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King County City of Des Moines Council Position No. 2

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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  • Luisa Bangs
    (NP)

  • Candidate picture

    JC Harris
    (NP)

Biographical Information

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

How would you describe your vision for your city?

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

What do you think is your city/town’s role in dealing with issues surrounding the environment?

What are the issues surrounding your city/town's infrastructure?

How do you think your city/town could best respond to homelessness?

How do you think your city/town should approach legal and illegal immigration issues?

How would you propose the council communicate with the citizens of your city or town?

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Phone (206) 878-0578
Email mail@jcharrisfordesmoines.com
YouTube Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7H8TsPeQz6k&list=PLqaFr3iyUifhS_cOrEW8DfM8SAzFRanfT
Town where you live Des Moines, Washington
Experience (300 characters max) I have had two careers: first as a professional musician with Motown and on Broadway and then as a licensed professional engineer working in logistics and financial analysis for the medical and printing sectors.
My career as an engineer and small business owner has given me a wide range of tools forn analyzing and solving complex problems. I have decades of experience providing great customer experiences, auditing financial reports and making sure that things happen on time and on budget. I am now semi-retired so I will be able to give the council my full attention. This is an often overlooked requirement of the position as the work requires a significant amount of daily effort in order for, a council member to be effective.

I've fished and sailed from Des Moines for 25 years and I've owned a home here for fifteen. I am an active member of St. Philomena’s Catholic Church and I’ve volunteered at numerous blood drives, youth groups, park building and food bank events. In 2016 I started https://seatacNoise.Info, an organization which campaigns for relief from the noise and pollution of the airport. I am committed to this community.
Des Moines has always been a place for families, with the central focus being our amazing location on Puget Sound. The combination of the Great Recession, the expansion of Sea-Tac Airport and our current government's focus on large development have taken us away from what this town is supposed to be.

I want to restore Des Moines to being a quieter place with a thriving small business community and great amenities for families. Our primary focus must be on making it easy for enterpreneurs to create interesting and attractive local businesses (including a grocery store). We need to pay more attention to our residents’ public safety concerns and we must lower utility taxes. We should also do a lot more to encourage transit for people who work elsewhere. By accomplishing these goals, we can develop a recession-proof and sustainable tax base that is less dependent on utility taxes, traffic tickets, fees and large construction projects.
Des Moines is under-represented and often unfairly treated by the more affluent parts of King County and The Port Of Seattle. There has been a long-running myth that we somehow benefit greatly from Sea-Tac Airport and this is simply untrue. I have been saying for years that the vast majority of the benefits of the airport go north and east while the negative impacts stay here. Increasingly, we bear the brunt of not only noise and pollution but also crime, homelessness and many other social problems while Seattle and Bellevue only get richer.

As a city, we must demand more from King County, The Port and the State. We need a fairer share of the regional economic benefits, as well as compensation for the effects of these inequities to our health or property and our environment. I have fought for and will continue to fight for these goals both at the Port Of Seattle, the Puget Sound Regional Council and at the State level. But I will be able to do even more as your council member
We must do much more to reduce the number of flights from Sea-Tac Airport over Des Moines. There is simply no more important long-term issue for our residents, businesses and environment. The noise and pollution make it hard to attract the kinds of businesses, residents and visitors we should be recruiting. Worse yet, our residents now experience some of the highest cancer rates in the entire nation. But still, the Port of Seattle has ambitious plans to actually increase the pace of growth. We must begin to reverse this process now.

Additionally, we must also protect our waters which are the premiere attraction of our city. The water quality on our stretch of Puget Sound is poor. We have not received the attention we deserve from the State Of Washington and I will work hard to advocate for this.
Our waterfront and downtown need to be developed in such a way as to provide a much more welcoming place for small businesses, residents and above all, those who want to use the Marina. The Marina must continue to be a working waterfront for all types of boaters and anglers. For example, I favor restoring the boat launch. Many areas of Des Moines (especially Redondo) have poor quality roads and poorly managed traffic which makes residents feel unsafe.

Due to our geography, police and Fire/Rescue have always had significant challenges reaching parts of Des Moines in a timely manner. We need to develop better strategies to help them get where they need to be faster.

We also have a significant problem with the loss of trees both due to development and the expansion of Sea-Tac Airport. Increasing our tree cover must become a priority.
There are several distinct, but related causes of homelessness. What we've learned (the hard way) is that we cannot simply arrest our way out of these problems or try to 'move those people elsewhere'. This strategy simply does not work. Plus it is also wasteful and amazingly expensive. It's time for a regional response to this crisis. We need to start working effectively with our neighbor cities, King County and the State to create programs and places where people with chronic problems can get the treatment they need once and for all. But we can't wait for someone else to do it. The City Of Des Moines must take the lead to get this process going. Now.
Immigration is a Federal, not a municipal, issue.
This is an issue I have been concerned about for a long time in Des Moines. Your government should be both transparent and accessible. The City does not effectively inform residents about its work or important policies and upcoming events. There is almost no public engagement at City Council meetings. The City website is extremely difficult to use and finding information is very hard. Even information about the most basic government actions (including Council votes) can be almost impossible to get without doing a public records request.

Our web site needs to be revamped to make it easy to find information. Residents should be able to sign up for calendar event reminders and mailing lists on all key departments as well as general events. And we should have emergency alerts for TV and phones for any significant and time-sensitive local alerts.