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King County City of Lake Forest Park Council Position No. 6

The City Council is the legislative body for the City. The Council adopts local laws (ordinances) to secure the safety and assist the well-being of the city residents, the city's physical environment and amenities, and the city economy. The Council is responsible for approving financial expenditures and adopting the city budget as well as establishing policies and regulations in order to guide the city's future. The elected mayor serves as chief administrative officer for the city.

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  • Tom French

  • Candidate picture

    Tracy Furutani

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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Town where you live Lake Forest Park
Experience (300 characters max) See question below.
I have lived in Lake Forest Park for 15 years, volunteered in our schools, pulled ivy in our Five Acre Woods, served on the Water District Advisory Committee. I am a scientist, earning a PhD in Geological Sciences at the University of Washington and an MS in Chemistry from Stanford. I have been a science educator, teaching climate change at North Seattle College for 25 years. I am a small business owner, teaching rocket science to high school students who would otherwise not have that opportunity. I have also been an officer of the American Federation of Teachers Local 1789 participating in negotiations and other duties. All of these experiences have given me the skills to be able to thoroughly research the issues that may come up to the City Council, think critically about the various laws and codes that need to be scrutinized, and listen and work with the community of Lake Forest Park to move forward to bring our city into the next phase of sustainable change.
LFP is a unique town. Only 20 minutes away from a major city, it still serves as a respite of verdant beauty that collectively as a community we value highly. We are now at another crossroads of development. We can chose to build ourselves up in the same way as other cities have, or we can choose to be different, hold on to that which keeps us unlike anyplace else. In this day and age of climate crisis, we can lead other municipalities by practicing purposeful growth in the direction of sustainability. My vision for the Town Center would be to open up the creek and allow green walkways through the hardscape. We can make sure the buildings are built as energy generating, LEED platinum certified buildings that can also be a hub for “green” businesses. Affordable housing could be built, that is off set by market rate housing, and finally, I feel strongly that we maintain a community space that the Third Place Commons has been doing so well.
Communication between the council and the residents will be key in implementing my vision. Sustainable development would require changes to the city’s building codes that will require clear explanations and continued dialogue with the community to gain support. Throw in the limited resources the city has from not having much of a tax base, and the ability to implement this vision will require some careful prioritizing of projects.
My family moved to Lake Forest Park because of its environment and how a city could exist among streams and forests. Up until now, our city, as well as other cities, has not had to take a hard stance on environmental issues, yet, because we are in a climate crisis, this needs to change. Our town has been ahead of the times because we as a community embrace nature. We have stream keepers, and stewards of the land all of which have helped us preserve our ability to drink water from a natural aquifer. Times have changed, however, and our city now has a responsibility to draft ordnances and evaluate developments to maintain what our community values as well as what we need to do to mitigate climate change.
Our city, I believe, has done quite well with its infrastructure as it is. However, depending on which Town Center redesign plan is approved, there is the potential for thousands more residents. This would affect our city’s infrastructure immensely. There are concerns about the increase in traffic and congestion, especially where the two state highways meet. With more cars comes more cut through traffic and more wear and tear on our roads, and pollution that eventually ends up in our streams. There would also need to be more police and other first responders for the number of new residents, and the school district would be impacted as well.
This is a topic I do not have a lot of background in, so I will need to do significant research to speak with authority on this issue. According to North Urban Human Services Alliance, the North King County area in general does not have a good count of the homeless population, so a place to start would be to get good data on the topic: not just numbers, but also demographics and needs. Given this, one area our city could organize citizen participation in the Point in Time Counts that King County has. We could also organize fundraisers for Mary’s Place that is right in Kenmore. Finally, we could partner with Rex Hohlbein’s program called “Facing Homelessness.”
This is another topic I have not done specific research on. Lake Forest Park is participating in the Compassionate Cities campaign, in which all people are welcomed regardless of immigration status. I support this approach. I also thought that Police Chief Steve Sutton has been a remarkable leader in being clear as how his department would treat people in our city and not ask if people are legal immigrants. I also am aware of LFP residents who are being proactive in talking with the new police chief to make sure that he will also have the same integrity around this issue as Chief Sutton had. Finally, although I do not know the specifics of how Lake Forest Park’s laws are around legal and illegal immigration, I myself come from an immigrant background where my extended family who are of Japanese descent were interned into concentration camps during WWII. Given my experience, I will be able to offer a perspective that currently does not exist on the council.
The communication between the neighborhoods and the city council has been not as effective as it could be. Part of the issue is that the process of the public comment portion of council meetings is one directional. Citizens, who have issues that are very important to them, only have three minutes to speak and then wonder if they were heard because there is not the ability to have a dialog, or even an acknowledgement of what was said. In light of that issue, I would like to see regularly scheduled “town hall” type of meetings where the residents could speak to their representatives and receive a reply. Further, the council could form neighborhood groups (similar what Shoreline has done) that would be empowered to bring specific neighborhood concerns to city council meetings.