Town where you live
Experience (300 characters max)
Chair, Olympia Planning Commission;
Member, Citizens Advisory Committee for the Community Revitalization Act;
Professional background in performance management;
5+ years in policy work;
YMCA volunteer coach;
Senior Games Coordinator;
Born and raised in Olympia
Since coming out of the recession, funding has been a major issue in addressing our city’s infrastructure backlog. As a city, we need to be creative about the best investments we can make with limit resources to maximize the impact for our citizens. Our city should focus on:
Roads/Sidewalks: I would prioritize our downtown and the neighborhoods which have the greatest need. If we can improve the infrastructure in our downtown, we can encourage investment and generate revenue to pay for additional needs. As for our neighborhoods, we need to ensure equity among them so we are creating a city where all residents are valued.
Stormwater/sea-level rise: The biggest and most expensive challenge facing our city’s infrastructure is how we deal with sea-level rise and the stormwater issues that surround it. I am committed to saving our historic downtown and we can accomplish this through increased revenue and having construction in parts of our downtown pay to protect it.
Homelessness is the biggest challenge facing Olympia. The three primary ways I would address it are:
1. Provide a Housing First solution to those in our community who are chronically homeless
2. Better engagement and collaboration with the faith communities, neighboring cities, the County and non-profits to support and fund innovative solutions for families experiencing homelessness
3. Provide resources and training across all city departments to offer coordinated services to those in the community who are causing harm
Olympia needs to move beyond addressing symptoms and begin addressing the root causes of homelessness, providing housing, mental health and substance abuse treatment among others.
My parents and my wife’s parents live in Olympia and I want to make sure they can enjoy this community with their grandchildren for many years. The three issues I am most concerned about are:
Engagement: Ensure that senior citizens still have a voice in the decisions that are being made. This means engaging with senior citizens on a daily basis and getting outside the walls of city hall to ask questions and listen to perspectives.
Housing costs: Affordability is becoming a larger challenge for senior citizens on a fixed-income. I would implement a tenant’s bill of rights to help ease the rising cost of housing.
Access to downtown: Senior citizens want to enjoy downtown, however, access is a major barrier. I would work to improve handicap parking accessibility through improving our sidewalks and converting some parking stalls. Increased public safety is also at the core of a welcoming downtown for all. I would work to ensure that we have a year-round 24/7 walking patrol in downtown.
I support the current course of action at a local level to maintain strong sanctuary city designations and fight any action from the federal government that would hurt our ability to maintain that status. I would put pressure on congress and our congressional delegate to ramp up efforts to reform immigration at the federal level.
Other than our growing homeless population, the major issues facing Olympia are:
Public Safety: Having a 24/7 walking patrol downtown and ensuring that our police officers have the training they need to do their job. Also making sure that our fire department is resourced to adequately handle the calls they receive.
Sea-Level Rise: Over the next 100 years and beyond, sea-level rise will be the biggest threat to our historic downtown. We need to start planning and implement a solution today. This include providing a solution to Capitol Lake that will help us meet our communities needs. Capitol Lake is currently in an unacceptable state and we need to come together, agree on a solution and bring stakeholders together to fund a fix.
Growth: With an expected 20,000 new people calling Olympia home in the next 20 years, we must make changes today to keep Olympia unique, livable and affordable while expanding the job opportunities in our community and diversifying our economy.
Aside from our homeless challenge, the most urgent would be growth. My concern in the near term is how we will handle the 20,000 people who will call Olympia home in the next 20 years. Olympia can have a vibrant downtown, walkable neighborhoods and preserve open space, all while maintaining a high quality of life if we plan appropriately and makes some adjustments. We can also have a more diverse economy, helping us weather the eventual storms that come during a recession. If we do not plan for our future today, I am concerned that Olympia will lose its uniqueness and no longer be livable or affordable.
