Stewart “ManyLightnings” Eastman Candidate Bio


 

Why do you want to be an Alderman in Abita Springs?

I want a better platform to fight for my ideas and proposals; and, I want to insure that any other items that come before the Aldermen are thoroughly discussed, researched, and debated before action is taken.

 

What three accomplishments in your personal, political, or professional career are you most proud of?

My professional accomplishments were too technical to describe in detail but they involved getting large computer systems to run right, run better, and to provide new services for the sailors in our Navy. Of my personal accomplishments these are relevant to this campaign: Marching in 21 consecutive Krewe du Vieux parades as well as six Push Mow parades shows that I will support and encourage our wonderful Push Mow Parade. The 17 medals I have won here in the Senior Olympics in bicycling shows that I will remain dedicated to supporting bicycling as a vital part of Abita’s culture and attractiveness. My state championship and other awards in Beard and Moustache competitions shows that I will support Abita’s uniqueness and that of its citizens in expressing themselves in positive and entertaining fashion.

 

What is your vision for Abita Springs at the end of your four-year term? What will you do to improve and enhance the quality of life for Abita Springs’ residents, businesses, and visitors?

The quality of life can’t be enhanced unless we put a stop to the damage being done to the town by failure to protect its trees, and by overdevelopment by PUD’s, and by other excessive growth. On the positive side, the town should work to encourage empty commercial buildings to be brought back into use and also to encourage the upgrading of those businesses that have fallen behind.

 

List several projects in which you have had significant impact and how you affected the outcome.

Bicycle Fixit Station: I convinced two civic groups to sponsor it and the town to install it and the Trace to permit it and arranged for the purchase and delivery from a bicycle advocacy group.

Bicycle Friendly City: I am working on getting Abita Springs named officially a bicycle friendly city. This is ongoing but I have convinced the Mayor to issue proclamations, advised the Mayor on the subject of Bike Sharing projects, taken part in and encouraged bicycle races, pushed for more bicycle infrastructure, and consistently taken part in and advertised the Bike Fest. Push Mow Parade: I created and led a new sub-krewe which has added to the parade for six years.

 

Please rank your top three priorities for this new term and outline your plan for implementing these priorities.

Protect our trees: Trees that should not be cut down are being cut down, and trees are being killed by bad construction practices. Meanwhile, nuisance and invasive species of trees are being allowed to flourish. We need someone in charge of protecting and improving Abita’s trees, and that should be done by appointing and supporting a qualified arborist to the currently vacant position of Town Urban Forester.

 

No more PUD’s! The Aldermen should repeal the PUD ordinance.

 

Keep Abita Unique: In addition to “leading by example”, I would like to see the Cultural District strengthened by the Town proactively recruiting unique businesses and encouraging those current businesses that do not contribute to the town’s cultural identity to upgrade themselves.

 

What changes, if any, do you support regarding new rules, procedures, or ordinances and why?

When an ordinance or other new item is given a public hearing, whether at the Town Council or the Planning and Zoning Commission, it should not be voted upon later in the same meeting. The public has only just been told about the item and given a chance to comment and ask questions, but there is no time to think about it, talk with friends, or fully respond. Similarly, the aldermen or commissioners have no time to think about it or do research. Anything requiring a vote should have that vote at a following meeting.

 

Other than raising property millage rates, what plans, if any, do you have to increase town revenues in ways that are consistent with economic growth and a healthy, prosperous, livable, and safe community?

The town should encourage types of businesses that pay taxes to the town such as restaurants and stores and discourage types of businesses that do not such as wholesalers or untaxed services.

 

What changes, if any, will you recommend to the Mayor and other Aldermen that may reduce expenses while maintaining or enhancing the quality of life in Abita Springs?

None! For four years and more the town has been run by officials all chanting the mantra of cutting expenses in unison, while the actual cost of everything from employees to parts and materials has gone up. The result is a steady decline in services and maintenance of the town, from its water pipes and roads to its lighting and parks. We need to face reality and spend what it takes to properly maintain and enhance our town.

 

Do you have any recommendations for changes or modifications to current zoning and planning laws and decisions that will ensure that as the town grows our cultural and historical significance will not be compromised?

The PUD ordinance should be repealed. The subdivision ordinance should be studied and improved to prevent large subdivisions and to ensure the developer fully pays all the costs, both short term and long term, and builds any required improvements first not last.

The Historic District rules should be improved and clarified and presented on-line more coherently; but, that should not be done by paying outside consultants thousands of dollars. There is plenty of local talent to do this.

The Town should be more proactive in improving and upgrading the cultural district, especially by encouraging those businesses which have not been contributing to begin to take part.

 

What are your thoughts and plans in the Development of a Master Plan?

A master plan should be developed by and for citizens of Abita Springs and on no account should be drawn up by outside consultants.

 

What environmental issues do you consider important to Abita Springs?

Protecting our trees.

Reducing runoff into our storm drainage system.

Reducing plastic waste and litter

Achieving 100% sustainable energy as soon as practical

 

What else would you like to share with voters to help them make their decision?

Maintenance should not be paid for by borrowing or bonds. Bonds should be for capital improvements only.

Obsolete laws should not be left on the books. They should either be updated or repealed.

We should increase use of the park and its safety by opening it at night. This should be in conjunction with adding a deputy Town Marshal for part-time hours weekend evenings.