Candidate Questions For Jason Shachner
Occupation: Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, Lake County Prosecutor’s Office, Criminal Division
1.) Why should we vote for you and not the other candidate? (100 words)
My career in public service has provided me with the tools and the temperament to effectively build coalitions and strongly advocate for you. I am an attorney and have significant, relevant experience in the non-profit and government sectors, including serving as an Assistant Prosecutor in the Civil Division of my office. Here, I provided legal advice and counsel to elected officials and department heads, was responsible for drafting resolutions, reviewing and creating bid packages for public works projects, and representing the county in legal matters. I will use my experience to make sure your voice is heard at City Hall.
2.) Name two things you have learned while walking around talking to residents, first: what are their biggest concerns about their ward, and second, what are their biggest concerns about Lakewood in general? How will you address these concerns as their councilperson? (100 words, or less, for each)
The biggest concerns in Ward 2 are speeding, development, the lack of crosswalks in heavily trafficked areas, and the condition of Wagar and Kauffman parks. I will address speeding concerns by working with residents to get the signatures necessary to have speed tables installed on problematic streets. I will communicate your concerns to developers and work with them to ensure that the developments benefit our city. I will work with city employees to identify areas that need crosswalks and advocate for their installation. I will engage you in the design plans of Wagar and advocate for investment in Kauffman.
The biggest city-wide concerns center around housing and land use. Increased housing demand has numerous positive effects, however those on a fixed income or whose wages haven’t kept pace with rising rents or property taxes are experiencing the adverse effects of Lakewood’s success. Our code doesn’t provide for accessory dwelling units (in-law suites) as a permitted accessory use or as a conditionally permitted use. I would work to revise the code to permit ADUs, which would increase the amount of affordable housing stock, increase options for those looking to downsize, and provide seniors more options to age in place.
3.) Since the last major election cycle, Lakewood has lost 1500+ skilled jobs and access to health care due to the liquidation of Lakewood Hospital. What was your position on the hospital closing process: Did you vote for the Master Agreement that closed Lakewood Hospital, or would you have if you had been on council? Why or why not? If you had it to do again, would you do anything differently? (150 words or less)
The decision to close the hospital was difficult for the members of Council and I believe that the councilmembers did what they believed was in the best interest of Lakewood. Based on my conversations with Ward 2 residents, I believe that the decision-making process should have been more transparent and more time should have been spent involving and engaging residents in the process.
Without knowing all the facts available to Council at the time, I cannot determine how I would have voted. I can promise that I will diligently research and review all proposals that are brought before Council and engage you in the process. I will be able and willing to provide a rationale for every vote and will be completely transparent in my decision-making process. You deserve forthright and honest representation, and I pledge that my votes will be guided by our shared interests and values.
4.) A big complaint from both the elderly and those without cars is the loss of the community circulator. If elected what would you do to make the community more accessible to all? (100 words or less)
Lakewood has contracted with Senior Transportation Connection to provide non-emergency medical transportation for residents over the age of 60 and in May 2019, Lakewood started the Transportation Accessibility Program, which offers disabled residents aged 18-59 two roundtrips a month to routine medical appointments. Using the data from TAP, I will explore our ability to provide transportation to seniors and disabled residents for non-medical trips. I hope to implement alternative transportation options, like increasing bicycle infrastructure and adding e-bikes to increase community accessibility. I will also support and advocate regionally for reliable, convenient, and appropriate public transportation.
5.) What will you do to balance the needs of residents and residential neighborhoods with economic (commercial, business) development? (100 words or less)
Lakewood’s character and aesthetic makes it a unique and enjoyable place to call home. I will work with residents to ensure that developers are aware of their needs and concerns. I will use the tools we have at our disposal to induce developers to use designs that are consistent with Lakewood’s character. I will also explore creating a Sustainability Advisory Commission. Its purpose would be to submit recommendations on proposed development plans to the Planning Commission to encourage developers to make every effort to have their development benefit the entire community.
6.) Over the past 15 years we have encountered 3 “moments” which have severely divided the city of Lakewood, mostly about social economic issues like health care, eminent domain, land use, land giveaways to developers, etc. If elected or re-elected what are you going to do to help mend fences and bring the community together again? (150 words or less)
Division occurs when people feel that their voices are not being heard or respected. My experience in community organizing taught me the importance of engaging the community and speaking with stakeholders when crafting policy. We can improve trust and participation in our city government by not just focusing on the loudest voices, but by seeking out the opinions of all our community members. That means making affirmative efforts to reach our neighbors where they are and providing you meaningful opportunities to speak with councilmembers.
I will listen and work with all residents, just like I have done during my campaign. I have knocked on thousands of doors and spoken with thousands of you. I learned that you are passionate about our city and sincerely care about its health and success. I will ensure that every opinion is heard and carefully considered prior to voting on legislation.
7.) The records lawsuit was a moral and legal disaster for our city. What steps will you take to make our public records available and prevent future obstructionism by public officials? Do you support the proposed ethics and campaign finance reform legislation? (100 words or less)
I’ve spent my entire career in non-profits and governmental service, and I understand the necessity of transparency when you hold a position in the public trust. As an Assistant Prosecutor, I am bound by high ethical standards and my conduct is closely scrutinized. Public records are the people’s records and I’ll ensure that that the law is followed, without unnecessary delay.
I agree with the ordinances in principle but not in form. There are numerous clarifications, conflicts, and redundancies that must be resolved. We must explore the possible unintended consequences to ensure that the intent of the ordinances is met.
8.) A majority of Lakewood’s street fairs revolve around wearing seasonal clothes while walking between Arthur and Belle on Detroit, creating a burden to those businesses while not highlighting other areas of the community that deserve attention and a turn at putting on the party. Would you be for moving events around, and/or developing new events? (100 words or less)
Currently those events are presented by LakewoodAlive. LakewoodAlive is a community development corporation that works closely, but is independent from, City Council. The President of Council appoints a councilperson to sit on LakewoodAlive’s Board and if appointed I would certainly be open to developing new events and alternating locations. Lakewood has many areas and businesses that deserve to be highlighted and I believe the more opportunities for us to come together to celebrate Lakewood the better.
9.) Was the LO fair with this process? (50 words or less)
Jason Shachner is currently serving as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in the Lake County Prosecutor's Offices' Criminal Division. He lives on Cook Ave. with his wife, Michelle, and their 12-year-old shepherd mix, Tessie. He is a candidate for Lakewood City Council Ward 2.