With our mayor and city manager, I would employ the same methodology, open communication that allows for innovation and idea-sharing, realizing we are stronger when we rely on our collective wisdom. This is what I did as Chair of the Planning Commission and I would continue to leverage the fact that our council and staff have different roles and responsibilities, and when we work to create a learning environment the possibilities are endless. We need to embrace innovation and take calculated risks, learning from our failures. One of the other major disconnects that I see with elected officials is making decisions that affect the administrative side of the city without understanding how things work. I would also like to spend time with supervisors and staff to understand what they need from elected officials to make their work more effective for our citizens.
Town where you live
Experience (300 characters max)
Clark worked for the Carpenter's Union as an organizer and communications editor. He worked as a clean energy advocate for Climate Solutions, and a labor educator at The Evergreen State College Labor Education and Research Center. Clark currently works as a para educator at South Sound High School.
We are recovering from the 2009 recession. Our City spent several years deferring needed maintenance and repair. We are now beginning to catch up. Our wells and water system have seen huge improvements recently that will benefit future generations. We have acquired over 300 acres of green space within the city which serve "natural infrastructure" functions and reduce the load on stormwater and street systems.
We are way behind on adding sidewalks and bicycle paths. And we have a challenge maintaining streets and sidewalks that are currently in service. Our unfair tax system stands between us and the infrastructure we want. The solution lies in predictable and resilient funding through fair taxes and fees. It's time for Olympia to step back and decide how much government we want, put a price tag on those services and infrastructure, and choose a set of equitable taxes and fees to sustainably fund our City.
The best response to homelessness begins by recognizing the un-housed individuals are just that, individuals without housing. Sometimes we overcomplicate and make elaborate plans. Look, this economic recovery has had winners and losers. We have many more very poor people in Olympia today. Not all have mental health challenges. Not all are affected by substance abuse. Many are children. Those people have serious challenges in accessing resources. They have few options for engaging positively through employment or community service.
Let's continue to build supportive housing, build up our community care center, and provide winter warming shelters. But let's also roll up our sleeves, know the people on the streets by name, and invite them to engage in our community. It is not right to just walk around an elderly mentally ill woman standing in the street, drenched by the rain, calling out for help. The solutions are simple. The decision to act has been complicated. Let's act now.
Senior citizens are unfairly burdened by the crisis in affordable housing. My commitment to seniors is to work hard to make sure that our tax and fee structures prioritize fairness to our elders. My commitment to seniors also includes pushing to include seniors in our efforts to expand affordable housing options in Olympia.
Olympia should continue to respect all of our residents and continue to follow our Sanctuary City resolution. I was proud to support that resolution. I served for many years as the elected leader of a local union whose membership was a majority Mexican immigrants. I have immigrant friends who are documented and immigrant friends who are not documented. They are all people I love. I stand in solidarity with immigrants and their children and value their contributions to the richness of all of our lives.
Affordable housing is a great challenge facing our community today. There are few houses or apartment available for rent or purchase in Olympia. Rents are rapidly increasing. We see signs of progress in new apartments being built downtown. But this doesn't guarantee affordable rents for working families.
Our police force is understaffed. In fact, we have the same number of officers in the field today as we had in 2000 and we have seen an almost 20% increase in population during the past 17 years. I am supporting a public safety measure that will be on the fall ballot and is intended to provide additional patrol units, designated mental health professionals, and more downtown walking patrols.
I love Olympia. I ask for more, but I am proud to live in Olympia and love our downtown, our parks, our festivals, and most of all, our people.
Affordable housing is the most urgent issue facing our community. I see Olympia as 50,000 people living in community. We hope to live a dignified life as seniors and afford to stay in our City. We wish for our children to have opportunities to live and work- and stay- in Olympia. It is the job of government to watch out for the greatest good for the greatest number. And that includes creating a fair system of housing that balances the triple bottom line of people, the planet and profit.
Persistence is the most important thing when working with the city manager. The city manager's job is to manage- to maintain stability, high quality municipal services, and employee morale. My job as a Council member is to bring the community's voice to the city and to serve as a visionary. It requires persistence to continue to advocate for what might be and to keep asking "why not?".
Careful listening and learning is also important. I study documents and meet with staff experts to prepare to engage on difficult issues. Someone once said that democracy is a messy sport. I believe that's true, and that the complications of democratic decision making are very worthwhile.