As a former homeless veteran I know first hand the struggles of our citizens that cannot afford to make large donations to those currently in power. We must provide dignity through work and assist with mental health/transitional housing. The homeless can and should be employed to do community beautification through public-private partnerships. The money would be set up on a card similar to EBT for food, clothing, and shelter.
Let’s start by decriminalizing cannabis in Des Moines. We will sell licenses to adult residents in order to grow and distribute cannabis within the City of Des Moines. This will reduce taxes, create new jobs, add tourist dollars, reduce the prison population, and diversify the cities income. Part of the license fee would go to establishing safety and quality requirements. The fee would apply annually so that there is less burden placed on new business developers through possible fluctuations in fee prices over time. We will also help integrate the police force with our communities by having officers live in the communities they serve and having officers escort children to after school programs, building trust and adding to safety.
The War on Drugs was a costly, partisan attack on free people and choice. The War on Weapons is the echo from the other side of the political aisle. Des Moines should not listen to the distraction of these national issues and instead make sure our citizens enjoy the full rights of the Constitution. When the current mayor distracts and divides by bringing up these issues he does so in order to avert addressing his failures. Banning certain weapon accessories will only harm liberty of choice, hinder some businesses, allow a new excuse for pretextual stops, and will drive another segment of our population into the prison system.
Let's stop penalizing people for improving their homes, which improves the communities as a whole. Instead we can start reducing property taxes for every year the structure has been standing. This will encourage people to keep historic structures updated and continue to add to the beauty of our city. Combine this with a Land Value Tax that disregards the value and improvements of buildings. Land Value Taxes are favored by most economists as they do not cause economic inefficiency, and tend to reduce inequality. Adding a modern twist I would reduce cost for permeable land (green spaces and porous concrete) which would improve the environment and help mitigate flooding.
For too long, our current city officials have focused on bringing in larger, outside corporations instead of promoting local, small businesses. Our taxes have been diverted to support the business schemes of the wealthy friends and family members of the current mayor and away from our schools and infrastructure, killing our communities. Our zoning is too restrictive for Des Moines to change with the ever increasing shifts in market fluctuations and the needs of the people. We must end the flow of corporate welfare for the well connected allies of our current elected officials, we should never force low and middle income earners to subsidize the wealthiest residents. We need to focus on residents and businesses that will invest back into our local communities. The only way to do this is by asking our neighbors where their daily struggles are and by getting out on the streets and actually knowing what is going on. This is how we put our communities first, and this is how we put political corruption last.
The law of supply and demand applies to housing like any other commodity. In order to truly have affordable housing without placing additional government burden on business owners we only need to increase supply. This can be done by developing accessory dwelling units with the assistants of the city (in terms of cost and regulations). These dwellings can include turning basements into independent living quarters, adding tiny houses in the backyard, or an apartment over the garage. By doing this we assist the current owners with their house payment and provide a dwelling for low income citizens. We will take this one step further and assist with a down payment for ownership of a home for anyone that's rented in Des Moines for 10+ years. After owning your home for 30 years there will be a massive reduction in property taxes as a thank you for being a long term member of our city and for investing in our community’s prosperity. This policy adds additional long term residents, allowing for a stable tax base and a stronger sense of community.