Chandler council candidate: Farhana Shifa - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Chandler council candidate: Farhana Shifa

May 27th, 2022 SanTan Sun News

FARHANA SHIFA

Age:  46

Years In Chandler:  16

Immediate family: Husband, Mother and two daughters

Education:  Masters in Mass Communication, Bachelors in Education, and Bachelors in Fine Arts. Project Management Certificate

Job: Owner, The Joy of Fine Arts; interpreter, adjunct faculty, consultant.

Farhana Shifa

Why are you running for Council?

I love living in Chandler, it’s been a wonderful place to raise my family. It’s time for me to give back, be your voice, and represent Chandler with a servant’s heart.

Prior to your decision to run for Council, how have you been involved in the community and/or in town government-related activities?

I have served many local organizations, including:

  • Chandler Arts Commissioner for six years
  • Lions Club International – Vice District Governor
  • International Mother Language Day Celebration – Community Liaison
  • Chandler Asian Moon Festival – Organizing Committee
  • Emancipation Proclamation Observance Day – Organizing Committee

I have deep ties to the local Asian and diverse communities and have served as their advisor, political liaison, and friend.

What attributes do you bring to the table that would serve the city well, particularly if economic headwinds such as inflation confront America in the next few years?

I have been directing, advising, and organizing projects, community services, festivals, conferences, and events. Using my project management skills, I will monitor and forecast issues regarding revenue constraints and expenditures. To deal with inflation, we should take steps to stop unnecessary spending, recalculate the budget, maintain savings to guard against the unexpected. Public / private partnerships can attract investors and keep Chandler’s citizens employed.

Name three of your top concerns in Chandler for the next four years and tell how you would address them?

Maintaining a strong community:

  • School choice – parental freedom
  • Compassion for those in need -affordable housing and homelessness
  • Maintain Chandler’s family friendly environment – parks, recreation, and safety

Fiscal responsibility and economic growth:

  • Preserve Chandler’s low tax rates
  • Use tax dollars wisely and make the most of one-time revenue sources
  • Ensure Chandler operates efficiently – implement a line-item budget review
  • Encourage small business startups in Chandler through our incubator and Business Development Council
  • Continue to foster growth of Chandler’s tech companies
  • Encourage tech companies / large businesses to relocate to Chandler

Public Safety:

  • Retain Chandler’s record as one of the safest cities in the US through community policing, School Resource Officers, city-school partnerships
  • Support police and fire departments – review quality of life issues, maintain competitive compensation, conduct active recruitment efforts
  • Maintain safe roads – review traffic patterns, encourage mini-transit uses and technology-based traffic management.

Name something you would change in city government that would improve it.

Based on the feedback from the citizens of chandler, I would increase citizen participation in our city government. This has already begun through dedicated staff, commissions, committees, sub-committees and focus groups. Although the framework is already in place, outreach to the citizens could be improved.

How can the city facilitate the development of affordable workforce housing?

Chandler has high employment and population growth which has created a demand for affordable housing. We have a low inventory of housing caused by inflation, supply chain issues, etc. In addition, Chandler is nearly built out and we have a 2300 household gap with only 3% of city land available. The city is working with state, federal and private partners to resolve this critical issue. The city should:

  • continue repositioning public housing to increase the availability of units. Multi- use housing units developments can help business amenities and residents.
  • encourage private sector solutions for affordable housing.
  • update codes and area plans to reflect need for more housing options.
  • support and collaborate with state and federal efforts for affordable housing.

What issue has been handled poorly by the current City Council and what would you do differently?

Overall, the city council has done a fine job and works together in a nonpartisan manner. I hope to see a continuation of this spirit of camaraderie and cooperation. Such a culture is critical to making the right decisions to benefit our community.

Should Chandler pass an anti-discrimination ordinance with penalties for violating its provisions? Why or why not?

Chandler is a diverse community. There is diversity among the candidates running for and those currently serving on our city council. Our downtown businesses are very diverse. One of Chandler’s biggest employers, Intel, hires qualified workers from many diverse backgrounds. We do not need an ordinance because Chandler leads in the inclusion of all Americans.

