The Fayetteville Flyer wants to help you get to know your 2022 candidates for City Council, which is why we’re publishing questionnaires with each of the local candidates in contested seats in the Nov. 8 election.
Each of the four Position 1 seats on the council will be on the ballot this year, but with no opposition in Ward 1 and Ward 4, Fayetteville voters will only see contested races in Ward 2 and Ward 3.
This post focuses on Ward 2, which is typically associated with the downtown and Dickson Street areas, includes portions of the University of Arkansas campus and stretches west past Garland Avenue to Asbell Elementary School, and north to the Washington County Fairgrounds. The ward also includes the businesses along College Avenue in midtown, and many historic districts including Wilson Park.
Profiles and questions are listed in the order that they were received.
Early voting begins Oct. 24.
Councilmember Mark Kinion is seeking a fourth term in Ward 2. Challenging Kinion this year is Sarah Moore, executive director of the Arkansas Justice Reform Coalition.
Residency: 22 years in Fayetteville, 13 years in Ward 2
Employment: Executive Director, Arkansas Justice Reform Coalition
Education: Bachelor’s degree in Marketing Management from University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
Political Experience: Voter registration, past candidate forum organizer, have assisted local candidate campaigns
Residency: Fayetteville resident for over 30 years
Employment: Retired Senior Executive, Biotech/Biologicals Sector
Education: Bachelor of Agriculture in Food Science and Technology, University of Arkansas; studied Communications at the University of Arkansas
Political Experience: Ward 2 City Council member since 2010
Below are some Q&As with the City Council candidates in Ward 2. We asked candidates why they were running, how they would describe Ward 2, and which recent City Council decisions they agree or disagree with.
Sarah, what made you decide to seek election to the council? Is it something you’ve been considering for a while?
I believe in proactive change. I am running because I feel strongly that the Fayetteville City Council can create policies and programs that make for greater opportunity and equity for those who live here. The Fayetteville City Council can ensure that we are a thriving community for everyone.
In my 11 years of corporate sales experience, I was a creative problem-solver and consensus builder, using data and ingenuity to keep production lines running across the country that would fill orders for the biggest retailer in the world. Maintaining a $38mm portfolio, menat selling new products based on the limitations that existed, but also understanding the market place and presenting innovation to bring solutions to consumers.
That experience and what I learned in that phase of my career has proven invaluable in my work in the community and I plan to bring that same level of thought leadership to the Fayetteville City Council, Ward 2 position.
I did not initially set out to run for city council, but I believe that if we allow ourselves to say yes to opportunities that present themselves we are often honing in on the area in life that we are meant to be in.
After losing our first child, I made a choice to be at home and refocus priorities. With this renewed focus, I grew frustrated with situations that were unjust and trapped too many. From many years of having a family member lack much needed mental health resources with no solution in sight and then seeing my daughter’s elementary classmates struggle when appropriate school and family support systems were not readily available. For the past 5 years, I have worked as an advocate to impact policy and ordinance change locally, regionally, and in the state legislature. Working on law changes that take care of more Arkansans continues to show me how much work we have to do. For years now, I have listened to my neighbors across the city and region and shared in some of the hardest times of our lives with direct aid and advocacy. But, it’s not enough. I am running for Fayetteville City Council to be proactive, to improve the community we love so much, and to ensure Fayetteville can be the home of everyone that wants to be here.
Mark, why are you seeking a fourth term? Is there a particular issue you want to help solve or continue working on?
My main goal is to ensure efficient municipal operations and responsible management of the tax payers’ money, resulting in preservation of those Fayetteville elements that define its character. My other goals include good sidewalks, trails, streets and transportation, sustainable clean environment and unparalleled management of sewer and solid waste, balanced development, regular attention to the Unified Development Code to keep it current with best form-based code, to name a few.
Being a senior member of the Council, I have institutional history that is often useful in understanding why things are as they are (code for example) and preventing reinvention of the wheel when looking at resolution of challenges. A necessary element of being a good City Council Member is being diligent in responding to citizens’ needs (problems with city services for example). Also, taking calls and reading citizen e-mails regarding issues before City Council. Answering promptly. I have a good record of this. My phone number is 479-263-1308 to text or call.
I think once again we need to revise the Unified Development Code to make it easier to navigate. We need to review past zoning/rezoning situations that could have been handled better. I believe the employees of our Planning Division are second to none. The way I look at it, our current development code is not the best.
