Kevin Bloom runs on BearCat issue in Ward 4
One issue drove Kevin Bloom to run for city council: the armored BearCat vehicle.
Bloom, a 52-year-old lobbyist and brewery consultant, went door to door in Concord this summer collecting petition signatures to oppose a federal grant for the city to purchase a BearCat. After petition organizers presented the council with more than 1,500 signatures opposing the purchase of the armored vehicle, the council voted, 11-4, to accept the federal grant.
He is now running for the city council in Ward 4, against Byron Champlin and current At-Large Councilor Michael DelloIacono.
Bloom has voiced concerns about the militarization of the police department and language in the city’s grant application that said members of the Free State Project present “daily challenges” to local law enforcement. Bloom, who moved to New Hampshire with the Free State Project, told the Monitor he is running for city council because he feels the councilors did not listen to their constituents.
“I’ve spent all this time thinking about why would I do any better – if I don’t like the way my representative votes, then how would I be any better if I just voted the way I wanted to?” he said. “The only way I could think of is to run a website and put questions up and let people vote on it if they’re residents.”
Bloom acknowledged that he could not make every resident happy with every vote, but he would spend time asking them what they think.
Since he began campaigning, Bloom said he has started to learn about other issues affecting residents. He would like to evaluate all city costs to prevent tax rate increases. And he said the Main Street redesign project was a concern for Ward 4, which includes the area of North Main Street in the construction project.
Though the Main Street project is already under way, with plans approved and construction expected to begin next year, Bloom said he wanted to address “serious concerns” about it that he has heard.
“Yes, it’s under way, but on the other hand it’s not done yet,” he said. “It’s sort of like the road construction in Fisherville Road that was going on when I got here (five years ago) and it’s still going on. I think people have a healthy skepticism. I think they’re right. It’s not one of the things the city seems to do terribly well, working on roads.”
Bloom said he was still learning about the Main Street project, but that he might have liked to see part of Main Street become a pedestrian mall because that has worked in other cities across the country. Concord’s current plans include reducing Main Street from four to two lanes with a crossable median, widening sidewalks, improving accessibility and adding landscaping and public art.
On the issue of homelessness, Bloom thinks the city could allow people to camp on open land. He also opposed efforts to limit panhandling in the city.
“I think we should certainly loosen the regulations that keep people from taking advantage of existing resources,” he said. “And I don’t think it would be so bad if we set it up so at least people could camp. But I know that’s not a permanent answer.”
As a lobbyist, Bloom has an interest in state government issues and said the city could lobby to change state laws that affect its operations, such as the impact of retirement costs on the city budget.