City of Maple Valley Council Position No. 2
The City Council is the legislative body for the City. The Council adopts local laws (ordinances) to secure the safety and assist the well-being of the city residents, the city's physical environment and amenities, and the city economy. The Council is responsible for approving financial expenditures and adopting the city budget as well as establishing policies and regulations in order to guide the city's future. The elected mayor serves as chief administrative officer for the city.
CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
Linda Olson (NP)
Manager, WSDOT (retired)
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)?
Town where you live
Maple Valley, Washington
We are a “one lane in, one lane out” city. State Highway 169 is the primary highway into Renton and Seattle (via I-405) for the citizens of Maple Valley, Black Diamond and Enumclaw. We can go south using SR 516 (Kent Kangley), or north using Issaquah/Hobart road. The roads are at or above capacity right now and we are adding new housing at a steady clip in all three cities. Over 5,000 houses are planned for Black Diamond over the next few years alone. None of these highways are on the list for improvement in the next several years. Only a catastrophic event will move our highways up on the current list. The gridlock limits our economic development because businesses don’t want their employees or shipments being delayed due to traffic. Citizens have less family time because it takes hours to get to and from their job sites. There isn’t any relief on the horizon and our citizens are frustrated.
As housing gets more expensive in our community, some families can no longer afford a place to live. City officials know that we have areas of temporary and unsanctioned homeless camps. The Maple Valley Planning Commission recently developed regulations for private homeless camps. This clarifies the requirements for groups to host homeless camps with more structured living spaces and makes people more aware of the issue. Having a formal camp allows greater access to medical/mental health, job resources and permanent housing. It is not a cure, but a step in the right direction.
I am a senior citizen, so I’m familiar with the needs of our seniors. I’m excited that we are adding a new senior housing facility in our city. This facility will transition from retirement homes to assisted living to memory care and will serve many in our community. Our Community Center has many programs for seniors and offers assistance to those needing it. Seniors are our backbone and need to be respected, honored and tapped into for their knowledge and insights.
Each and every person deserves respect. His/her status should be determined on a case-by-case basis. I don’t see where a “one size fits all” approach is effective or morally correct. We should never have any of our citizens judged or treated differently based on their ethnicity or faith.
Homeowners are over-taxed. We are known for our excellent schools, but the cost is overwhelming. Our business base is small, so the weight of taxes falls on the residents. We need to bring in a new source of tax income (possibly a hotel) to relieve some of the burden. In addition, the city owns a golf course that is bleeding money. We need to treat the golf course as a business instead of recreation. The course restaurant is outdated and is unable to compete with the new eateries in the city. The management company isn’t using the latest technology to bring in golfers. Something needs to change.
Creating a better road system into and out of our city is at the top of the list. Improving our highways will increase our economic development which will lead to lower taxes. My background as a WSDOT retiree gives me an insider’s understanding of the issues and possible solutions.
In my position as Regional Purchasing and Telecommunications Manager at WSDOT I learned to work with a very diverse group of people. I chaired committees made up of employees and managers from maintenance, information technology, construction and engineering. We were able to take sometimes conflicting agendas and create a solution that was best for our region but was also acceptable to each group. I will use this background and knowledge to work through issues.
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