A co-owner of Kusko Cab, Naim Shabani is no stranger to Bethel city government. He had been serving on Bethel’s Public Safety and Transportation Commission for five years before he was appointed to the City Council earlier this year.
For Shabani, the Council was the next logical step.
“The community being involved is what protects our government as a whole. It makes sure the citizens are heard and there’s somebody there to represent them,” said Shabani. “After 19 years of living in Bethel, I feel that it’s my turn to give back. Somebody else has been serving for me all those years, so it’s time I take a shot at it.”
In the five months he has been on the City Council, Shabani has served on both the Public Works Committee and the Public Safety and Transportation Commission, has helped craft a budget, and has started the ball rolling on a new community park in the Kasayuli subdivision.
“I’d like to see that through to the end,” said Shabani. “I think it’s important that we develop recreational sites for our growing town.”
Shabini says that he has three major priorities if he is elected to the Bethel City Council: the economy, public safety, and roads - something every cab driver in town knows about. He says that he wants to work as closely as possible with the administration.
“And see what solutions we have for developing a better road system. In addition to that, our police department has been understaffed for quite a while now. Would like to look into how we can retain police officers and fill these positions. I’d also like to see how we can develop Bethel’s economy and see how we can promote small business and the growth of it,” said Shabani.
Shabani wants to help make the decisions that will shape Bethel’s future. He sees several major questions that will require council action in the next few years. He sees marijuana coming before the council, but more importantly, he says that something has to be done about public safety and Bethel’s infrastructure.
“Our infrastructure is at a point that something has to get done,” said Shabani. ”And again, the public safety concerns that I expressed earlier, again we’re really going to have to make some tough decisions and making sure we can move forward as a community.”