LOGAN – The six candidates running for three open seats on the Logan City Council agree leaders should focus on solutions to affordable housing and traffic congestion.
Abraham Verdoes separates himself by emphasizing bike lanes as one solution to traffic woes.
“Geographically, Logan isn’t huge,” Verdoes says. “When we build bike lanes, we’re building ones that are best in class. We are using the best available approach. We need to make them safe and visible and I think it’s completely doable.”
Verdoes believes buses are an important alternative to cars on the roads.
“I think we need to start with a few key areas of connecting campus with downtown and downtown to maybe the Riverwoods area south,” he says. “We just need to make sure we are doing it smartly.”
Verdoes is concerned the city is not moving quickly enough to implement traffic solutions.
“You have to keep up with the changes,” he says. “The traffic study that was done in 2011, last week the mayor was saying it may be another decade before they really look at the one way couplets. In my mind, 18 years is entirely too long to try and implement a solution to the traffic problem. The solution…might not be viable any more.”
“I try to differentiate myself by being more forward looking, future focused and trying to emphasize things that are going to work in the future.” Verdoes continues, “Whether it’s the digital presence of the city council, or whether it’s solutions that are going to work in the future, rather than be yesterday’s solutions tomorrow.”
Verdoes would like to see the city council be more visible. “I think the way you speed up the pace is by involving the community quicker and sooner,” he explains.
He sites two examples where he says city leaders fell short. One is the Center Block project.
“They held this vision meeting 14 months ago, then there was no significant updates to the community for over a year,” he says. “There’s no reason there can’t be digital polls, digital communication and digital dialogue with the community so you speed up that cycle, get feedback quicker, analyze it, reflect on it and then implement it. Rather than 14 months later having another meeting and maybe you have to go back to the drawing board and you’ve wasted a year.”
Verdoes doesn’t believe the city has been transparent about a site for a new library, a subject brought up in a recent election forum.
“The city council member who was talking about the potential locations hadn’t shared those with the community,” he says. “What if you’ve wasted six months selecting a site and don’t tell the community and it’s not what they want, now you’re six months down the road and you’re back at square one.”
Verdoes would like the city to work more closely with Utah State University and offer internships for students.
“There’s no reason we shouldn’t have digital marketing students, graphic design students, urban planning students interning at city hall and getting experience and also creating a strong connection to the university and providing a valuable service for the community,” he states.
Verdoes has a Master’s Degree in Organic Chemistry and worked in biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and high-tech industries for over a decade.
This article is part of a series of six stories featuring the candidates for the Logan City Council. A separate candidate will be featured each day in a pre-determined, random order.