Oct. 13—Editor's note: The Journal will be publishing Q&As with the Salina City Commission candidates through Saturday. Three members will be elected to the commission which is comprised completely of at-large seats. Advance voting for the Nov. 2 general election begins Oct. 18.
Salina City Commission candidate Chad Farber decided to step into politics after he saw a need for strong leadership in the community.
Originally from North Carolina and after spending time in Mississippi, Farber has been serving since 2013 as the pastor at Central Baptist Church. He and his wife have since made their home in Salina, with their two children and grandchild living here as well.
In a questionnaire sent to all eight candidates, Farber said the housing crisis in Salina is one of the key issues facing the city.
A licensed Realtor in the city, he said the situation is "teetering on the verge of an emergency."
"While plans are in place to combat this issue, we have procrastinated to the point where housing is unavailable for people who would like to relocate to Salina," Farber said.
Another challenge Farber sees the city and the commission facing in the is the continuing COVID pandemic.
Farber said the city should communicate information and make recommendations on health, but that health decisions should not be made by the commission, with that job instead lying with individuals.
"Ultimately, each individual is responsible for their own health and should have the freedom to decide what course of action is best for them and their family," Farber said. "The government should not be mandating health decisions upon the citizens."
Another issue Farber supports is allowing citizens to have a voice in how they are governed.
This is reflective on the is the proposed ordinance that is also on the ballot Nov. 2.
Farber, who supports the ordinance and signed the petition to place it on the ballot, said it is an attempt to prevent the commission from imposing its own views on citizens and businesses instead of following the framework of the Kansas Emergency Management Act, an issue he saw throughout 2020.
"This is what happens when governing bodies overstep their bounds — the people take proper avenues (as outlined by the Kansas Constitution) to rein in that governing body," Farber said. "Let the voice of the people be heard on Nov. 2nd."
Full responses to the questionnaire are included here:
Farber: Politics has never been a goal of mine; however, the current direction of politics in general is quite disappointing. After discussion with my family and seeing the need for strong leadership in our community, I decided to pursue a position on the Salina City Commission.
My goal is to interject traditional, Biblical values into the decisions that this body will encounter as we lead Salina forward.
Farber: 1) Individual freedoms are being threatened in a progressive style of "big government." Governing bodies at the local, state and federal level are designed to be a reflection of the constituents within a district. Too much emphasis is placed on government funding and provision which leads to government-dependency by the citizenship.
2) As a Realtor in Salina, I recognize that we are currently in a housing crisis. While plans are in place to combat this issue, we have procrastinated to the point where housing is unavailable for people who would like to relocate to Salina. Due to a shortage of housing, home prices have skyrocketed over the past two years which causes homeownership to be cost-prohibitive for some.
3) This is more of a philosophical issue — there is an incredible amount of division in Salina. From religion to race to law enforcement relations to COVID mandates to neighborhood disputes we have allowed our community to be fractured into different groups instead of allowing our differences to make us a unique and diverse city. All of us need to apply some Biblical advice and, "treat others the way that you would like to be treated."
Farber: The housing situation in Salina is currently teetering on the verge of an emergency. Plans are in place to begin a couple of new developments around town. We are in need of single-family and multi-family dwellings, and we need these immediately. Affordable housing is difficult to find due to costs being inflated by the low inventory of available units in and around Salina. The City Commission needs to recognize the urgent need and incentivize developers and builders to move forward quickly with new projects. With better housing options come better employment options. As new employers and businesses have the opportunity to relocate to Salina, the job market will become more competitive and more lucrative.
Farber: The proposed ordinance is the result of a petition that was signed by over 2,000 Salina citizens. This ordinance would limit the City Commission's ability to impose restrictions on businesses and individual citizens in relation to a state of emergency declared at the county or state level. These decisions would be made by Saline County who are bound to operate under the framework of the Kansas Emergency Management Act (KEMA) which clearly shows the intent of counties, not cities, to respond to emergencies and sets certain limitations and rules when dealing with these emergency situations. In 2020 the City Commission side-stepped KEMA, and claimed "Home Rule" authority under the Kansas Constitution, in order to impose their own views on Salina citizens and businesses. This proposed ordinance is simply an attempt to prevent this behavior in the future.
I signed the petition and support this ordinance. This is what happens when governing bodies overstep their bounds — the people take proper avenues (as outlined by the Kansas Constitution) to rein in that governing body. Let the voice of the people be heard on Nov. 2nd.
Farber: Dealing with this virus has been difficult and confusing for all of us. I truly believe the city wants what is best for Salina. The best option for the city is to communicate information and make health recommendations to the community.
Unfortunately, the restrictions and mandates enacted by the city in response to COVID have brought incredible division to our community. Ultimately, each individual is responsible for their own health and should have the freedom to decide what course of action is best for them and their family. The government should not be mandating health decisions upon the citizens.
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