Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Answers to Sierra Club Questionnaire

Here are my answers to the Sierra Club Questionnaire

1) Air quality: I have proposed on my website purchasing future City of Boston vehicles as much as viable to be hybrid or alternative fuel vehicles. The City of Las Vegas has instituted such a program and 90 percent of their vehicles fall into these categories now.
2) I have called for a City Planning Agency which does not currently exist in Boston. This agency would address isssues such as these. Currently city government is very reactive and not proactive to try and foresee and plan for these problems. In addition, I have proposed using police recruits at intersections such as these as initial training and to alleviate traffic problems. 3) As a builder and a property owner I can appreciate the short term cost savings and the long term environmental savings of programs like this. I have installed high efficiency hot water heaters in properties and I often advocate them to clients. The city should require or at least give heavy weighting to proposals for city projects that incorporate these items in their proposals.
4) I am unfamiliar with this issue. However, please refer to my answer to question 1. I believe that we should institute high efficiency vehicles whereever possible.
5) We should absolutely purchase vehicles that at least meet the CAFE standards. Again, I would like us to use alternative vehicles whenever posssible.
6) The city of Boston owns almost 400 acres of excess property currently. I have called for a City Planning Agency to map out the future of the city. This includes parks and open space, dog parks, housing, future transportation hubs, etc. Before we need to go looking to buy additional space we need to categorize what we have, and identify where we would like to go. Funds can come from the general budget, by selling excess other excess property and by making the tax code more equitable by not having corporate city tax giveaways, for example the 121A's.
7) One of the minor ways that we can do this is by enforcing the current laws and the building code. For example, I know as builder that often downspouts and other groundwater are put into sewer lines which is illegal. This causes many more gallons of water to be processed at Deer Island and in heavy periods this water is overflowed into the harbor. If we enforced the building code, the storm drains would be used properly and we could reduce contamination in the harbor.
8) I like the idea of requiring LEED compliance with exemptions to the Zoning Board. There should probably be exemptions for example if an elderly handicapped person needed to build a ramp for access to their home, they whole home should not need to be brought up to LEED standards. But, if a developer needs exemptions for height, or Floor Area Ratio, then requiring them to build a higher quality building is not unreasonable. As I stated earlier, I believe projects that propose environmentally superior buildings should be given heavier weight by the City of Boston.
9) We should take the pilot program of Jamaica Plain and see how we can apply it to the rest of the city. Boston should be a leader in this, as many residents live very close to the parks and areas where these chemicals are used.
10) I have proposed to the Boston Redevelopment Authority a couple of "green" projects, most recently the Area D-4 police station in Boston. My recent developments have all used energystar rated appliances and have been environmentally friendly in returning groundwater into the surrounding areas, and proper plumbing installations. I helped work on Ralph Nader's Green Party campaign in year 2000, and have advocated in my south end neighborhood for keeping areas as open as possible, in particular in not paving over alleyways but leaving them open so that water can return to the ground and replenish our groundwater supplies.
11) I am a first time politician. One of the main reasons I'm running is that I am concerned about where we are going as a species and a society. As the saying goes, Think Globally, Act Locally. When I read authors such as Jared Diamond, I am concerned about the future of the human race and I am not impressed that our political leaders are addressing the big issues that face us on this planet. I have proposed having a visiting scholar chair in Boston, with Mr. Diamond being an example of the type of person who would be an excellent beacon in our community to speak in public and at our schools about the problems facing America and the world today.
I ask for your support because I will not forget the causal nature of human on this planet, and I understand the decisions we make and the examples we set for our children have a huge impact on all of our futures. Thank you very much, and if you have any questions please feel free to contact me at 617-504-0339. In addition, please check out my website where I go into more detail about the issues.

Kevin McCrea

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