Courtesy photo James Brooks is running for the District 1 County Commission seat.
published: Sunday, July 22, 2012
Brooks says common sense soulutions needed
By CHRISTOPHER TUFFLEY
AVON PARK -- James Brooks is running for the District 1 seat on the county commission. He is a Highlands County native.
He said his career has prepared him for the position of commissioner. He has taught fifth grade and night classes at what was then South Florida Community College. He spent seven years as an environmental specialist with the county Health Department and served as director of Emergency Medical Service.
In 1985, he developed Reflections of Silver Lake, a mobile home and RV community for Saxon Groves, a private business owned and operated by his wife Toni's family.
He has managed it since 1986.
"I went from being a regulator working with tax money, to being regulated in the private sector," he said. "I just feel I know both sides of the operations. You learn a lot through experience."
Having been on the county's Planning & Zoning Commission since 1988, and part of the group that wrote the county's first comprehensive plan, Brooks is up to date with land use issues.
Brooks thinks the main problem facing the county is "how to provide essential services in a period of decreasing revenue."
His approach will to be to do his homework and listen to the taxpayer, he said. "There has to be an open response between individuals and the commission." He stressed using common sense solutions.
Brooks feels strongly that the county needs to work with private industry and business to create an atmosphere that encourages growth and creates jobs.
"My philosophy is based on what's called the Yellow Page policy. That is, if (the county) is looking to provide a service we go to the Yellow Pages and see if there is a private provider already here. If there is, the government doesn't have to get into it.
"Young people have to have decent job opportunities. At the same time, we need to keep what people like about Highlands County. We don't want to lose that small town feel.
"The reality is that only about 10 percent of the county is developed or slated for development. Our comprehensive plans have an urban growth area that surrounds existing infrastructure and should provide for our needs for the next 20 years or so."
Brooks sees agriculture continuing as an essential economic component in the future. He has faith that the county will grow as a destination site. He said art and culture are as important as recreational opportunities in drawing visitors.
"I am not a proponent of big government," Brooks said. "Government can't be all things to all people. It has a tendency to create more government. Today you could fill a room with state statutes and codes. We're never happy; we always want to add another layer.
"You used to be able to pull a permit in an afternoon, now it can take weeks. Government has to be practical."
While government transparency is important, Brooks feels there is a benefit to be able to meet privately in certain situations.
He does not believe the commission should micro-manage. "The commission sets policy; the administrator operates the county," he said.
Mr Brooks (by: Dot Q - 7/25/2012)
Im not Bill W . My questions were not meant to insult Mr. Brooks. I belive he can respond and I have hope the answers are more important than any disstraction of who is asking.
Call him! (by: Sam Schultz - 7/24/2012)
Seems everyone here (including the one person that pretends to be two people DotQ and Bill W) know where Mr Brooks works. You should know by now that a good voter is one who does his/her homework and sufficient dilligence to their own satisfaction.
yellow pages (by: Ray Napper - 7/24/2012)
the problem was and is Jim that some of those companies in the yellow pages wanted the citizens to bend over,
A Walking Cliche' (by: Watching & Learning - 7/23/2012)
Please vote for Brooks if you like the same ol', same ol. Not seeing anything at all new here, and some of his comments are even a little scary (transparency is good, but apparently not all the time). We are in deep trouble . . .
Sir-Mr Brooks (by: Bill W - 7/23/2012)
Are you for county employees being in a defined benifits pension plan? Do you have any of your employees or have yu ever been in a defined pension plan? Are you for Highlands County EMS and others participating in the e-verify program ? Are any of your current employees e-verified as a condition of there employment to include reflections employees? Would it be possible for a non e-verified employee to suffer abuse at the hands of the employer? Thank you.
Mr Brooks (by: Dot Q - 7/23/2012)
I wish you had been ask some pertaing questions because I am confident of your ability to answer. 1 are you for or against raising taxes, if so which ones and why. 2. Do you knowingly employ illegle alians at Reflectinons or in your groves? Do you or have you collected the T.D. C. tax. ? Have you ever checked any employee via the I 9 ?
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