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Benton County City of Richland Council Position 1

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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  • Candidate picture

    Lillian (Randy) Slovic
    (NP)

  • Candidate picture

    Bob Thompson
    (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?

Phone (509) 420-4756
Email randy@friendsofrandyslovic.com
Town where you live Richland, Washington
Experience (300 characters max) Legislative staff in both U.S. Senate and U.S. House, Information Specialist, U.S. Department of Agriculture, partner in a family-owned commercial property business, worked with husband in a family-owned oil business, trained in wetland delineation and aquatic insect identification.
I worked on Capitol Hill for a U.S. Senator. I left that office to become legislative director, a position few women held at the time, for a United States Congressman. While I worked for the Congressman, he served on the Agriculture Committee, the Veterans’ Committee, the Interior Committee and the Armed Services Committee. I worked with Vietnam veterans, farmers, environmentalists, members of labor unions and city and county officials. Later, I worked with my husband in a family-owned oil business which is now close to 100 years old.. I have been a partner in a family-owned commercial property business. I am trained in wetland delineation and experienced in storm water management issues. For the past three years I have introduced 5th graders to the world of aquatic insects at the annual Salmon Summit. My home garden is a Benton County Conservation District Heritage Garden and I share my knowledge of xeriscape with different groups from throughout the area.
In my vision Richland will have community activities that families can enjoy like we do now. Our parks will continue to be the best and we will preserve more areas along the Columbia River for leisure activities. Richland will be more pedestrian and biker friendly. The city core will have a mix of residential and commercial buildings with safe, easy access to the nearby park corridor. The streets will be quiet and people will be able to stroll to restaurants and shops without dodging speeding traffic. We won’t have big vacant lots and many empty buildings where businesses have failed. Children will not have to cross 6 lanes of speeding traffic to get to school.
The biggest obstacle is that George Washington Way turns into a super highway at the times of the day when traffic is coming and going to the Hanford site. The street separates our urban core from our park system and our wonderful river asset. Before my vision can be realized something must be done to improve the connection between the city core and the riverfront.
Poorly planned sprawl development contributes to both water pollution and air pollution, yet more sprawl development is approved while city core properties sit empty. Richland can protect its wetland and water resources by assuring that improper development does not send contaminated non-point source pollution into them. The area has frequent health warnings about air pollution. The city most work with its biggest employers to reduce the amount of auto exhaust pollution.
The roads can’t carry the number of cars going to Hanford so many of them are spilling over into residential streets and impacting the quality of life for the residents there. In new areas, wide residential roadways make it easy for motorists to speed through neighborhoods. Storm water runs off impervious surface untreated straight into the waterways in some locations. Some areas have no sidewalks. Sidewalks in high traffic areas are too narrow. Crosswalks in some places still have outdated flags to wave to cross multiple lanes of traffic. Bike lanes are fragmented and sometimes don't meet recommended widths. Aging sanitary sewers and water lines in the older areas need monitoring and replacement .
I have visited many neighborhoods in the city and almost 2000 homes. I have heard from some residents that rent was outpacing their ability to pay. One gentleman was living on $1200 a month in Social Security and was paying a big portion of that for modest housing. Yet, he said he was denied subsidized housing because his income was too high. Others have said that no subsidized housing was available when they applied. These are people on the brink of homelessness. For these people we need more affordable housing. Just a block from me I know that people are camping, unseen, along the rivers edge. Park Rangers offer to help but many refuse the help. Representatives for My Friends’ Place tell me that some of the young men check out of there in the summer and go to parts unknown, perhaps to the river’s edge near me. Homelessness is a multifaceted problem and solving it requires many different types of services. There's no simple fix
I believe that immigration is a federal issue. The city must be color and ethnicity blind and treat everyone with tolerance and compassion.
The City Council can facilitate citizen participation by assuring that meeting times are accurately listed in public announcements and all items to be discussed are included in the agendas. City Council members must provide office hours, like other similar-sized cities, to meet with residents one-on-one to hear concerns and answer questions. In addition, Walking Town Halls in Richland neighborhoods that include council members, staff, and residents would provide additional opportunities to share ideas. The City Council members need to leave their seats and walk in the neighborhoods. In addition, city boards and commissions can benefit from the additional perspectives provided by a more diverse membership.
Phone (509) 547-4011
Email BThompson@CI.RICHLAND.WA.US
Town where you live Richland, Washington
