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Rhett Pepe

What is your educational/professional background?
Education: B.A. in Music Composition, Pre-Med classes and original scientific research at NAU, technical certifications related to computer programming and graphic design, graduate of the Coconino County Business Empowerment Program. Self taught in physics, economics, ecosystem engineering, and invention.

Occupation: Web Developer at NAU, Small business owner. So far in my life, I've started three businesses and have been successful at one. This year BlueDotFitness will be launching our first mass market product: a healthy lifestyle program for improving physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health, with an emphasis on weight loss.

How long have you lived in Flagstaff?
Twelve years.

Why did you decide to make Flagstaff your home?
Epic beauty, clean air and water, friendly people, great access to education and business development, and an active and engaged community.

Why are you running for city council?
A passionate belief in the inalienable human rights of Life, Liberty, Free and Equal Choice, and the Pursuit of Happiness. The phrase Free and Equal Choice refers to the idea that every human has inherent rights when that individual is a member of a group, and when the group is faced with making a decision. It says that every person is inherently free to choose which way they think they group decision should go, and that everyone’s vote is to be counted equally.

So, this is the philosophy underlying the direct democracy platform at The idea is that major city issues will be posted online, at least once a month, and then my registered constituents will tell me how to cast my city council vote. If I don’t keep this promise, you may impeach me. A solitary veto power is granted to reject segregationist laws. Also, other new things, such as how The People now have the right to formally introduce ideas for new legislation, provided such ideas meet certain thresholds of popularity and clarity, are being worked out in the party constitution.

How do you think as mayor/member of council you can help improve our community’s economic outlook?
I’m strongly for the idea of a 5% local preference in city contracts, it appears the majority of the business community is for this as well, and that evidence backs the idea that this greatly benefits local economies. It’s a much wiser use of our community tax dollars overall than simply going with the lowest bidder.

What do you see as being the biggest hindrance to strengthening Flagstaff’s economy? How would you fix it?
To strengthen our economy it is necessary to create an extraordinary new diversity of industry, while also increasing the middle class and home ownership, while also ensuring a long term abundance of food and water in our region. To address these issues my proposal is a non-profit organization between the city, the business community, and people in the community who are willing to work to get the thing off the ground.

The project is called Mechanikos: Wealth with a View. It is a step by step building up of an engineered ecosystem to turn ponderosa pine sawdust, and Flagstaff food waste, into edible mushrooms, then into feed for cows and sheep, then into insects, then into feed for fish, chicken, and pigs, then into an aquaponics system for vegetables and shrimp, including a process for organic worm-soil production, and then fruit and nut trees, and finally even apex predators, such as an alligator farm.

Presupposing economic victory, the ecosystem then also includes steps for new business away from food production with the purchase of new industrial facilities for butchering, tanning, a lumber mill, cogeneration, building housing for employees, a historically unprecedented degree of agricultural robotization, and providing funds for the large scale collection and storage of rain-water. After all of this has been done successfully on a local level, large quantities of excess food might be made shelf-stable for America’s food banks and disaster relief efforts.

Mechanikos proposes using the free market and engineered ecosystems to solve large scale social and economic problems. This is a much more effective solution to Flagstaff’s economic problems than anything the local government is capable of.