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VOTE411 Voter Guide

King City of Bellevue Council Position No. 5

The 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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  • JD Yu
    (NP)

  • Candidate picture

    Janice Zahn
    (NP)

Biographical Information

What experiences have you had that qualify you for this position?

How would you describe your vision for Bellevue in the next 5, then 10 years?

What are the obstacles in the path of achieving your vision?

How much weight to residents’ voices will be given when determining changes to any zoning as the Council works on the Neighborhood Subarea Plan?

How much growth can realistically be confined to the ‘growth corridor’?

How do you think Bellevue could best respond to homelessness and affordable housing?

How do you think Bellevue should approach legal and illegal immigration issues?

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Phone (425)200-5525
Email Info@janicezahn.org
Town where you live Bellevue
Experience (300 characters max) Civil Engineer and Construction Manager professional with 30 years experience in government, private sector and community leadership. Local, state and national committees on public contracting, transportation and construction management. Diversity, inclusion and workforce development.
I bring my 30 years of transportation, infrastructure, emergency management and public policy experience to the council. I serve as liaison on various transportation, education, disability and environmental boards and committees. My local and regional knowledge (from 15 years leading construction management at the Port of Seattle) is invaluable as Bellevue and the region develops strategies and policy to address our growth.

I served on the Bellevue Transportation Commission where I led many key decisions on mobility options, updating the Comprehensive Plan and Vision Zero. I also served on several Transportation and Public Contracting committees at the State and National levels to improve public policy. I am a graduate of Advance Bellevue, Leadership Eastside and Leadership Tomorrow community programs. An immigrant, PTA mom and community leader, I bring my unique lived experience, citywide engagement and regional relationships to the council. Experience matters. Leadership matters.
Transportation choices. Housing affordability. Vibrant and engaged communities. Regional transportation solutions that keep Bellevue moving, with safe neighborhoods, congestion relief and mobility options. Full range of housing stock for an affordable and livable Bellevue. Vibrant economy. Jobs. Retail. Restaurants. Implement new technology throughout Bellevue, including Smart City elements like citywide 5G and WiFi, and video analytics that support Vision Zero. All this while addressing climate change and meet our K4C greenhouse gas reduction goals. Abundant arts and cultural activities throughout the city, with local artist and musicians. Aquatic center, Multi-cultural center, expanded Meyenbauer Center and Grand Connection in Bellevue. 124th, NE 2nd, NE 10th interchanges built. 405 with bus rapid transit, Eastside Rail Corridor and Eastlink light rail complete and in use. Transit Oriented Developments filled with residents and transit options. Bike network built. A thriving Bellevue
Innovation and great ideas of our neighbors are essential to address our toughest challenges, yet a lack of affordability threatens the strength and vibrancy of our community. If our workers lack the housing choices to live in Bellevue, this affects their quality of life and creates more traffic congestion. We must ensure that affordable housing and child care is available along with transportation mobility options. Otherwise, our investments in great parks, open spaces, and quality of life to build healthy communities will not have the true diversity of peoples that is our strength.

We must use our tax dollars wisely and ensure investments are transparent, measurable, and accountable. The regressive state tax structure unfairly burdens low and middle income families to fund our city services, which is our biggest obstacle to achieving our vision. A large state tax burden means residents are less likely to support local levies due to tax fatigue.
Neighborhood voices absolutely matter. Residents understand the most about the character of their community. I believe local government best serves our community by spending time with neighbors, hear their concerns and priorities, and develop workable solutions with their input. I spend time out in the community, at events and in neighborhoods, engaging, listening, and learning.

I also collaborate and build strong relationships with businesses, other public agencies, and nonprofits. Their voices also matter. The city had begun the first neighborhood subarea planning process in Northwest and Northeast Bellevue, which stalled due to the loss of staff. When it restarts, we will identify the areas where residents’ voices are essential as primary drivers and citywide issues to be addressed more broadly.

As with every decision, I will listen to neighbors and apply my engineering judgment, driven by data, to ensure a thriving Bellevue that maintains its unique neighborhood character.
I believe Bellevue is a model to other cities for workable solutions to build denser communities. We have a thriving downtown with mixed use housing, multi-family housing beyond downtown, and single-family neighborhoods. I believe we can contain our growth within the growth areas of downtown, Belred and Eastgate for the foreseeable future. Downtown Bellevue is approximately 50% built out, with more capacity. We must be smart and forward thinking in allowing backyard cottages and infill-type townhouses that would fit the character of neighborhoods. It is essential that we consider growth in a way that protects our affordability, livability, and character of our communities.

With the growth corridor and denser areas, I continue to prioritize public safety, congestion relief, and leveraging technology to address traffic and create safer neighborhoods. We are also working on the next growth area in Wilburton, with its proximity to the East Main light rail station. Focused growth matters!
I believe in Housing First so that our service providers can develop trust and build relationships that will help people experiencing homelessness with a pathway to permanent housing. We also need to provide services specific to the needs of our vulnerable populations. Our council’s approach of adopting land use regulations defining where shelters were allowed sets the policy framework for shelters to be built in Bellevue. We need to understand the root causes of homelessness and focus on prevention.

Bellevue spent two years with a broad committee developing the affordable housing strategy. We must move forward with implementing these policies expeditiously. With the upcoming increase in Amazon jobs in Bellevue, more affordable housing is urgently needed and cannot wait. We have an opportunity right now to partner with Microsoft on their $500mil grant funding to build low and middle income housing, and funds to address homelessness. The key is working In partnership for outcomes.
Bellevue’s motto is “Bellevue welcomes the world. Our diversity is our strength”. I believe that wholeheartedly and work on the Council every day to ensure Bellevue is living those values. As an immigrant myself, I am particularly aware of the fear, discrimination, and challenges that immigrants face. I believe our city services should be available to all, regardless of immigration status and that all should feel safe in our community. I will add that as an engineer, I believe that accurate data is essential to smart policy making and planning. I believe inclusion of a citizenship status question on the census will prevent local jurisdictions like ours from having a clear picture of every neighbor and how best to serve them.