Friday, March 17, 2006

Saving lands and housing people

I served on Gallatin County's Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) committee. Transfer of development rights is a mechanism used to keep open spaces open and to direct development to appropriate areas. It's a market-based technique that encourages the voluntary transfer of growth from places where a community would like to see less development (called sending areas) to places where development is more appropriate: closer to jobs, businesses, services, health care, schools, etc. (called receiving areas).

TDR is an effective method that landowners can use for continuity of open space and of urban development. It can help to prevent checkerboard development. The TDR committee studied all aspects of TDR and asked some hard questions: will developers participate? will landowners sell development rights? will cities serve as receiving areas? and we proposed answers to those tough questions; I and the county planning director wrote the report of the committee to the county commission.

Yesterday, city and county commissioners, as well as members of the TDR Committee, met to plan for ways to implement a TDR plan. Bozeman supports the preservation of open space and sensible development patterns; city voters have twice passed Open Space Bonds with strong majorities, and the city commission approved the Bozeman Creek Neighborhood Plan last year, which seeks to preserve the Bozeman Creek corridor and to direct development to support that preservation goal. Other subarea plans are being written now, too, with the goal of directing development and preserving open space, riparian corridors, watercourses, and habitat.

Gallatin County is the fastest growing in Montana; I'm proud to serve on Bozeman's Planning Board and Zoning Commission and on the TDR Board because I believe that if we develop responsibly, with sensitivity to our natural setting and to the logical progression of our urban landscape, we'll enjoy the benefits for generations. If we don't develop sensibly, we'll spend years trying to correct the situation.

TDR is just one way to encourage and promote preservation as well as responsible development. Be sure I'll continue to do all I can to forward those goals.

Mansfield-Metcalf Dinner pics

More Mansfield-Metcalf dinner pics.

This pic is me with a fine, fine Democrat from way back, Mr. Ralph Pomnichowski. See the resemblance?

That's me with Senator Max Baucus. He's tall. I don't quite meet the height requirement for pics with tall people (even so, I am small but mighty!)

Campaign week 6, March 6-10

It's been a busy week. On Saturday, I went to the state Democrat gathering in Helena for campaign training by day and the big Dem festivity, the Mansfield-Metcalf dinner, that night. I met great people; candidates for office, current and former legislators, engaged citizens, professional campaign types.

The crowd was impressive, the room beautiful, the food fantastic (thanks, Front Street Market in Butte, MT!) I spoke with Governor Schweitzer and Senator Max Baucus, as well as state senator and candidate for US Senate Jon Tester and State Auditor and candidate for US Senate John Morrison. I even bid on the Pearl Jam poster in the silent auction (unsuccessfully--rats!) It was a great time after a very productive day. Democrats can really dance.

Earlier that week, I was out supporting my fellow Democrats! On Wednesday, our state chairman was here, Dennis McDonald, talking to the party faithful. The next night, Thursday the 9th, I and many local candidates attended an event for Jon Tester.

On Friday, I attended a lunch forum about renewable energy. I spoke with Bob Raney, our local rep on the Public Service Commission, about wind energy and the proposed wind farm in Livingston, directly east of my district! We had a valuable conversation. I supported Jon Tester's bill (SB415) which passed in the last legislature requiring Northwestern Energy to get 15% of its electricity from renewable resources by 2015. Currently, they're getting 7% from wind! More, and we could load the power grid with electricity to sell to other states. We talked about coal gasification, too; energy is one of Montana's strongest economic assets. It was good to talk to one of five of our PSC members about viability, production, and furthering our independence from petroleum.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

So, I'm running to become a Montana State legislator, and I and my campaign friends have been thinking up slogans, imagery, etc. to communicate that message. The slogans? Let's make JP our Lady of the House! and because my last name's Pomnichowski, Bozeman's a SKI town! Get it? PomnichowSKI? and because my last name is so long, and for an easy remembrance for ballot-marking, Vote For the Longest Name on the Ballot!

But best of all was the tasty suggestion from Karen for house-shaped cookies!

Aren't they outstanding? HOUSES? JP for the House!

Many thanks, Karen, for the House cookies. You rock.

These cookies will debut tonight at a Democratic function, where our Montana Democratic state chairman, Dennis McDonald, will speak.

JP in the House cookies trump chips 'n' dip every time.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Hey, blog world! Here's the first installment of JP For The House, my run-for-the-(state)-Capitol blog. Lovely to have you aboard!

The decision to run for legislature is a long time coming. I've served on many city and county boards in the past several years, and more and more I found myself saying, "You know, if the state would just..." and "The legislature should..."

So I've decided that instead of 'wishing on a a star' about what the state might do to help policy, taxes, education, our natural setting, businesses, health care, etc., I thought I'd get involved myself.

I'll dig in to the work. I know I want the job; years of working on city and county boards has been the best real-life education into making things really work for the community. Working on specific efforts like responsible development and community support for conservation projects focused my attention on realistic, fair, achievable goals. And it took years to grow my knowledge and experience to a point where I have a lot to offer as state representative.

I'm ready. I'm experienced. I'm passionate about making and keeping Montana a beautiful, viable, successful place. Now, to campaign for this job I want!

Look around, call me or email me, comment on blog postings, do it all. First and foremost, I'm your neighbor, I'm a citizen. I want to effect change to improve our communities and state, and that begins at the one-person level. I want to know what 's important to you, and you should know you're important to me. I'm available to you, and I'll work to make Montana the best place for all--each and every one--of us. Let's do this thing!