Town where you live
Experience (300 characters max)
Peninsula College Foundation Board Member and Co-Treasurer 2015-2017; Rotary Club member since 2007 and President, 2013; Volunteers in Medicine of the Olympics Board Chair, 2011; Leader of United Way employee campaign at First Federal, 2012; United Methodist Church Friendship Dinner Team Leader.
Port Angeles recently approved a new tax to fund a Transportation District, which will help with ongoing maintenance of our streets. While this funding was badly needed, we should treat infrastructure maintenance as a priority in the future, and resist the attempt to raise taxes for core services. I will focus on creating a long-term plan for street maintenance, so that we are able to replace the Transportation Benefit District when it expires.
First, the good news – The number of homeless people has gone from 740 in 2006, to 114 in the most recent count by the Homelessness Task Force. As we continue address this crisis, the city has an important leadership role. By supporting collaboration between existing agencies – especially those focused on workforce programs, job training, and giving individuals the opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty, we will continue our progress.
I will focus on efficient use of the budget to improve services in Port Angeles. Our outstanding debt is starting to decrease, and I will work to continue that trend. My professional background has prepared me well to understand the city’s budget, and financial limitations. The City has the responsibility to invest your money wisely, and I will analyze the return on investment in every opportunity.
As a member of the City Council I will focus on issues that have potential to improve our city, and avoid investing time and resources on issues that have little impact in our town. I will strive to avoid these distractions, and focus on creating a vision and identity for this town that we can all embrace.
• Budget constraints, and short term impacts from the closing of the Nippon mill;
• Infrastructure, and the need for a long term plan to deal with maintenance and improvements;
• Blighted, abandoned properties - both commercial and residential. As a member of city council, I will support existing solutions to this problem;
• The possibility of Port Angeles becoming a second class city, which I strongly oppose; and
• The water treatment plant on the Elwha, which I will discuss more below
The Elwha water treatment plant. The National Park intends to transfer ownership to the city of Port Angeles, and we simply cannot afford to own and operate this plant in it's current condition. Here is a link with some helpful background:
I will work to pursue every option to protect our water supply, and work with other council members to solve this issue.
Our city manager is hired by the council, and as a council member I will work to communicate effectively with our manager. The council should guide the city's overall vision and direction, while listening to the city manager's input regarding daily issues, and citizen concerns. If elected, I will treat staff, citizens, and other city council members with respect. When there are disagreements, I will move onto issues where there is unison. When residents express a clear consensus on an issue, I will put my convictions aside and represent the majority. I will encourage communication with the public, and focus on issues that have the most impact on our quality of life.
Town where you live
Experience (300 characters max)
Session Member, First Presbyterian Church, current; Franklin Elementary PTO: President, Treasurer, 2014-2017; Reading and Math Support Volunteer, Franklin Elementary, 2012-2014
The recently passed Transportation Benefit District sales tax, which expires in 10 years, will alleviate some of our repair and maintenance issues. In the meantime, combining the TBD with a strategic long-term maintenance plan and avoiding taking on new debt or new high-maintenance projects will put our infrastructure on a better track going forward. Another major concern is ensuring that we resolve the Elwha River water treatment facility issues without taking on its associated high operating costs. Our city managers are proactive about using additional tools to stretch our budget by seeking state and federal dollars. This allows us to meet some our basic needs while moving projects forward that spur development or beautification efforts. These funds tend to be earmarked for specific projects, which if left unused would simply go to another city. Examples of this are Community Development Block Grants or Historic Preservation classification.
It’s important to differentiate between chronic homelessness, immediate housing crises, and housing issues somewhere on the spectrum. Chronic homelessness is a multifaceted problem that goes well beyond housing and must be addressed more broadly. City government can help community providers leverage dollars to increase citizens’ access to resources, economic opportunity, quality childcare, social services, and comprehensive health care. The council can implement smart zoning policies that support neighborhood engagement while allowing social service organizations to do their work. Additionally, city council must consider ways to address the lack of affordable housing, such as addressing zoning changes to allow smaller houses and accessory living units on existing properties, inclusionary zoning and opportunities for more mixed-income housing, transit-oriented development, and ordinances to protect vulnerable renters.
As of the 2010 census, 18% of our citizens are age 65 and over, compared with the state average of 12%. While our county has a high influx of retirees, not all seniors are arriving with a large bank account. We need to ensure that our seniors have access to affordable housing and health care. For all seniors, we should support social activities and city infrastructure that help to keep our lives vibrant as we age. We can continue to pursue city policies that support aging in place, including effective and safe pedestrian transportation, neighborhood retail hotspots, building codes (accessory dwelling units), etc. Many of our town's most dedicated volunteers are seniors, and engaging everyone in the life of our community is critical to helping Port Angeles be a great place for all to live.
Immigration is the backbone of the United States: Most of us are here because someone in our family emigrated within the past few generations. Our city can work together to welcome newcomers, and city council can be part of the leadership necessary to build bridges of understanding between recent arrivals and current community members. Our city already has a culture of welcoming visitors from around the world, from our sister city delegates to the large international student program at the college.
Immigration enforcement is a federal matter. The reality is that undocumented immigrants do play a role in our communities, and gaining citizenship can be a long and expensive process. Port Angeles people are known for coming together to support each other, and we can certainly support and help guide our immigrant neighbors’ paths to citizenship.
We have many concerns, including affordable housing, the opioid epidemic, and the availability of living wage jobs. There is a housing shortage for low-income renters and low inventory for people looking to purchase. Housing costs have risen drastically in the past year, pricing many people out of the market because wages are not keeping up. Rentals are expensive and hard to come by. Additionally, Clallam County leads the state for opioid-related deaths, many of which occur in Port Angeles. The city should continue working in partnership with the community to provide resources for those facing opioid use disorders. Finally, a shortage of jobs that pay a living wage, combined with limited childcare options, are creating additional barriers for our citizens. As we look at economic development and increasing livability, we must focus on smart growth that bolsters all community members.
We all want to live in a happy, healthy community where we can live, work, and play. This is possible through smart growth that emphasizes family wage jobs, affordable housing, and community connections. As we consider growth and development, we must focus our energy on how to bolster those within: our middle-income families, young people who are looking for opportunities to build a life here, and our seniors, as well as those who are falling through the safety net. The top three community health issues identified in the Clallam County Health Assessment are: housing availability and affordability; access to healthcare; abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. By focusing on smart growth and development, we can help address many of the underlying issues that our community is dealing with on a regular basis.
My emphasis is on connecting with city managers and local leaders. I appreciate city staff’s willingness to meet and answer questions. I will continue to seek community input and regularly draw on the expertise of city staff to be most effective in my role as a policy maker. This will help us find new collaborations and increase our capacity for meeting community needs. I will look to update our communication policy to build a better relationship with community members, strengthening their capacity to take part in public decision-making. We need communication between city council, advisory committees, city staff, and residents that increases transparency and trust in city government and gives citizens a stronger voice. It is important to remember that the council’s role is to create policy that drives the work of the city, not to manage the work of the city staff. I will respect that role and work with fellow council members to create sound policy that makes sense for our community.