Denton Matters City Council Candidate Interviews: D2, Jon Hohman
Question 1: When asked about advancing inclusion and protecting civil rights, a common answer recently given by candidates is a pledge to “meet with local leaders.” What specific plans do you have to meet the needs of our diverse community? What have you done prior to this election to advance these causes?
Response:Thank y’all for doing this! I look forward to a more in depth discussion in the forthcoming interview. If elected I will make it clear that I’m available and seeking input from any and all Dentonites in the interest of collaborating around our shared needs. I think people’s civil rights are most at risk when their voice is most silenced or their input is ignored, as it often is and as mine has been, especially by vested interests or empire building types as we see in the proliferation of environmental and economic injustice- specifically I plan to enable more people to speak up for themselves- see my answer to question 3 around increased public comment that I’ve previously been advocating for.
Question 2: Did you support the city’s mask ordinance? Yes or No. What in your opinion would be your responsibility, as a city official, in protecting Denton’s citizens from COVID19 or similar threats?
Response: No. This is especially because Denton’s mask mandate required, not just recommended, children under 10 to be masked, which particular I see as irresponsible, and the mandate myopic on the whole. As a city official I’d remember that Americans are some of the most unhealthy people in the world so preventative management and environmental justice play a grievously underestimated role in our community health- especially as air quality has been directly linked, down to the micron, to Covid-19 fatalities and will continue to be linked directly to future serious health issues unless we collectively step in. This is dramatically illustrated by the historic black community in St. James Parish in “cancer alley” Louisiana. If elected, I’d provide and advocate for a more holistic outlook at city hall by addressing the ecosystem function our collective health depends on like an astronaut depends on their oxygen supply- not just by reducing emissions, but by actively scrubbing the air and restoring biodiversity through sustainable development and proven soil health initiatives (as I asked the Committee on the Environment to prioritize pre-covid), or my suggestion in the same DM thread that the city might save lives by facilitating Vitamin D distribution because of the role Vitamin D deficiency played in Covid-19 fatalities and because it has been shown to nearly eradicate Covid-19 related ICU visits, or my temporarily successful attempts to eliminate industrial sewage sludge, synthetic pesticides, neurotoxins, synthetic fertilizers etc. from our water, air, and where our children play in our parks. Holistically speaking: the vegetable section was low at the grocery today due to wildfires so it’s clearly in Denton’s best interest to view things holistically to become less dependent and more resilient.
Question 3: Council Members pitch ideas for initiatives to have city staff research. At your first work session, aUer this election, what will be your first pitch to help the citizens of Denton?
Response: I’d pitch for public comment at work sessions because many believe that our voice is most effective and informative during the collaborative decision making process rather than after it; after the deliberations have already taken place and council members are expected to have made up their minds and formulated their votes.
Question 4: Our city will be facing a budget crisis due to reduced tax revenue. What, specifically, will you do to bring home recovery funds to assist Denton residents and businesses who are struggling with Covid-19 related economic challenges?
Response: I figure we’ll take every dollar the feds owe us for our hopefully responsive census and others coming our way from any relief sources. I know too that we’ve been shown how crucial local resilience over dependency is; how we wouldn’t be facing near as much of a crisis if we: removed barriers to producing more for ourselves locally, plugged the money leakages, traded our corporate welfare investments (in the outdated and failed model of “attract and retain”) for investments in locally owned businesses, if our new developments reoriented more towards New Urbanism and didn’t discourage solar panels and encourage HOA fiefdoms and were first justified with credible long term fiscal analyses and lastly: if we attracted people, business and investment by transitioning our city to an even more Art-ful New Urbanism pioneer, crafted by a truly transparent and accountable government for the increased happiness and success of those who actually live here.
Question 5: What in your history/record qualifies you, above your challengers, for the seat you are seeking election?
Response: I successfully worked with city council and staff to remove many proven toxins from our childrens’ environments- so successfully in fact that I’ve become a target for an unfounded character assassination attempt for it by city hall. I think some people feel confident to continue supporting me because they’ve seen how I tend toward being responsive, responsible, reasonable and persistent. I have no ulterior motive or ambition, I’m beholden to no PAC and no one but everyone- I’m only here as an extension of my activist efforts during a time when I feel I have the energy and resources to contribute to, and be a watchdog for, my community. I know so many of us are suffering and I want to listen and represent and I believe that I can.
Question 6: The DEC Net projected Income is in the Red year over year and citizens have been informed that our energy rates will go up as a result. What are your plans to help resident ratepayers keep costs lower? Do you have any ideas or plans in place to assist with this?
Response: Gosh, what a charade we were leU to cope with, largely due, as I’m seeing it, to a suppression of the public voice and a lesson on how a lack of accountable staff leadership and controlling for bias in city consultancy contracts can wreak havoc on a community. Right now I’d like to see the DME open up and reorient from a gas business frame to an energy producing frame we are DME, we decide. To keep rates lower we could consider decommissioning the DEC as soon as it’s feasible to do so and then deploy many alternatives to our current dilemma that have already shown proof of concept in other municipalities. There are Regenerative Economy initiatives like Agrivoltaics where managed grazing, farming, pollinators and solar mix and share to the benefit of all involved whilst attracting people and business in the bargain towards a more desirable Denton that’s tackling the big problems together and leading Texas by example- a Denton that’s really got it together and helps change the rest of Texas and the world through true, innovative, community rights centered resilience… Lookin’ forward y’all, thanks again :)