Recently a Facebook group sent almost every candidate for the Seminole Soil and Water Conservation District a questionnaire. One candidate was left out of the mailer. The claim was that the email address provided didn’t work. I used the same email address and the other candidate received the questionnaire. Oddly enough, the Facebook page/group cancelled the submission.
In any case, here’s how I would have answered.
Soil and Water Conservation District Candidate Questions:
1. In very general terms, in what ways can The Soil and Water Conservation District serve residents in regards to environmental concerns within their community?
Turnout at Soil and Water meetings is lower than awareness. Concern for the environment as never been higher. As an advocacy, outreach, and education service, no action will be effective until attendance increases. We cannot advocate for them without their participation. The first part of my 5 Star plan (available at ShaunKunz.org) is to build an ambassadors network of concerned citizens and volunteer community representatives. This will build awareness of the District and increase its ability to serve, regardless of the issue or mission.
2. What are some examples of common pollutants affect our waterways? How can the soil and Water Conservation District served to notify and inform the public of such pollution concerns?
Storm water runoff... includes oils, etc from roads... pollutants from roof shingles... fertilizer runoff. Homes on lakes often add extra nutrients from fertilizer... septic drain fields are thought to be a source of pollution as well.
3. There are 58 Soil and Water Conservation District boards in the State of Florida alone, however, more often than not, these boards received very little recognition from the very constituents they serve. In what ways as an elected supervisor of the Seminole Soil and Water Conservation District would you use your position to further promote the board and inform the public of the purpose it serves?
As a teacher in a small schools which have provided affordable tuition to families in the area, you learn to create outreach, volunteer opportunities and draw the community to support your own business. Combine that skill with having doorknocked the 7 major cities in the county, spoken to hundreds of citizens, and proposed my 5 Star plan, there are dozens of people waiting to become part of then unified solution. City and County Commissioner Candidates have been receptive to our inclusion in their meetings as well. I’ve been personally promised this.
4. In what ways can the Seminole Soil and Water Conservation District serve other branches of local government? Examples?
I will commit to attending city and county commission meetings at least quarterly with a report and to collect information. We can offer city and community certifications, as I state in my 5 Star Plan, for best practices and volunteerism. The shared resources should be a uniting opportunity, not just a tag line on a poster contest.
5. Soil and Water Conservation District boards are strictly volunteer driven advisory boards. What are the pros and cons, if any, to a board that offers no monetary compensation to its board members?
I’ve consistently stated that environmentalism should remain as voluntary as possible. The mandates have created a wedge in our community. As leader/servants in the community we should also be volunteers . When we share a passion, not a paid obligation, we meet on common ground and come together, not stand apart. That’s county unity.
6. Generally speaking, Soil and Water Conservation District have no legislative power. What roles can Soil and Water Conservation districts play in influencing decision-making in respect to Environmental Policy, zoning, natural resource management, etc.?
I will take the actions we claim to. Recently the Wekiva Island (?) HOA Representative came to the District meeting pleading for help advocating against a parking lot and more. Everyone nodded their heads in agreement. No resolution was passed, no letter was written to any interested parties, no supervisor attended the county commission meeting addressing this concern-which passed-no actions were taken. No wonder no one takes it seriously.
7. Currently, the Seminole Soil and Water Conservation District is an unfunded government entity. Without spending any money, what would be your number one priority for the board other than securing consistent funding?
The Unburdened Citizens section of my 5 Star plan explains that creative income streams are available. It starts with awareness and building a volunteer Soil and Water Ambassadors Network, to build awareness and ability to pass the hat for donations. As a presence at the meetings of interested parties, Sierra Club and Commission meetings, we can build on donations and eventually install donation meters and tax-exempt sales of mulch/compost in partnership with local small homestead and agro-tourism farms.
8. How would you advise local municipalities and county governments to deal with water quality issues that would yield the highest amount of water at the lowest cost for taxpayers?
Look at Altamonte Springs. It recently won an international award for sewage and drinking water process and quality. Period.