Town where you live
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.
Town where you live
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.