Lincoln City Council candidate profile: Peter Katt

Peter Katt
Peter Katt(Peter Katt)
Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 3:26 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 20, 2023 at 4:02 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Four candidates are vying for the Lincoln City Council District 2 seat after member Richard McGinnis, the lone republican on the council, declined to run for a second four-year term.

Republicans Peter Katt and Tom Duden will appear on the April 4 primary ballot alongside Bailey Feit and Thien Chu, both Democrats.

District 2 encompasses areas of southeast and far south Lincoln.

Two candidates will advance to the May 2 general election.

10/11 NOW sent a questionnaire to all candidates and we did not edit responses. Read Peter Katt’s below and view other candidate profiles here.

Occupation: Formerly a land-use development attorney, currently a Developer

Public Service History: Lincoln Public School Board 1999-2001, President of Interfaith Housing Coalition, Counsel for Indian Center and Wyuka Cemetery and Junior Achievement Volunteer

Briefly explain why you’re running for Lincoln City Council. The Lincoln City Council has shown us time and time again that their priorities are misplaced. Addressing climate change should not be Lincoln’s top priority. Instead, we need to dramatically increase our support for public safety and work to change the attitude and culture of City Hall so that it helps our citizens – not hinders our city’s progress. Housing growth and development also must receive a greater emphasis and focus in City Hall.

As a city council member, you’ll be tasked with approving a city budget. Explain any experience you have handling budgets. What are your priorities when it comes to budget negotiations and how do you achieve them? My years of service on the LPS School Board has provided me with invaluable experience when it comes to handling public budgets. As to the City budget, I have spent long hours over many years with the Lincoln Independent Business Association understanding the City budget while also working as a citizen to influence the City’s spending priorities and ensure our tax dollars are being put to work for us. Spending should follow the community’s priorities and the taxpayers should have a meaningful opportunity to determine how their money is spent.

What can be done by the city council to improve housing affordability? As a land developer and experienced real estate attorney, I am uniquely situated to help City Hall expand access to affordable housing. We can do this by:

(a) Dramatically increasing the supply of land that can be developed for housing

(b) Shortening the length of waiting time for public approvals

(c) Reducing the regulatory burdens on new housing

(d) Restoring public financing for public improvements in housing developments

(e) Investing time and resources in developing a public-private Housing 2.0 strategy

What are your thoughts on using Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for development? TIF is one of the very few tools that a city has available to encourage and support new development. I am a proponent of the use of TIF for projects that benefit the city. There will always be a need to balance the public benefits from the project with the deferral of real estate taxes from the project. Each project needs to be evaluated on its own merits.

How should Lincoln work to attract new business and support and increase the number of small businesses? First, change the attitude and culture in City Hall from “no” to “how can I help” you start or grow in Lincoln. Second, replace the Chief Sustainability Officer with a Small Business Advocate in City Hall to ensure all business owners have the resources they need to prosper in Lincoln.

When should Lincoln’s COVID-19 health emergency expire? Lincoln’s COVID-19 health emergency should be long over. Thanks to many scientific breakthroughs that have helped prevent and treat COVID-19, there has been no health emergency for quite some time.

Would you support an LGBTQ fairness ordinance ballot initiative? I support the effort that any group puts into a ballot initiative because it is a sign of the democratic process at work and serves as a check on the overreach of government. My support of any specific ballot initiative on LGBTQ fairness or other issues would of course first depend on what the initiative seeks to achieve.

A handful of Nebraska municipalities have outlawed abortion by local ordinance. Would you support a such a move in Lincoln? No. I do not believe abortion laws should be decided at the city level.

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