Jeremiah Chamberlin Q&A

  1. What is your current employment?
    1. Do you own your residence or other property in the City? Yes; I have a small apartment building downtown near the Firehouse Restaurant
  2. Have you ever been delinquent in paying your real estate taxes at the City, school district, or county level?
    1. No
  3. Have you ever been charged with a crime, including summary offenses (other than a speeding ticket) and what was the disposition?
    1. No
  4. Do you have any outstanding warrants or liens against you?
    1. No
  5. What are your connections to the community?
    1. Beyond owning my own home I am the treasurer of CAN (the downtown neighborhood group)
    2. I participate in neighborhood cleanups.
  6. When did you decide to run for City Council and what inspired you?
    1. I contemplated it for many months. I was inspired by what I saw to be inadequate progress of the cities recovery
  7. Why are you running for two offices (the 2-year and the 4-year term) when you can serve in only one position? (if applicable)
    1. Well I am running to serve the city. As you know elections for city council are at large.  So I am running for both terms to allow voters the better choice of who should serve on council.
  8. What is your assessment of the current City Council?
    1. They try to do the right thing, but sometimes politicking gets in the way.
  9. What are the responsibilities of City Council?
    1. To administrate the actions of the city government in its goal to better the community for all residents.
  10. If elected, what Council committees would you be best suited to serve on or chair, and why?
  11. Do you know anything about other candidates other than their names?
    1. Some, all candidates have their strengths.  I believe it is the responsibility of city voters to chose what they think is the most important issues to tackle and who they thing will best solve them.
  12. What strengths will you bring to City Council?
    1. Problem solving, and managing large projects with a collaborative style.
  13. How would you improve the way City Council operates?
    1. I work in a collaborative style. I believe we can accomplish more things if we all work together.
  14. What is your assessment so far of the Papenfuse administration? Name one thing you think the Papenfuse administration has done right and wrong.
    1. He is getting the city services functioning again and beginning to tackle long festering problems in the city. If I was to name one thing that the Mayor has room for improvement it would to be put aside some of the petty arguments he occasionally engages in.
  15. What will you personally do to improve cooperation between City Council and the mayor’s office to benefit the City?
    1. I think you have to have an open honest conversation and be willing to compromise.
  16. How would you address the problem of trash and litter in the City?
    1. Be more diligent with picking up large items left on the curb. Pursuing bad actors that allow dump sites on their blighted properties; fight to get dumping to a manageable level so anything new can be addressed on a case by case basis.
    2. Work to foster neighborhood groups. Dumping rarely happens in areas with strong neighborhood engagement.
  17. What is your plan to clean up the multiple “mini-dumps” throughout the City and gain control?
    1. Mini dumps are cleaned up constantly. The only way to gain control is by addressing who is dumping there.
  18. Do you favor fining violators of City ordinances regarding trash and litter?
    1. absolutely
  19. Do you favor using work-release convict labor for litter cleanup in the City?
    1. If there is room in the budget; this is a good idea, It be a great first step in breaking recidivism
    2. But, as a community organization man; I believe cleanup of litter must first start with the community.
    3. When I have participated in the previous incarnation of 2MinTuesday the city was always very great about picking up the trash we collected. We just needed to contact them first.
  20. If elected, what will you do to provide more sidewalk trash receptacles so litter disposal becomes a user-friendly activity?
    1. Have them installed. I believe sidewalk liter directly stems from the lack of adequate places to place trash.
  21. Would you encourage trash cans along the lower sidewalk by the Susquehanna River?
    1. I like the idea of trash cans, but unless emptied everytime that the lower sidewalk flooded it might create more litter than it prevents.
    2. I would prefer to invest in trash cans for all major pedestrian areas of the city,
      1. 2nd, 3rd, market, Cameron, Derry, etc.
    3. Do you have any ideas for managing the goose feces along Front Street and the Susquehanna River?
      1. Not really. It is typically gone after a good rain.  Maybe the most environmentally friendly way to deal with it would be to hose down the sidewalks periodically during their migration.
    4. Do you have thoughts on what City Council can do to improve the way the City looks?
      1. Continue the economic recovery. The nicest looking neighborhoods tend to be the vibrant ones.
      2. Long term I would love to tackle the “city highways” I have been to several other cities that have high volume roads that are still attractive.  Savannah comes to mind.  Isn’t this a beautiful picture?
    5. What is your opinion on converting Front Street from 3 lanes to 2 and a bike lane?
      1. I support it. Front Street north of Division is already only 2 lanes without congestion.  Congestion starts downtown when people begin to turn off Front onto side streets.
      2. I think it will make Front street friendlier for residents.
    6. What is your opinion on converting Second Street from one way to two ways?
      1. Again I think it will make a better neighborhood to live in. It would complicate commuting out of the city.  It should only be tackled if the traffic can be properly routed out of the city.
      2. I think that the city should be focused to maximizing the life of the residents and not commuters.
      3. I welcome commuters to come live here and walk to work!
    7. Considering that Harrisburg is ranked the fifth most dangerous city in Pennsylvania, in which residents have a 1 in 16 chance of being the victim of a crime, what is your plan to make Harrisburg a safer place to live?
      1. The program of that the news nick named shock and awe is a good start
      2. But the number one key is to work with existing neighbors and neighborhood groups to address know problem properties.
        1. Get the police resources that they need to be able to address repeat offenders
      3. What is your opinion of the creation of a Civilian Complaint Review Board consisting of community members to review complaints of alleged police misconduct?
