Lincoln City Council Primary Candidate: Aurang Zeb
Twelve candidates, including three incumbents, are running for the three Lincoln City Council at-large seats. Voters will cast a ballot for three candidates in the April 6 primary election and six candidates will advance to the General Election on May 4. 10/11 NOW sent a questionnaire to all candidates and we did not edit responses. View other candidate profiles here.
- Name: Aurang Zeb
- Occupation: Small business owner
Why are you running for a seat on the city council?
Lincoln is a great place to live for so many people, but we still face many challenges. I want to be a voice for those facing the toughest of those challenges.
What are your key issues in this election and why are they important to address?
Once elected, I will be a champion for affordable housing, local businesses, strong healthcare and adequately funded infrastructure, especially roads.
Higher property tax valuations continue to lead to higher property tax payments in the city of Lincoln. Does this concern you? Why or why not?
I think the city needs to slow down its efforts to aggressively match local market values. Our property taxes are skyrocketing, and it’s becoming difficult for new homeowners and renters to get a foothold in our community. In the long term, that will lead to fewer residents and less property taxes being paid.
Do you support a recent effort by the Lincoln City Council to keep an emergency declaration in place for Lincoln during the COVID-19 pandemic?
I support keeping the emergency declaration in place until at least 90 percent of our community is either vaccinated or recovering from COVID-19. I think it’s important to everything we can to protect the most vulnerable in our community from this terrible disease.
Would you do anything differently in terms of the city’s response to the pandemic?
I think the city should have held remote-only classes for the fall 2020 semester. I believe opening the schools last August contributed to the high rates of infection we saw in Lincoln, and much of this could have been prevented by having students remain at home.
Did you support a recent effort to recall Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird and four city council members?
I do not support the recall as I have believe our Democratic leaders were simply trying to protect our citizens by implement public health protection measures, including the mask ordinance and the restrictions on bars and restaurants.
Does Lincoln have an affordable housing shortage? If so, what do you think should be done to fix it.
Lincoln does have a housing shortage, and to address this, we need to revise city zoning and building ordinances to allow homeowners to construct “small houses” and to develop existing lots to accommodate multiple small houses on the same lot. This would give future homeowners and renters a much more affordable housing option in our city.
The most recent budget in Lincoln came with $12 million gap filled by fee increases in 15 different areas, as well as department budget cuts. Do you support the effort made by the council? Would you have proposed other changes?
For the most part, I agree with the city council’s efforts to fill the $12 million gap through fee increases and 1 percent department budget cuts, and I am thankful the council was able to achieve these savings without shutting down city library services and city park maintenance. I am disappointed that city taxpayers must shoulder the burden of this budget gap by being forced to pay more for landfill fees, electric service and parks fees, and if elected, I will work hard to ensure the city set aside more in its rainy day fund to be able to cover future budget shortfalls.
If re-elected as council, how will you apply your experience to address future budget negotiations?
As a successful small business owner, I have to balance my budget and when my expenses exceed my revenue I have to cut my expenses. The city must live by that same practice, even if it means cutting programs or capital improvements that some might deem important. If elected, I will work to ensure the city lives by the same exigencies that our business community must abide by, and I will be willing to make tough choices about what programs we can and cannot support as a community.
Is there anything else you’d like to include?
As an immigrant myself, I work closely with minority populations, including Muslims like myself, and I want to give them a voice in local politics and political discussions.
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