit to helping to fund it. Proposed improvements include expanding routes and increasing frequency of pick-ups with a goal of pick-ups every 15 minutes. Offer bus service on Sundays. Establishing the long-discussed downtown shuttle as a park & ride option using either the soon-to-be-vacated Thompson site parking lot or the hospital parking garage as a pick-up point.
     

  • Support a multimodal transportation plan by publicly funding sidewalk construction and repair rather than requiring homeowners to bear the expense. If we can publicly fund surfaces for auto tires to use, we should commit to public funding of surfaces for feet to walk on.
     

  • Install infrastructure to support alternative forms of transportation such as benches for pedestrians and parking corrals for scooters.

Affordable Housing
  • Ensure that the current hospital site is developed to provide truly affordable housing for a range of income levels and specifically should include housing for older adults to provide an option closer to downtown. Explore ways to responsibly increase density in existing neighborhoods such as expanding the approval of accessory dwelling units on owner-occupied properties or allowing for some building of duplexes/triplexes in neighborhoods. 
     

  • Explore expansion of the City’s Affordable Housing Fund. Currently, property developers contribute to this fund. We need to be creative in finding new sources of support for this fund (Local Option Income Tax, contributions by businesses, a fund drive, etc.)
     

  • Ensure a responsible expansion of accessory Dwelling Units for own-occupied properties to increase density in neighborhoods without destroying the character of the neighborhood. Also, explore revisions in zoning to allow for limited development of duplexes and triplexes in some neighborhoods.

Substance Use Disorders—Treatment and Harm Reduction:

  • Dedicate a portion of the city budget to a “Healthy Recovery” fund to support people in recovery. This could include investing in the expansion of sober living programs, dedicating city staff time to providing liaison services to neighborhoods where sober living programs operate, and contributing to existing treatment programs to provide scholarships to people without insurance.
     

  • Decriminalize syringe possession. Until the state takes this step, it should be the policy of our local police to not routinely charge individuals who are in possession of a syringe.
     

  • Install sharps containers downtown and in the restrooms of our public parks. This will reduce the number of discarded needles on our streets while benefitting everyone including people with diabetes.