        1. If done properly this can be a great tool for community engagement.
      4. What actions will you take to relight the lights on Front Street?
        1. Put pressure on public works to not wait for PennDot to tear up the street. And to fix it now.
      5. What is your opinion on so-called “nuisance bars,” including the City’s planned actions against Third Street Café, the Taproom, and the Royal Pub?
        1. If there is a legitimate reason for their closure the proper actions should be taken.
      6. What is your opinion about the proposed idea of permitting bars to remain open until 4:00 a.m.?
        1. I don’t think many would. If 4am becomes an issue the city can always put a 2am last call into the ordinances.
      7. What specific ideas will you advocate for economic revitalization?
        1. No more commercial parking lots
        2. Create incentives when appropriate to lure investment.
        3. Make property owners maintain their property. This beautifies the neighborhood and creates a “carrying cost” over keeping a property, but not maintaining it.  This should encourage reuse, over disuse.
        4. Create neighborhoods that people want to invest in.
      8. What is your position on tax abatements: 10-year sliding scale; 10-year complete abatement; no abatement program; or another scheme?
        1. 10 year sliding would be the best scheme. I also think that abatement is best targeted where investment is currently lacking.  Downtown and Midtown currently have self sustaining development.  I would like to encourage development in other historically ignored neighborhoods.
      9. What are your plans to encourage residential revitalization in Harrisburg?
        1. Make property owners maintain their property. This beautifies the neighborhood and creates a “carrying cost” over keeping a property, but not maintaining it.  This should encourage reuse, over disuse.
        2. And we must make the city a safe and desirable place to live to attract new residents and create demand for new residences.
      10. How would you propose to incentivize City development of green and sustainable infrastructure?
        1. Similar to proposals on the table for commercial LERTA where job creation is tied tax abatement. “Green” abatement could be awarded based on accepted industry practices
      11. What policies would you advocate to encourage developers to build on empty lots where buildings once stood?
        1. See #33
        2. No more commercial parking lots
        3. Before we start building on empty lots it is also good to tackle blighted structures. Blighted structures do much more damage to the neighborhood than an empty lot and are typically harder to redevelop.
      12. Until empty lots are developed, what temporary use would you advocate?
      13. If the Harrisburg Redevelopment Authority contracted to build and landscape and neighborhood and the types trees planted damaged those properties and reduced property values, what kind of assistance would you propose the City offer these homeowners?
        1. I would need to know more about this particular incident to have a good opinion
      14. What do you think of reducing parking rates to $1.00 per hour from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and can such a proposal be made and succeed?
        1. Lower prices are always better, but much of this decision is outside of city control at the moment.
      15. Do you support a commuter tax?
        1. I rarely support more taxes. I think that taxes are already higher than most can afford in the city.  I don’t want to add another reason in peoples minds to stay out of Harrisburg.
      16. What impact will Governor Wolf’s proposed increase in the Commonwealth’s income and sales taxes providing a reduction in school property taxes have on the City?
        1. It would cut most property taxes for residents in half.  This would raise property values and has potential to spur investment in Harrisburg over its suburbs.
      17. Will you support the right of entrepreneurs to open marijuana shops in the City when Pennsylvania legalizes recreational marijuana?
        1. IF Pennsylvania legalize marijuana I believe its administration would need to carefully considered.
      18. If elected, what will you do to encourage businesses to come to Midtown and Harrisburg to encourage the development of vacant and blighted properties, like the Carpet and Draperies building near Third and Reily streets?
        1. if I am not mistake the C&D building is currently planned to be renovated into first floor office space with apartments above. At least this is what I was told when my friends and I queried the real estate agent.
        2. Redevelopment will happen if there is a market for what is being fixed up. That is why I am campaigning on creating safe and desirable neighborhoods.  All the incentives will not work if no one want to live in the neighborhoods that have been rebuilt.
      19. How would you address the racial divide prevalent in the City?
        1. Great community policing helps
        2. Investment in neglected neighborhoods so that there will be a less “us and them” attitude.
      20. How would you address the socioeconomic divide prevalent in the City?
        1. Economic development and youth engagement to break the cycle of poverty.
      21. How would you address the geographic divide prevalent in the City?
        1. I am not certain what this question means.
      22. How would you address the prevalent divide between lifelong residents and new residents of the City?
        1. Encourage Neighborhood and community groups. Get the two different camps talking to that we can all see that “WE ARE HARRISBURG”
      23. What can City Council do for issues affecting the Hispanic community?
        1. Listen to the community’s concerns and take action when it is possible.
      24. If you acquired a pre-owned genie with only one wish, how would you use that wish to improve Harrisburg, regardless of cost or authority of the City over that issue? What steps could actually you take from City Council to make that wish a reality?
        1. I would give us world class school system where all kids succeed. This would break generational poverty, and break “child flight” when couples leave for the suburbs after having a child.
        2. City council doesn’t control the school districts, but the city can work on everything before the child arrives at and after the child leaves school.
      25. Considering issues over which City Council has substantial authority, what is the biggest issue facing the City and how will you work to fix it?
        1. Blight and reinvestment in our neighborhoods.
        2. See the answers to previous questions for how I would tackle this.
      26. Name one priority you would focus on if elected to City Council, and why is that important to the City?
        1. See #49
      27. What practical things do you suggest residents can do each day to make the City better? How would you motivate residents to do these things?
        1. Get to know your neighbors; this improves everything from litter to crime.
        2. I would motivate residents to do this by fostering communities around the city.
      28. What is your opinion on regionalization of services, such as police, fire, schools, or even governance?
        1. There are many advantages to regionalization, but the devil is in the details and I would base my support based upon the specific proposals advanced.