Town where you live
Port Orchard, WA
Experience (300 characters max)
I have been a public servant for 25 yrs. My experience in land use planning often puts me in front of a council or commissioners and I understand their expectations. I have helped to lead a lot of discussion on governance. I have a degree in Planning, Public Policy and Management from U of Oregon
PO recently adopted graduated rates for water/sewer, which are in line with Kitsap County/cities. Sewer services are well (thanks to an outstanding partnership with modernized West Sound Utility District), but the City has programmed large expenses on its water well upgrades. Most pressing is our road network. To meet growth from within/outside of PO, we need to widen Bethel Rd (our ‘spine’), Sedgwick Rd (corridor from Hwy 16), as well as potentially a new southern Bethel Rd interchange with Hwy 16. These projects are tens of millions of dollars each and the City needs to be competitive with grant apps (eg, prepping design early). Additionally, we must upgrade sidewalks that are deficient with American with Disabilities Act requirements; this is almost $1.4 million. Further, to maintain a solid ‘B’ rating of our existing roads and to avoid deferred maintenance, we need $1.5 million. Finally, much of our existing roads do not have sidewalks/bike lanes and no funding is available.
Homelessness has no border but is typically concentrated in our urban areas. Solutions can work in many areas, because of commonalities (others have locally-accepted success stories). It is best to foster collaboration with cities and the county. Faith-based organizations have unrivaled limited-fund partnerships, but the tide of homelessness is against us. We must look at zoning code to see how this issue is treated, and whether it's reasonable. Education is key—there are common misconceptions about side effects of homelessness. Worth notice is homelessness of youth—this issue is paramount—and they must be given opportunity that many others have. This is about broad daylighting of facts, discussion with leaders and public, education, and removal of barriers to affordable solutions. I have been involved in these discussions with the Council and, as part of my day job I worked to help develop adopted code to mitigate homelessness and support the ongoing Homes For All initiative.
Seniors need to have a voice and should be able to easily access government through various methods. I recognize and understand that seniors are often on a fixed and limited income, and many have special or extraordinary needs. I am committed to having any conversation on senior voices and vision, and would be happy to see more issues developed and discussed to assist seniors (I am not too far off from being a senior myself). All councilmembers are accessible through email, posted mail, and have separate published phone numbers (as well as our home numbers and addresses).
I think immigrants should approach citizenship and living in the US under the law, much as my wife did before becoming a citizen. I do not agree that immigrants that were brought to the US at a young age should be denied a place in our society or citizenship—there should be a reasonable path to citizenship. I am restating the obvious when I note that our country was made great by immigrants, and I believe it can continue to be (which often happens at a local level). I also believe that education with this issue is paramount, since often what is discussed at high policy levels is based on personal feelings and emotions and not facts. I believe and hope this issue will become less emotional and more logical as a new younger and more diverse generation of political leaders come into office.
PO has a great waterfront. However, it has received little economic stimulation in the last several years. PO can capitalize on its location, but must motivate owners of substantial real estate. There have been recent improvement discussions (eg, existing/pocket park ideas, nuisance abatement/vacant buildings, zoning uses) and more is slated (eg, waterfront path connection, small conversion of parking to green space). Elsewhere, the City has seen recent development of commerce/residences (eg, intersection of Sydney Road SW/SW Sedgwick Rd), and must discuss quality development that matches great development anywhere. Much of what we do is influenced by the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council and the Puget Sound Regional Council. We need to continue good interface with KRCC, and be very direct and frank with the PSRC. Finally, lack of approval for a second high school is without doubt a major issue, affecting the desirability of living in our area—we need to continue our support.
While the lack of a new second high school is a major detractor for potential, new and existing family living in our area (with a higher degree of affordable housing than many urban areas in all of Kitsap County), my role in that issue is diminished (it’s a voter bond issue). The most urgent issue noted immediately above that I can help to influence is the removal of barriers for development of our downtown and helping to facilitate a vision which moves Port Orchard into one of the best waterfronts there is.
In PO the mayor is effectively our city administrator. I contact the mayor with questions, suggestions or ideas, and nothing has been dismissed or dropped without reasonable discussion or a vote. I am very active in Council meetings, workstudies, and retreats and have a great attendance record. I am also a chair for the Land Use Committee, which dovetails well with my working knowledge. I am also a member of the Utilities Committee and the Sewer Advisory Committee (and I am backup for other members and committees). The work from committees is excellent, well-thought, and fast-paced, and our active mayor is at the table during these discussions. Good public participation makes for efficient and effective decisions, and I have been part of a culture to discuss enhanced ways of public participation. Finally, I promote our adopted 20-year comprehensive plan as our transparent—and easily available—‘roadmap,’ and that actions taken by the City are supported by our comprehensive plan.