UPUA/IFC Hosts Student-Centered Borough Council Debate
Four State College Borough Council candidates participated in a UPUA and IFC-sponsored debate last night in the HUB. In front of an audience consisting mostly of UPUA representatives, the four candidates vying for three seats debated issues students face for the upcoming November 5 election.
The four candidates included Thomas Daubert, an incumbent; Evan Myers, the chair of the borough planning commission; Theresa Lafer, a former councilwoman; and Richard Garis, a former police officer.
The candidates were asked five questions relating to students and were each given an opportunity to summarize their platforms.
When asked if they would support a permanent student voting seat on borough council, all candidates stated that the current system works and that students are represented through the UPUA liaison to the board. Lafer asked, “Are you (students) going to put four years in?” in reference to the council term length. Candidates were also asked if they would support districting the current at-large council seats, which received an almost unanimous no with Myers saying that he is “not totally against it”.
The candidates were then asked if they would support changes to the Nuisance Property Ordinance. Daubert said that the current system is working very well, but Myers questioned the point system used to punish property owners. Myers stated that he believes if an individual is doing something that is cause for the ordinance to be enforced, then they should receive points, not all of the residents of that building, which is the case now. Lafer also agreed that the rules need to be adjusted, but didn’t offer any alternatives.
The most controversial question of the night came midway through the debate. The candidates were asked, “Would you support providing stipends for bars to close on State Patty’s Day?” Daubert and Myers both stated that they were opposed to paying the bars to close, with Daubert citing apartments as the real problem. Lafer didn’t have an answer to the question, but did wish to do anything that can make the public safe. Garis cited the monetary costs of the holiday to the community and said that “We need to do some other actions, too.” The same question was also recently asked by UPUA to the two mayoral candidates at a recent meeting. Both Mayor Elizabeth Goreham and challenger Ron Madrid stated their tepid support for paying bars to close on the pseudo-holiday.
The audience was given the opportunity to question the candidates following the debate and all of the candidates urged students to vote in the election. But, if voter turnout is important to you, UPUA members probably aren’t the right people to ask.