Sarah, is there anything in particular that drove you to reside in Ward 2? How would you describe that part of town?
We chose to live in Ward 2 to be close to the park and trail system that can take our family quickly and easily to explore by the creek, to see adventures at the Dickson Street Bookshop, or for a picnic of local fare on Old Main lawn.
Ward 2 holds so many of the iconic areas of Fayetteville: Dickson Street, the University of Arkansas, the Senior Walk, and Razorback Stadium, Wilson Park, the Historic Fayetteville Square, our phenomenal library – the list can go on and on.
Ward 2 is enjoyed and held dear by all of those that live in Fayetteville – it’s a gathering place, an inviting place, for our whole city. One thing I hold most dear – an incredible neighborhood community exists throughout Ward 2 where neighbors know one another by name and we take care of one another. This has been confirmed over and over as I’ve knocked on thousands of doors and chatted one on one with my community. The unique neighborly quality Ward 2 personifies is what makes this place home.
Mark, in the past you have described Ward 2 as having a diverse character. Would you describe it the same way today?
Yes. Look at the ward and ward neighborhoods. Downtown, entertainment district, historical neighborhoods, University of Arkansas neighboring neighborhoods, residential neighborhoods being pressured by encroachment and increased U of A enrollment housing needs. These are examples of neighborhoods that have their own unique character and unique needs.
Sarah, what recent council decisions do you agree or disagree with?
Did you know that the average person breaks 2-3 laws per day? The more I have looked at the details of the laws in Arkansas, the more convinced I become that we regulate how others live too much. We need to look out for the greater good, and stay out of the decisions of others when they do no harm.
Recently, the City Council moved to criminalize on-street overnight parking for RVs with §72.15 PARKING RESTRICTIONS ON CITY STREETS IN GENERAL AND FOR LARGE TRUCKS, TRACTORS AND TRAILERS AND NON-EMERGENCY REPAIRS TO ALSO PROHIBIT OVERNIGHT PARKING OF MOTORHOMES, RECREATIONAL VEHICLES (RV’S), FIFTH WHEEL TRAILERS AND CAMPER TRAILERS.
When it was presented to the council, there was no data to show how often this happens. However,it was shared that only six complaints happen each year. It is hard to understand how this was an issue across our 90,000 population. Additionally, it was shared it would be complaint driven enforcement which brings up concerns of bias in how this new law may be enforced. I disagree with new city laws being made based on 0.00666666667% of the population. In this, and all decisions before the City Council, taking an approach of understanding the issue that may need to be resolved or what the goal and purpose is to guide the decision while looking at all possible available solutions to solve for before moving forward would be my course of action.
There will always be reactionary work to be done as Fayetteville grows, I understand that fully. I also truly believe the Fayetteville City Council has the opportunity to be proactive in our approach. We can study what has (or has not) worked in communities like ours, and we can … we must … plan for achievements and opportunities that make Fayettville an example across Arkansas and across the country.
In August, the city of Fayetteville purchased the West End apartments to create a solution for ongoing flooding and water encroachment of residents in an area of Fayetteville where long-term residents have affordable housing. This was a great use of bond funds. Using our funds, and budgeting for the future is something that I will work for to ensure our whole community benefits from the work of the Fayetteville City Council Talking with residents across Ward 2, there is a lot of concern about larger water events, such as water coming into homes that historically had not occurred, and future stormwater management. We live in the VA Hill neighborhood of Fayetteville and groundwater movement and large rain events are concerns of my immediate neighbors and our family.
Climate change is real and how we plan spaces and mitigation will be incredibly important as the city grows. While moving individuals out of homes is never ideal, and should be addressed in the near future on adding more housing opportunities that are efficient and prepared for continued climate change, we must value each pocket of Fayetteville and hold ourselves accountable, as a city, so that no area goes unaddressed and we must ensure that everyone in Fayetteville can thrive, everyone.
Mark, what council decisions were you especially proud of or frustrated with during your terms?
I am most proud of Fayetteville voters for passing truly inclusive civil rights legislation. These additional protections recognize we are welcoming of all persons.
The most frustrating City Council action was the Aug. 19, 2020 vote effectively rejecting a federal grant to hire two school resource officers for two years at no cost to the School District or the city. As a change of heart, the council on Aug. 16, 2023 approved a plan to hire more school resource officers paid for by the City. How could this not be frustrating?