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Monday, September 30, 2013

Katie Nash Supports Year Round Homeless Shelter

George Wenschhof

Katie Nash
I sat down with Republican alderman candidate Katie Nash recently to discuss her campaign.  Katie finished second in the Republican primary and interestingly, received 145 less votes than alderman candidate Derek Shackelford, who finished sixth in the Democratic primary and did not advance to the general election.

Katie told me it was a year ago she decided to run for alderman and that she decided to run because she wanted to see a nonpartisan city election because she feels issues at the local level are nonpartisan.

She told me she grew up in Baltimore County and graduated from Hood College, where she also received her MBA in 2008.  For, the past three years, she has worked for a defense contractor, located in Frederick, as a program manager.

The morning I interviewed Katie, she had spent overnight in the streets so she could see what it was like for the homeless.  She told me she spent most of her time either along Carroll Creek downtown, N. Market Street or Baker Park. 

Although, she did not really see many homeless, she said it was cold outside overnight and mentioned going to the bathroom was an issue due to no availability of public restrooms.  She walked up to the Whitaker campus at Hood College to use the facilities.  While, she acknowledged she did not know where the homeless were, she believes the city should fund a year round shelter for the homeless.

Katie also wants the city to take an intelligent look at how they are spending money and wants a focus on crime.  One example she was concerned about was the city purchase of the Hargett farm and worried that these types of expenditures would lead to a tax increase for city taxpayers.

She also told me she does not support the continued funding of the city owned Clustered Spires golf course.

In regard to the Harry Grove Stadium lease, Katie said she was okay with it and supported looking at further revenue from advertising at the stadium.

She supported what the city has done to date to develop a plan to combat the underfunded city pension and other post employment benefits programs. Katie added she had wished the city would have moved faster on this issue.  

In regard to overall growth issues, Katie said traffic was the biggest issue with voters she had spoken to.  She believes more infrastructure is needed for planned development, calling the traffic congestion surrounding Wegmans at 5 PM a nightmare.

A look at how to finance infrastructure at the front end is needed by the city and Katie supports the creation of a public/private infrastructure bank to handle this.

Overall, Katie believes the city should do a better job of informing the public of planning and zoning actions.

When I asked her what she felt about the city Neighborhood Advisory Councils (NACs), Katie said the candidate forums were helpful.  She added she saw their role as a combination neighborhood watch, home owner association and community liaison with the city.  She also felt they could be used in a town hall forum manner to discuss various city issues of importance.

Another issue Katie has heard from voters about is their desire to have the city return to bulk trash pickup, which she supports.  She believes the city should have also done a better job at communicating to city residents their move to once a week trash pickup also coincided with an increase in recycling.

City registered voters will choose their mayor and five member board of alderman on November 5.

Stay tuned.
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