Authentic leadership with a heart for service

The most effective elected officials are also proven, effective community leaders. Doreen Garlid takes a pragmatic approach to leadership that operates from a place of shared values and common goals. Here are Doreen’s current thoughts on some of Tempe’s most pressing issues:

Giving neighborhoods a voice:

As the current Chair of Tempe’s Neighborhood Advisory Commission, I’m on the front lines of the successes and challenges we face in Tempe’s neighborhoods every day. Each neighborhood is so unique and diverse. From the historic districts like Maple Ash or University Park to the low-density agricultural areas like Buena Vista Ranchos or Tally Ho Farms, each neighborhood reflects its residents in a way that is unique to that part of Tempe. I believe our greatest potential lies in empowering the people in Tempe’s neighborhoods to speak up for their community and holding our city leaders accountable to really listen and act on those recommendations. I also believe we should honor our residents’ wishes and stay true to our neighborhood Character Areas.

Advocating for more affordable housing:

We don’t have enough affordable housing available in Tempe to meet current and future demand. This is a sign of a city that’s out of balance. Ideally, a city should have housing available for residents of all income levels so our service industry workers, teachers, public safety workers and the like aren’t forced to commute in from other more affordable cities. I am currently working with organizations like Newtown Community Development Land Trust and others to find unique, innovative and cost-effective ways to provide more affordable and workforce housing in our landlocked city. Additionally, to meet current and future demands we need to pursue higher density in areas where it makes sense. I also support efforts and incentives to allow homeowners in low density neighborhoods to build supplemental dwelling units to add to our affordable housing stock.

Public safety:

Tempe ranks 45th among the safest cities in the U.S. in the 2019 WalletHub rankings, behind Gilbert, Chandler, Scottsdale, Peoria and Mesa. I believe we can do better. If elected to council, I will make public safety a priority. Helping residents understand how they can be more safe in our community is only part of the issue; we also need to understand what we can do to help our residents feel more safe. I believe we need to do whatever we can to help Tempe residents feel safe in their homes and neighborhoods. This includes supporting our public safety personnel with better recruitment, retention, training and professional development. We should also add public safety personnel commensurate with our population increases and work to restore the funding cuts to our public safety budget that occurred during the last recession.    

Serving people before politics:

I have a heart for service and helping those in need. Over the past 30 years I’ve led dozens of grassroots efforts in Tempe, everything from chairing the East Valley National Charity League to leading the Parent Teacher Organizations at my children’s schools. I’ve developed the necessary leadership skills to bring diverse people together around a common cause, organize our efforts and create positive change. I care deeply about the people of Tempe, regardless of their background or political party and I am not a career politician with higher political aspirations. As your councilmember, my only job and number one priority would be serving the people of Tempe. I am a listener, an organizer and a doer. I want to elevate a culture of service in Tempe, something that I believe transcends politics. This reflects one of my most deeply-held core values: caring about people and supporting them to achieve their best possible quality of life.

Balanced budgets and fiscal responsibility:

Every budget I have ever managed has remained in the black, whether it’s at my workplace, a nonprofit organization, or my family budget. If elected, I promise you I will work to ensure our city operates within a balanced budget. I believe we must make fiscal responsibility and good stewardship of our taxpayers’ money a priority.

Historic Preservation:

As a Native American, historic preservation is deeply rooted in my family culture. I’m passionate about preserving historic places, but I believe it’s about more than that. Historic preservation is about the people and stories that tell us who we are and where we came from. As Tempe continues to change and adapt to our residents’ needs in the coming decades, we need to protect and prioritize our city’s history to preserve our sense of place and character for future generations. I would like to explore the expansion of our city’s adaptive reuse program, including the addition of an expedited approval process for adaptive reuse projects and expanding our special zoning and code requirements for older and historic buildings. I believe that historic preservation can also serve as a means of creating new housing supply by providing incentives for reusing and repurposing the spaces we already have.

Climate change and the environment:

I believe governments have a responsibility to act on climate change. Tempe is headed in a positive direction with our current and future sustainability measures, but there is always more we can do. My highest concern is ensuring access to a clean and safe water supply in the future as our rivers, lakes and streams become overdrawn, coupled with ongoing drought and rising temperatures in our desert climate. Tempe can have an impact by helping homeowners reduce their water usage through programs like WaterSmart, which I fully support and encourage in my own neighborhood. I also support Tempe’s urban forestry plan to help curb heat, provide shade and encourage residents to use alternative transportation such as walking and biking, even when it’s hot outside.

Growth & development:

Growth and development is necessary to keep our city thriving and relevant and how we approach development is important to our city’s economic future and our residents’ quality of life. I believe that we need to be smart about growth and development so that we don’t lose the character of our city, worsen traffic, lengthen commute times and create more parking problems. I want to find innovative ways to improve quality of life in our city through smart growth and development, and through open and ongoing dialogue between the city, ASU, residents and developers while keeping true to our city’s Character Areas and our residents’ wishes. As we grow our landlocked city, I believe we need better planning and coordination to avoid too much construction and traffic delays at once in any given neighborhood. I also want to expand our adaptive reuse program so we can creatively repurpose some of the great infrastructure we already have.

Honoring and supporting our city’s veterans:

I have a very special place in my heart for veterans and military families. I grew up in a military family with my father serving in the U.S. Navy for 20 years, my brother serving in the U.S. Army for 23 years, my great uncle serving as a Navajo Code Talker in the U.S. Marines, and my nephew set to be commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army in 2021.  Thanks to the visionary leaders before us, Tempe has made veterans’ services a priority and I want to continue that commitment by supporting the many ways we honor and care for those who’ve served our country. I want to join forces with other veterans’ advocates on our council and maintain a strong network of support services for our veterans and their families.

A diverse and welcoming city for all:

Tempe is known for leading the way in promoting and celebrating diversity. I am a pro-equality candidate and I firmly believe that Tempe must be a welcoming place for people of all races, ethnic backgrounds, abilities, religions, genders and sexual orientations, and I support our city’s nondiscrimination ordinance and ongoing equality efforts. It is simply the right thing to do and Tempe should continue to lead the way and set the example. As a member of the Navajo Nation, I would bring a new and important voice to the council and work to forge partnerships and alliances with tribal communities. I am deeply honored to be a recipient of the 2020 City of Tempe MLK Diversity Award for my lifelong commitment to elevating Navajo culture and history.

Check back soon for more on Doreen’s vision for 2020!