 What you support a bond issue to make the runways at Chandler Airport longer? Why or why not?

I will support the bond issue because the runway extension will allow our airport to compete with the other airports in the county. This directly translates to more jobs, which helps maintain the quality of life we have in Chandler. In addition, longer runways will provide the logistical and supply chain advantages companies look for when relocating.

What achievement/activity that benefitted your neighborhood or the city are you proudest of?

Successfully advocated to the city council for the Veteran’s Commission. As the wife of a veteran, I understand the importance of having this commission to support our community of veterans.

Supported local artists through my work on the Arts Commission. Among our projects were wraps to beautify utility boxes, some commission works for the Police and Fire departments, our Chandler Museum, installation at the downtown covered parking, bus stops and neighborhood mural projects.

Served on the organizing community for the Asian Moon Festival. Created and conducted the opening program for the festival.

Promoted Int. Mother Language Day celebration and Int. Book collection initiative in our City Library.

Through the Lions clubs we have been providing helps to the community, such as Market on the move, read between lions, vision screening and many more.

Shifa: I’m committed to public safety needs

By FARHANA SHIFA
Guest Speaker

Chandler citizens often share with me the importance of public and school safety. And many residents are attracted to our city because it is among the safest cities in the country (by wallethub.com).

Unfortunately; some neighborhoods are experiencing an increase in property crimes; e.g., catalytic converter theft. This, combined with Chandler’s population growth, means the city must hire additional police officers and retain current officers on the force.

The Chandler City Council recently adopted a tentative budget which includes $90 million for the Chandler Police Department, an increase of $3.5 million over our current budget. In addition, Chandler has increased the hiring incentives paid to law enforcement applicants to keep Chandler competitive with other valley cities. These are steps in the right direction.

Our Chandler police officers deserve our appreciation and I have been gratified to learn from on-duty officers that our community is generally grateful and supportive. Let’s build on this by offering rewards to officers and their families. For example, through a private-public partnership, we can establish a program to award officers with vacation packages – at almost no cost to the city.

Additionally, we must also do everything in our power to keep our children and our schools safe. Retaining and increasing the number of School Resource Officers (SROs) in Chandler’s schools is important to any school safety plan. Our City Council can help accomplish this by working with local school boards and administrators.

As I travel around Chandler, I enjoy meeting our police officers, learning about their profession, and listening to their concerns. I am committed to addressing their needs when I am elected to the city council and I will work diligently to implement the plans I’ve outlined here. Thank you for your support of our Chandler Police Department.

Shifa: I will seek more city-private partnerships

By Farhana Shifa
Arizonan Guest Writer

Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) are agreements between government and private sector partners. The PPP decision-making process requires input from all stakeholders (individuals and businesses) and results in improved solutions.

These outcomes are consistently more creative and cost-effective than traditional government “top down” decisions. The end result of PPPs are taxpayer savings, better services / infrastructure, and less government overreach.

In 1998, the City of Chandler partnered with the Chandler Unified School District to create a full-service branch of the Chandler Public Library at Hamilton High School. The Hamilton Library is shared-use facility that serves both the community as well as Hamilton High School students. The city and the school district successfully met a shared need with a single facility with both realizing a significant and ongoing cost savings.

In March 2021, the Chandler City Council partnered with Maricopa Ambulance to assist the Chandler Fire Department in providing Emergency Medical Services to the Chandler community. Since January 2022, a private sector ambulance along with an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and Chandler firefighter paramedic is dispatched to 911 medical emergencies.

Each ambulance is equipped with advanced medical equipment to support the patient. In addition, each ambulance carries equipment to enable the firefighter paramedic to respond to any emergency; e.g., extrication equipment.

This is another example of the private sector partnering with Chandler to provide improved and innovative services to our community.

As Chandler moves forward and meets its future challenges, we must continue to search for additional opportunities to make use of PPPs. I look forward to working with Chandler’s citizens and businesses to find workable and cost-effective solutions. And I will emphasize the importance of including our community and private sector in making decisions that directly affect them.

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