Over thirty years working in/around municipal government. Instrumental securing funding for the Richland Causeway and Bypass Soundwall. Proven ability in working with diverse groups to secure mutually agreeable outcomes. Provided guidance in lowering property taxes by increasing sales tax revenue by opening up the Columbia Point/Queensgate developments. Kept the cost of living down by ensuring city services are lower than other local governments. Has worked diligently on Hanford cleanup issues, keeping both the State and Federal governments on track to provide the community a safer environment. Active on President’s Environmental Management Committee tasked with solving nuclear cleanup issues. Past President of The Benton/Franklin Health Board, the Energy Communities Alliance, the Hanford Communities and Manhattan National Park Committee. Worked on many local projects that include Children’s hospital, Wine fete for the developmental center and more. 4 term elected mayor by city council
Continue improving the community for people of all ages and backgrounds. The Richland City Council has created a vision for the city which will continue to make the city more livable while keeping a strong dependable economy. Richland needs to continue to diversify its economy from Hanford cleanup and needs to continue to work with its partners in the business community as well as those partners in local government. Richland has lead the way in creating regional dialogues to address local concerns and solutions. Richland needs to continue to work with its tribal partner, the CUTIR, in cultural and economic projects that can benefit Richland’s residents and the Tribal Nation. Richland needs to continue providing a safe and secure community and maintain its extensive Park and recreation facilities.
The City of Richland like America can accomplish anything we focus on to make us a better community. The only reason that the city might not accomplish the goal of a better community is if we get bogged down on issues not essential to municipal government. Local governments role is to provide for the safety of its citizens, provide cost effective essential services like water, sewer electrical and waste disposal. To do so, the city shouldn’t get distracted by taking on projects that have questionable utility to all the citizens. Keeping living wage jobs through continued Hanford funding gives a citizens a better living standard. Efforts at social engineering that takes city employees from completing their essential missions will necessarily reduce quality of life while raising taxes.
The city of Richland encourages the public and its businesses to conserve energy, water and limit their disposal needs. Richland should continue to reduce its carbon footprint by encouraging the use of all sources of renewable energy. Richland has been blessed with abundant water, solar, wind and nuclear energy which assists us with environmental assistance. The city continues to protect its wetlands and other sensitive areas by balancing their preservation without eliminating the communities growth. Proper stewardship will continue to protect our environment.
The cities infrastructure is aging. The Citizens were essentially handed the keys to the City in 1958. Prior to that the federal government provided services to the residents of Richland. The city council has recognized the need to rehabilitate its aging infrastructure and has budgeted accordingly. Recently, the city council decided to bite the bullet and create a transportation district to provide additional funding to restore our deteriorating arterial streets. The work on restoring our city streets can be seen throughout the city. Such work can be a nuisance but it will increase the ease of which citizens can get from one area of the city to another thereby enhancing the livability of the city and increasing productivity. As these roads are renewed it provides the city with the opportunity to replace aging water and sewer lines. The City has been able to open a much needed city hall that replaced 50 year old, asbestos infused non ADA non compliant building with a new structure.
Richland has been very fortunate to not have a lot of social ills that can lead to homelessness. Poor economic opportunities, mental issues and drug addiction can all contribute homelessness. Traditionally, churches and service agencies and clubs assisted in alleviating homelessness as an issue. I worry that creating a greater bureaucracy to assist the homeless can magnify the problem. Creating large agencies to assist the homeless have failed in major west coast cities like Seattle, Portland and San Francisco. These agencies while attempting to alleviate suffering have effectively destroyed the livability for its homeowner citizens. I would hope that the City not follow that path.
Richland has a diverse population and its diversity continues to grow. I believe that encouraging legal immigration is more beneficial to a healthy community. I do not believe Richland should be a sanctuary city. Non citizens who become incarcerated for serious crimes should be reported to federal agencies. Illegal immigration is a complicated issue in the United States. My view is somewhat economic in that we shouldn’t abandon U.S. citizens because we can get cheaper labor from undocumented immigrants. Why people choose to abandon Americans in need is a sad commentary. Every dollar that goes into social services or wages to a non citizen is a dollar taken away from a citizen. We should not benefit a non citizen at the expense of Americans.
The Richland City Council should be as transparent as possible. Council televises its meetings, engages with its citizen advisory groups and sends out flyers in its utility billings to keep citizens informed. Citizens are encouraged to contact council members via email. The usage of social media has had mixed results. Platforms like Twitter and Facebook fall prey to trolls and agenda driven individuals. I find it difficult to respond to ideologically driven comments that have little to do with city government. All cities struggle with the transparency in communication with their citizens, it continues to be a work in progress.