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VOTE411 Voter Guide

City of Sammamish Council Position No. 3

Salary: $10,200Term: 4 yearsThe city council sets the general policies of the city, which are implemented by the city manager and staff. One of council's main duties is the adoption of policies and the enactment of the city's annual budget. City council sets fiscal policies and approves all spending , whether for operations or capital items or public facility maintenance and improvements. The council also sets salaries for city employees.
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    Karen N. Howe (NP) Marketing & Business Development Consultant

  • Karen Moran (NP)

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Biographical Information

What are the issues surrounding your city/town's infrastucture?

How do you think your city/town could best respond to homelessness?

What is your commitment to senior citizens?

How do you think your city/town should approach legal and illegal immigration issues?

What are other major issues facing your city or town?

Of those listed above, which one is the most urgent?

What methods will you use to work with the mayor (if you have an elected mayor) or the city manager or administrator(if you have an chief administrator hired by the council)?

Phone (206) 619-3692
Email karen@electkarenhowe.com
Town where you live Sammamish
Experience (300 characters max) I am a business leader with 20+ years of senior management experience and community service. As a former CEO, I know how to get projects done. I co-lead the Sammamish Huddle - an activist organization focused on the environment, healthcare & immigration. I'm an advocate for foster children (CASA).
Residents are deeply concerned that growth has outpaced our capacity to offer a reasonable Level of Service. Traffic is heavy during all hours and painful at peak periods. Tree canopy destruction as well as natural space, wetland, and streambed damage are significant due to several large developments all forging ahead simultaneously. We’ve added 20K people in 6 years so many feel frustrated with the pace of change.

The city has lagged behind in prioritizing and executing infrastructure projects. We have limited ways to get off the Sammamish plateau. And when we do, we're plunged into traffic choke-points in both Redmond and Issaquah. Our issues are not unique to Sammamish and reflect missing infrastructure improvements from the State and County. I support the development of an infrastructure bank to help us design our future in partnership with other cities in our region. I also support developing a Level of Service standard that prioritizes transit over cars.
Sammamish is far from shelters, social service centers, and employment so our homeless population is present but nearly invisible. This includes homeless youth who've left home due to difficult family circumstances, families who've hit hard times, and older citizens who aren't homeless yet but feel like they are being squeezed out. We need to add easier access to social services to help with emergency housing and support as needed. Our 10 Habitat for Humanity homes are wonderful and we could do more. I believe we should strive for a higher annual ARCH goal and increase our affordable housing unit targets.

I've recently learned of a small community of homeless youth who are sleeping in cars just outside the city. We need social service professionals to engage and perhaps partner with organizations such as Friends of Youth to see if there are appropriate housing and support services that could help these kids.
One of the most useful ways to help seniors is to adjust their property tax burden. Those who live on fixed incomes, and without other resources, should not pay property taxes at the same rate as dual-income or high-income (e.g. over $250K/year) earners.

I commit to making Sammamish more senior-friendly by extending the ‘walk’ period at crosswalks, adding more disabled parking, fixing sidewalks, adding more transit options during the day, and more restrooms. We could also do a better job at providing greater social inclusion in general and partnering with schools in specific.

After meeting with many seniors, there is a clear demand for a senior center or at least senior-oriented programs at a minimum. With Sammamish adding a CWU campus, there's now a wonderful opportunity to start offering continuing education for adults. The YMCA offers some no-fee programs for seniors and if we created a Senior Inclusion Task Force, we could interview develop a more comprehensive agenda.
King County is part of the Welcoming City network. I believe Sammamish should embrace becoming a Welcoming City. This means that city employees will not ask about the status of residents and all city services are available to all residents. Police would continue to defer detainer requests from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement to King County. We will protect the civil liberties and civil rights of all Sammamish residents.
1) Drug education for adults: Recently Sammamish made the news with a drug bust at a local pizza establishment. This wasn’t surprising to the area’s youth. It was a huge surprise to parents. I’ve learned through my volunteer involvement as a CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocate) for abused and neglected children, that the kids know far more about the local drug scene than their parents. As a related topic, we have the tragic distinction of having an unusually high teen suicide rate. Mental health and drug use are closely aligned. 2) Communication: The monthly (mailed) newsletter is inadequate and doesn't meet the expectations or needs of a tech-savvy community. I would step-up the communications goals of the city to include social media outlets. 3) Add an Economic Development Committee. Sammamish ‘leaks’ $248M in retail sales to other locations. Sammamish will need to tap into this as an additional source of revenue in the coming years.
All growth-related issues are the most urgent. Our city has grown and changed significantly over the years and I want to ensure that future growth is sustainable and creates a more livable community for us all by managing expansion through careful, data-driven assessments, and ensuring that the natural beauty and safety of our environment is protected through stricter adherence to ordinances and improved policies where it makes sense.
I’ve been present at many Council meetings and have started to know the staff through this process. I know their role is to carry out the policy direction of the council, and there will likely be very significant changes in direction and new priorities assigned. After many years in executive management, I’ve learned the biggest problems occur when roles and responsibilities are not clear and when outcomes and accountability are not monitored. I will work hard to ensure that we establish a strong, positive working relationship where direct dialog is encouraged.
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