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Benton County City of Richland Council Position 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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  • Brad Anderson
    (NP)

  • Candidate picture

    Shir Regev
    (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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Email shir@atthetablewithshir.com
What experiences have you had that qualify you for this position? As a former Peace Corps Volunteer and a Navy Veteran I have years of experience working with people who are not like me. I have the tact, patience and ability to listen and discuss issues respectfully. Those are key attributes for public office. I’m a Hanford worker so I have a better understanding than most other of the other candidates and incumbents about the risks impacting a large portion of Richland Residents and also about the dangers to the community if remaining cleanup work is not done safely.
My vision for Richland is forward thinking and inclusive.

I want Richland to be a city where everybody who has the desire and ability to contribute to the fabric of the community is able to come here and be successful regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, veteran/military status, ability, or age.

I want Richland to be known for its pioneering solutions to the issues of homelessness/affordable housing, traffic congestion and climate change. We are the city which helped build the bomb that helped end WWII. We have a legacy of creative know-how and problem solving. Let’s put that brain trust to use and make a city which is the best reflection of us all and the city people of all ages want to come to.
There is reluctance on council right now and in some pockets of the population to accept that the old way of doing business is no longer working and to start thinking about the future as something to embrace and not fear. There is also a mind set on the council that all city government should strive to accomplish is the bare minimum of “keeping the lights on.” This attitude has created a loss of identity while Kennewick and Pasco pass us by with projects like Bridge to Bridge and the Public Market.

Council is also unresponsive to the people. To that end I want to move the city towards district-ed elections for city council. With all seven seats decided at-large we have wound up with a council where 70% of the members live in Meadow Springs/Hills West. They are out of touch with the rest of the city. Entire neighborhoods (ones with some of the poorest infrastructure) are unrepresented.

We need to be at the forefront of fighting climate change. Municipal government has to most direct impact on your day to day. We can and must improve the walkability of our town. The past couple summers we have seen days with ozone advisories. We need to get people to start wanting to leave their cars at home. This starts with better city planning. We have entire pockets of Richland which would qualify as food deserts if people didn't have cars. It's time to bring back neighborhood shops. In central Richland you can still find the old corner shopping "malls" and if they had useful stores many people could walk to do things they normally drive for but now they are medical supply shops and sports awards shops instead of grocers, pharmacies or restaurants.

We also have so many opportunities to create solar farms on the unused roof "real estate" on buildings. While the upfront costs might be steep, the long term benefits of going green cannot be ignored.
For too many years the focus has been on growth for the sake of growth without long term planning. We have more roadway than we can maintain, no carpool/HOV lanes, inadequate/non-existent bike lanes and sidewalks coupled with entire neighborhoods that are far away from basic amenities like grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants and basic clinics. It’s created a city with more congestion than a place with 57,000 should have and a place where it’s hard to live green if you want to.
Let’s start by admitting there is a problem with homelessness. We have a “head in the sand” mentality here so actually looking at homelessness and not away from it is a big thing. I have advocated for Richland to have bicycle cops to ride the trails. You will find several homeless members of our community there. A trained officer would be able to talk to homeless people and try to figure out if they are homeless because of financial strain, mental illness or addiction. Based on that we can work to get our homeless the help they need (be it placement in a job training program like a union apprenticeship, steering them towards mental health services or help overcoming addiction). The city will also have to find a way to create group housing. I don’t know if that comes in the form of a public/private partnership or in the form of cutting a deal to a non-profit willing to build and administer one. I just know what we are doing now is not working.
I won’t beat around the bush. I don’t feel it is the place of the city to cooperate with ICE. Illegal immigration is wrong, but considering what is happening to detained migrants, fighting wrong with wrong is not the solution. To me this is a moral matter.

However, there are also practical concerns. Richland relies heavily on immigrants. A large number of our medical providers at Kadlec and our scientists at PNNL come here from overseas. If the perception is that Richland is not a tolerant, welcoming and respectful city, it will be hard to attract and retain top talent.

Look. At the end of day we all deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.
Let’s start by changing when council meets. Hanford is still the biggest employer in the area. So a big part of the community probably has to wake up at 4:00am to make it to work. A meeting that doesn’t even start until 7:30pm prevents a lot people from participating.

I would also like to see council members hold town halls so people can talk to their elected officials. Right now people are limited to two minutes at a council meeting and it has been mentioned before the city does not actually have to afford members of the public the opportunity to address council at these meetings. It’s time to take the theater out of council meetings and turn them into a place for meaningful exchange.