Saturday, March 21, 2009

Interview with Mayoral Candidate Christopher Donegan

Because we can never learn too much about our representative candidates

This is number 1 in a series of email interviews with Mayoral and Council Candidates.

1. Please rate the following core services in the order in which you, personally, feel they should be prioritized (Donegan's answers precede the listed core services):

3 capital improvements
1 public safety
4 quality of life, as in entertainment; parks; sport events; the arts; etc.
2 road and bridge maintenance and infrastructure

2. Do you support a 1 percent sales tax to fund the police and fire pension plan?

Donegan: No I did not. I support the SOS ¼ cent sunset, ¼ cent pension fund tax plan. This proposal will result in a no net tax increase. I would entertain other tax increase proposals only after exercising all other available options.

3. Do you support a sales tax of some amount less than 1 percent but equal to or more than 1/8-cent? If so, what would you consider the ideal amount within that range?

Donegan: I think Mr. Burris’ tax proposal would have passed if he had only asked for a ¼ to 3/8 % sales tax increase. I still like the idea of reallocating general fund revenue before increasing the total sales tax in Springfield above 6.85%.

4. Describe, in your opinion, what are "core city services."

Donegan: The Springfield Police Department, Springfield Fire Department, Springfield Public Works Department, and the City Clerk’s Office. There are other departments that support the core city services, and I understand their need to be funded. I would strive as Mayor to make sure core city services are funded first.

5. If forced to cut areas of the budget which include the core city services you listed or indicated in #4, list the order in which you would cut the services from the most to the least amount.

Donegan: City Clerk’s Office, Public Works, Police Department, Fire Department

6. Are there any core city services listed in #4 that you would simply refuse to support cutting? If so, why would you refuse to cut those services?

Donegan: I would not want to cut the already emaciated Police and Fire Departments. As a member of the business community, though, I understand that expenses must stay below revenues to keep an organization solvent.

7. When funding capital improvement projects how would you set priorities among the projects eligible for funding in the current and upcoming voter approved capital improvement project lists?

Donegan: The wording of the CIP tax passed by voters in 2007 states “High Priority” projects. I would push for a discussion at the first City Council meeting with new members on a possible priority number for the projects. I also would stress that the priorities may change if economic conditions and constituent attitude towards the project change. This was definitely the case with the Wayfinding Sign program.

8. How would you stay in touch with your constituents to insure you were properly representing them?

Donegan: I am good at answering emails. I would make myself available to local radio, print, Internet, and television media. I would knock doors and attend public forums whenever possible.

9. Explain why you want to serve on the City Council.

Donegan: I want to see a City Council that will start representing the conservative majority in Springfield again.

10. If elected to City Council, will you read the background information on every bill proposed for passage before you enter the Council Chambers to hear first reading of a bill and before casting your vote to either support or oppose the bill?

Donegan: Yes. The only way the Mayor is going to provide leadership is by knowing his stuff. I can also admit when I am ill prepared to cast a vote, and would move to table the bill if others are in the same situation, if appropriate.

11. In your opinion, do current events effect past votes of the public on any given sales tax?

Donegan: Yes. We are in an ever changing world. Also, the residents who choose to make their voice known to their elected official changes with every election cycle. In the end, the person who is elected to Council by the voters chooses whether to make decisions based on personal conviction, public opinion, or a combination.

12. In your opinion, would it ever be beneficial to poll registered Springfield voters or your zone constituency, by some method you might determine yourself, regarding controversial issues before making a decision as to whether you would support a particular bill?

Donegan: There are some bills where you will have a strong personal conviction, and I think you must go with your values system regarding that decision. Other bills allow you to poll public opinion, listen to both sides of an issue, and analyze data before voting.

13. Do you consider yourself to have a conservative philosophy or a liberal philosophy, or perhaps, somewhere in between? Explain.

Donegan: Conservative

I believe in the Right to Life for the Unborn, regardless of how the pregnancy came about. I believe the government should not tax someone based on production of wealth. I believe every law-abiding American has the right to own and carry any firearm, especially in Springfield, Missouri parks.

14. What personal philosophy(ies) do you hold which might effect the way you vote on future issues of the City?

Donegan: If a bill does not promote some personal responsibility, or seeks to tear down some residents’ interests in the name of building up other residents’ interests, I cannot support it.

15. Do you recycle? If not, why not?

Donegan: I have in the past by taking materials to the Lone Pine Recycling Center. We don’t have room in the garage currently to store the recycle-eligible materials. While I like the idea of curbside recycling, I don’t think a City of Springfield mandate through franchising is the way to get this accomplished. The waste agreement just signed does not promote recycling; it increases revenue for the City.

16. When was the last time you visited a Springfield area park?

Donegan: It has been a few weeks since the campaign started.

When and if you visited a Springfield area park, did you attend a special event or just decide to go to the park?

Donegan: I play racquetball on the tennis courts at a number of parks on the North Side of Springfield. I hope to play Softball at Killian and Ewing in April.

17. What is your favorite color?

Donegan: Blue

18. What is your favorite item of clothing and why?

Donegan: My belt. I will actually turn around and come back to the house if I forget to put it on, even if my pants are snug and I don’t really need it.

19. What is your favorite genre of music?

Donegan: Country. I am originally from Nashville, TN. Growing up, I listened to WSM 650-AM.

20. What is your favorite book?

Donegan: I really liked the book, Manning, by Archie and Peyton Manning. I never knew much about Archie. I am a huge Tennessee Volunteers fan, and I enjoyed hearing about Peyton’s time in college.

21. Do you have any pets? Cat(s)? Dog(s)? Are you a "cat person" or a "dog person" and why?

Donegan: I have one dog, Rosco. I am a dog person because I like the interaction between man and man’s best friend.

22. Do you attend a church regularly? If so, what faith would you associate yourself with?

Donegan: Yes. I attend Springfield Community Church. I grew up in a Southern Baptist Church, and my beliefs match up with most Baptists.

23. What is your favorite kind of food?

Donegan: It’s American, but I am starting to lean toward Mexican and Chinese.

24. What is your favorite kind of pie?

Donegan: Pumpkin Pie (My wife’s is the best)


Donegan: Snickers Bars


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