Allen Hacker

Allen Hacker
Candidate for: Sandpoint Mayor

Age: 62
Years of residence in Sandpoint and Bonner County: 2
Marital status/family: Divorced, adult children and grandchildren.
Contact information:
    E-mail: [email protected]
    Home: 208-597-2816

: Graduate-level, independent study.

Recent or pertinent employment history: Semi-retired, Management consultant, Executive coach, Personal counselor.

Public offices held
: Currently Bonner County Republican Party Central Committee, Humbird Precinct Committeeman, and Legislative District 1 Parliamentarian.

Nonprofit groups or service organizations to which you belong: Vietnam Veterans of America, Sandpoint Chapter 890.

What particular experiences or skills qualify you for office?
As a 30-year counselor, I've spent countless hours listening to people's pain and aspirations, and helping them deal with the one while pursuing the other. As a successful businessman in two industries, home building and casino management, I have solid understandings of structural and financial management. In more than 20 years as a management consultant to every industry and all sizes of businesses, I have absorbed an encyclopedia of experience and wisdom not available any other way. And in my own personal and professional development work I have always scored high and performed well. I am very creative at pulling things together into solutions. See my website for additional details.

1. Among the myriad issues facing the city at present, what do you consider the single most important issue, and why? Please also describe any other issues you feel are important.
The economy and Sandpoint's economic sustainability. With the dollar falling, jobs fading and tourism softening, we could reach a critical situation over the next couple of years. The city needs to rethink its financing options. There's too much front-loading of expenses onto new businesses, remodeling and general construction projects. Maybe this has come to be because of a softening tax base, but taking operating capital out of the economy can only further weaken the tax base.

2. The city is on the cusp of major change with the Sand Creek bypass nearing completion and likely to be open for traffic ahead of schedule. Concurrently, city officials have been working with the Idaho Transportation Department to facilitate a realignment of Highways 2/200 from Pine to Cedar along the route of the old railroad line, the so-called “Curve.” Following workshops and public hearings, in September the Council approved a couplet concept for the realignment, and ITD is now undertaking final design. Do you favor or oppose the Curve project and design, and why? What issues do you see arising for the city from the construction and completion of these two major changes to local transportation infrastructure?
If the economy slips any more, there will be no money for the Curve. I'm looking at less ambitious solutions that will do the job even if they aren't as cosmetic.

3. The city's Impact Fee Advisory Committee recently reviewed the city's impact fee structure for recommendations to the city council. Impact fees are levied on new development to help offset costs the development imposes on public infrastructure and services. Do you feel that the city's current fee structure is equitable or would you advocate changes, and why?
I have serious reservations.

4. Following two public hearings, on a 4-2 vote the City Council recently approved purchase of the first of two parcels of lakefront property at $400,000 each, in cooperation with the City of Ponderay and a nonprofit group to acquire nearly a mile of waterfront and create the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail over a four-year period. Do you favor or oppose the trail acquisition, and why?
I love the idea. But I have serious concerns as to the propriety of the deal.

5. The city in 2009 adopted major changes to its comprehensive plan. The city’s planning staff and commission has since been reworking zoning regulations to carry out the comprehensive plan, including newly proposed changes for residential zoning. Are you satisfied with the new comprehensive plan and zoning regulations? Describe your own posture toward managing growth in Sandpoint.
If the past is an indicator of where this leads, a lot of people are going to become increasingly unhappy. Too much planning, too deep an involvement with the details, too much skimming of investment capital, will all undermine the creativity and diversity of the individual contributor, to the detriment of society. We need to have good reasons for everything we do, and be sure at every step that "nice ideas" aren't going to have serious unintended consequences.

6. The mayor and city staff have been participating with Sandpoint Urban Renewal Agency and Downtown Sandpoint Business Association in an economic revitalization effort called Sandpoint Forward. How would you describe the economy of Sandpoint today? What role do you see for the City Council/Mayor to play in creating a healthy local economy?
Sandpoint's economy is weak and must be delinked from the Fed. Sandpoint is full of and continues to attract very creative and inventive people. The Mayor should listen carefully and keep the City and overzealous do-gooders from interfering in the natural order of things. The free market is the only rational arbiter of the ultimate good -- of course, no one alive has actually seen a free market economy, but the lessons of history are clear.

7. The City Council in September approved an ordinance banning hands-on cell phone use while driving. Do you favor or oppose the ordinance?
I favor the idea. I don't want people driving with their eyes effectively closed.

8. Segways: The city police tested them this summer for use in downtown parking enforcement. What do you think of Segways for use by city police?
Downtown is a tiny area in the scheme of things, and I frankly don't see the sense of it, not to mention the cost.

9. Describe any other issues you believe are important; why you consider them important; and your position on these issues.
We need to take care that we don't get bankrupted by Federal Follies. We need to find our greater identity as the namesake of a potentially standalone geographic region, and be prepared to coordinate and focus on survival issues while continuing to look for the positive future Americans have always managed to carve out of adversity.

10. How many city council meetings or city committee meetings have you attended in the past year? Why are you running for public office?
One. The schedule conflicts with mine, such as it is. Because a lot of people asked me to run, and once I had considered it and the nature of the times, I agreed that I have the talents, skills, experience, and vision to meet the moment.