Gabel runs for Mayor in Lincoln

Posted October 30, 2018 at 5:00 am

Krystal Gabel for Lincoln Mayor2.tif

Krystal Gabel, 34, is officially on the ballot for Mayor in the April 9, 2019, Lincoln City Primary. Gabel is an Independent candidate in this nonpartisan race.

Lincoln needs fresh, nonpartisan leadership to build a smarter, greener economy that directly benefits the community and Nebraska’s future.

Gabel’s platform as Lincoln’s next Mayor is to:

Legalize cannabis possession

By implementing a full cannabis decriminalization policy within Lincoln City limits, residents will be able to legally possess marijuana and grow plants for personal use (no sales). The City of Lincoln and LPD would no longer pursue low-level marijuana cases (possession and consumption) and actively work to seal all past marijuana convictions en masse.

Gabel’s intent is to save the city thousands in marijuana enforcement costs and apply that money to city expenses that are currently funded by property taxes.

Approach addiction as a community

The City of Lincoln and LPD must adopt a “do no harm” approach that treats drug addiction as a complex disease rather than a criminal offense.

Gabel’s intent is to allow residents of Lincoln seeking treatment for heroin, meth, opioids, or any type of substance abuse to approach any city police officer and ask for help without penalty or arrest. Lincoln must also go beyond state efforts and start a city-level coordination program that assists police officers in linking persons suffering from addiction to resources and services.

Embrace the e-commerce boon

Changing shopping habits and increased online competition has caused nearly a dozen retail stores to close in the city and state this past year. Lincoln has the chance to be the first Nebraska city to embrace the many facets of the e-commerce industry, including distribution and fulfillment centers, to replace thousands of lost jobs and revenue dollars.

Gabel’s intent is to encourage Lincoln’s e-commerce companies to expand and repurpose vacant spaces like the Gateway Mall and shell buildings left behind by big box stores. Online companies require massive fulfillment centers and thousands of employees in order to fill two-day orders. Lincoln’s central location along the I-80 corridor coupled with Nebraska’s need for skilled labor jobs makes us perfect for the task.

Work to become zero waste

Throwing all our garbage into landfills wastes natural resources, potentially causes human health problems, and wrongly transfers liabilities to future generations. Up to 95 percent of the items that we throw away can be recycled, repurposed, or composted.

Gabel’s intent is to start a zero waste program that combines citywide recycling with new economic development to create sustainable and local resource-based jobs. This would include placing street-level recycle, landfill, and compost bins throughout the city and expanding current waste-reduction programs with local recycling and composting companies. Gabel would also make recycling and composting less expensive than landfill trash pickup for all households and retail, service, office, industrial, and corporate businesses.

Support local electricity and electric vehicle use

Nebraska public power is locally generated electricity. In part because ratepayers are also owners of our utilities, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that Nebraskans pay less for electricity than 95 percent of other Americans.

Gabel’s intent is to encourage electric vehicle use in Lincoln by deploying more charging station infrastructure, implementing smart grid technology to handle growing energy demands, and incentivizing residents for adopting EVs. Using local electricity to fuel vehicles in Lincoln, instead of imported petroleum, will reduce fuel costs for drivers and return money to our local utilities.

Start a citywide free bus service

Not charging for the city bus is how the City of Lincoln becomes more accessible and fair to all residents regardless of income. Cities that have implemented free bus services have seen ridership increase from 20 to 60 percent in just a few months. The American Public Transportation Association reports that a typical Midwestern family can save $6,000 a year in transportation costs by living with one fewer vehicle in their household.

Gabel’s intent is use TIFs and community partners to give free bus rides to everyone — students, workers, seniors, and individuals with disabilities — within Lincoln city limits. Increased transit ridership will help buses operate more efficiently and make better use of transit dollars. Most importantly, free rides will stimulate job creation throughout the city, reduce parking and traffic congestion, make us less dependent petroleum, and provide safer, equal access to all Lincoln opportunities.

Rezone for tiny house dwellings

Lincoln must restructure building and zoning rules to allow affordable, tiny houses within city limits. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average person’s salary has not increased in nearly three decades, yet a new family home now averages 2,500 square feet — 61 percent larger and at least 50 percent more expensive than houses built in 1975. Tiny homes are a way Lincoln can offer affordable housing to residents impacted by inflation and the housing crunch.

Gabel’s intent is to adopt simple, uniform codes for tiny houses less than 500 square feet that keep the dwellings affordable, allow tiny houses to be built on private property behind a primary residence, and approve tiny house pocket neighborhoods throughout Lincoln.

Stop pay-to-play city contracts

Lincoln lawmakers should not accept campaign donations from individuals, unions, and companies that have contracts with the city. Pay-to-play contracts reduces competition for local, small business owners as well as costs taxpayers extra money in city projects.

Financial reports from Lincoln’s 2015 mayoral election reveal that two-thirds of Chris Beutler’s campaign donations came from companies that did business or had TIF-related redevelopment agreements with the City of Lincoln for the Pinnacle Arena and West Haymarket redevelopment projects. In 2018, Fair Elections Lincoln, a special interest group headed by Beutler to oppose the mayor term limit ballot initiative, received more than $30,000 from unions who have gained resources since his reelection.

Gabel’s intent is to join the list of cities and 15 states to ban government contractors from donating to political campaigns to deter corruption and avoid pay-to-play controversies that can buy and influence local elections.

Krystal Gabel most recently challenged Pete Ricketts in the May 2018 Republican Primary Gubernatorial race. State law prevents Independent candidates from running effective statewide campaigns, so Gabel ran on the Republican ticket to instead challenge the uncontested incumbent. She garnered 22.6 percent of the Republican vote in Lancaster County.

Gabel is a freelance editor and travel writer who is building a small urban farm business. Previously she was a technical content writer for payments software at ACI Worldwide, Inc., in Elkhorn.

Gabel has a B.A. in Writing from Briar Cliff University (Sioux City) and chairs the third-party Legal Marijuana NOW Nebraska that is currently seeking ballot access across the state.

Events and campaign information can be found at www.krystalgabel.com.

Candidate contact information for voters and media:

Krystal Gabel, PO BOX 4531, Lincoln, NE 68504; krystalgabel@yahoo.com; 402-871-1891

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