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Election: Katan stresses water, quality of life issues



(Editor's Note: This is the fifth in a series of Prescott City Council candidate profile articles, which will appear alphabetically).

Paul Katan

Age: 37

Length of time in Prescott: 13 years total

Occupation: Safe Routes to School Coordinator for Prescott Alternative Transportation.

PRESCOTT - When Paul Katan last ran for Prescott City Council in 2007, he was the only candidate to flatly oppose the city's plans for the Paulden-area Big Chino Water Ranch.

This year - in his third try for a position on the council - Katan said he has come to accept the concept, but still has major issues with the way the city is handling the project.

Katan now says he supports the Big Chino project because "I'm accepting of the time and money that has gone into making this the city's alternate water supply."

Even so, he opposes the way the city has proceeded on its plans for the 30-mile pipeline.

Rather than the city's current "defensive" position, Katan said he would like to see Prescott come out with a bigger-picture "systemic" approach to sustainable water, which would emphasize things such as water conservation and macro rainwater harvesting.

In addition, Katan said, "I don't want to negatively impact the headwaters of the Verde River."

He also objects to recent city decisions on the water ranch, such as bringing a public relations firm on board.

Katan's changing views on the Big Chino Water Ranch issue tie in with other matters that he says are important to the community, such as job creation.

"I want to see more young families here - living, working and playing," Katan said.

To achieve that, he said, "We really need more jobs to sustain healthy growth in the future."

And he allows that "a sustainable water supply" would be a crucial component in reaching that goal.

Along with his emphasis on water and jobs, Katan stresses his push toward a "livable" community and quality of life issues.

"I am a regular bike commuter," Katan said, noting that he has emphasized making the community more bike-able in his job as the coordinator of the local Safe Routes to School program, as well as through an intensive "League Cycling Instructor" training course that he recently completed.

Bicycling is just one of the quality of life issues that Katan brings up; preservation of open spaces is another.

"People want to know that quality of life is going to be protected, and that their viewshed is going to be protected," he said.

As the youngest candidate on the ballot by nearly a decade and a half, Katan also emphasizes the level of energy he would bring to the job.

"The citizens would be getting a bargain at $500 a month (in council salary)," Katan said, noting that he has long volunteered for a variety of community efforts, and "would like to bring that sense of ambition to the council."

Katan ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2005 and for council in 2007. He attracted attention in 2005, when he appeared outside two Prescott City Council meetings dressed as a pirate, shouting "safe yield is a hoax" - to remind the public about the state's goal for reaching a balance between the amount of water the area is pumping and the amount that is going back into the ground.


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