At-large candidate Mikael Sandstrom shares his thoughts on the key issues ahead of the March 14 election.
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Name: Mikael Sandstrom
Profession/experience: Economic Sustainability Foundation (2002-2007); Libertarian National Party (2008); Stockholm University (2012); FreedomWorks (2013); Sweden Trade Inc. (currently)
In a crowded field, what makes you the most qualified candidate for this position?
A city commissioner’s responsibility begins with leadership, which includes listening to experts and the community’s voice. My background with political science will bring a fresh perspective to City Hall. I have always prided myself on the ability to reason with all different types of ideologies. We live in a community, and everyone’s voices should be heard instead of a few.
If elected, what would be your top three priorities during your term on the commission?
- Green initiatives, such as solar implementation and park beautification.
- Pedestrian safety, including traffic management.
- Preservation of local small businesses.
How would you serve as a good financial steward of the city’s budget?
I am the only candidate who consistently advocates for the implementation of solar panels throughout Sarasota (traffic lights, street lights, parks, heating for community pools, Bobby Jones golf carts, etc.) so in the long run, the city budget will not be burdened by unnecessary electricity costs and will save money. We need to start somewhere to reduce our impact, even if it is small. I would love to see City Hall’s roof covered in solar panels and the electricity inside pay for itself.
How do you believe the commission should strike a balance between maintaining an economically vibrant city and addressing concerns related to growth?
Aesthetically speaking, development should be offset by green initiatives such as green rooftops since it helps reduce storm runoff; however, the city’s growth will eventually lead to further gridlocked traffic. Smart signals have the ability to detect patterns in traffic and change lights accordingly, so these changes need to be made immediately. Traffic is the catalyst for whether the city’s growth will be sustainable or not. If growth isn’t matched with smart solutions then we will see stagnant traffic all year long.
Do you believe the city should restrict the use of administrative review for development proposals?
Would you consider raising the general fund millage rate from its current level?
Do you support the creation of a paid parking system in the city?
Do you support the role of Sarasota Bayfront 20:20 and the Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization as the primary planning group for the redevelopment of the bayfront?
Do you support the use of downtown as a venue for large-scale, multi-day events?
Do you support the creation of a parks & recreation taxing district?
Do you think the city is growing too fast?