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Walla Walla County City of Walla Walla City Council Position 4 - East Ward

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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    G (Ted) Koehler

  • Candidate picture

    James Powell

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) 525-1820
Town where you live Walla Walla
Experience (300 characters max) As a fourth generation Walla Wallan, this valley’s been my home for more than fifty years. Walla Walla is where my wife Cathy (Zagelow) and I have been lucky enough to raise three children, Zach, Connor and Chloe. My career took root in agriculture, working for D & K Frozen Foods as a mechanic, purc
I’m a person of honesty and integrity. Experienced with community issues and local history. Qualified with career experience and I’m a proven relationship-builder for the betterment of our townspeople. I attend City Council meetings and am up to speed on concerns and challenges Walla Walla currently faces. My list of community involvement is extensive- Walla Walla Planning Commission; Sustainability Committee; Parks, Recreation and Urban Forestry Advisory Board, Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board and Solid waste Advisory Committee (SWAC). Sherwood Trust Leadership Class of 2010, Crime Free Rental Housing, Citizens Academy graduate 2015, Citizens Early Responder Training (CERT), Comprehensive plan walking participant, Commitment 2 Community Advisory Board, Community Council Study participant and Health Center Board of Directors.
I am excited to have this opportunity to represent my neighbors and to serve on city council. Over the past 10 years I have gained a lot of respect for people willing to serve their community in being a member of council. I realize that being on the council is no small commitment of time and energy. I have served on a number of city boards and commissions and learned a lot in the process. Walla Walla is a great place to live, work and play. Together we can grow and thrive in our little town. I would like to continue to implement the recent comprehensive plan updates along with recommendations from the council’s task force on affordable housing recommendations. Focused on communication and partnership opportunities city wide we can improve outcomes on many levels across the city.
I am excited to understand more about city department budgets, timelines, constraints, and challenges.
To encourage participation through incentives, facilitate and partner with other agencies so that recycling, environmental protection are an easy choice for residents, developers, builders and businesses. Encourage city leadership staff to be well versed and educated on the latest standards and regulations around water, waste water and solid waste (best practices)
I’ve observed, commented on, and been impressed with the detail and professionalism of city staff involved in citywide infrastructure repair, “IRRP”, streets sidewalks, sewer and water lines in prioritized order and completed on budget according to plan.
For nearly 20 years I’ve been passionate about affordable housing: as an advocate for comprehensive plan updates and developer incentives, and implementing a task force on housing recommendations, and the Community Council’s recent study recommendations. We can consider successful similar-sized/demographic cities’ best practices for implementation in Walla Walla, and: • Collaborate with local, state, and federal entities, non-profits, community partner, developers, and industry for innovative solutions for additional affordable/workforce housing. • Partner with local entities to create awareness campaign to boost community commitment to ending homelessness and to housing vulnerable populations, engaging folks to be part of the solution. • Encourage increased housing diversity and expansion of home repair programs to keep people in the homes.
With my involvement in the Citizens academy (2015), Citizens Early Responder Training C.E.R.T., and experience as a workplace safety officer, I’m in a position to actively support EMS, police, and fire along with crime-free rental housing, pedestrian and youth safe pathways to schools. I would love to see expanded citywide neighborhood lighting and will work to implement city wide emergency drills.
Actively listen to constituents, council members, and staff and always treat people with respect. Keep a clear head and open mind when engaging entities and individuals battling an issue or project. Research options. Listen to the experts. Play devil’s advocate. Offer reasonable ideas and smart solutions based on my 20 years’ successful experience as a community advocate.
Phone (509) 386-3673
Town where you live Walla Walla
Experience (300 characters max) I have volunteered in my community for over fifteen years with multiple organizations. I have spent the last year and a half with City Development Block Grants which is a city council advisory committee.
My strength is in my volunteer work. As I have previously stated, I have been volunteering in Walla Walla since 2004. For the last five years, I have been volunteering with Commitment to Communities which has given me the opportunity to interact with many of the leaders in our local government and city hall officials. Those relationships have been established and our numerous projects and endeavors are a testament to our success.
In one statement, my objective is to put Walla Walla first. To utilize the resources available to us and lift up our town at every opportunity. I'd like to support having the best public education system possible by bringing in and retaining the best educators, administration and support services available. As an East Ward candidate my duty is to advocate for my constituents as I support and develop a stronger and more vibrant Eastgate business district. I want to see this talented and skilled community be able to afford to purchase homes here, strengthening their roots and ownership of the American dream. Improving and becoming more efficient in the businesses we already do. Our farmers feed the world. As well as for example Key technologies an amazing engineering firm, that sends equipment aground the world. Let's support and grow businesses we already have.
My obstacle is incorporating my ideas into an agenda that is already fairly full and then prioritizing them off of what the people of Walla Walla really need first. As with any situation, the more projects I focus on, the less energy and attention they all receive. All of these endeavors will take a great amount of communication and determination every day and every week until our criteria for success is met and revisiting the tasks from time to time there after. As a councilman, I would have access to more of our cities professionals, which are our greatest resource, to make Walla Walla more efficient and prosperous for everyone.
The cities role on environmental issues is to partner with and lead its citizens and community into a cleaner and healthier future. I believe our local government is addressing this and I feel I can bring that much more of a push to this issue. At a recent city council meeting I was introduced to a system that liquefies trash turning it into a substance called leachate. This new system has been approved to be installed into one of the landfills for starters. In the process the methane gases are collected and scrubbed for use as a biogas to produce energy creating carbon credits. With the human resources available to us in the Corp of Engineers, the professionals the City already employs, the bright minds taking the water treatment program at our community college and universities as well as the people who just flat out care, we can become more efficient, trend setters at the state level if not the country.
The issue surrounding our towns infrastructure is in many things. Our power system is old. We're attempting to fix our bridges such as the one on Spokane street which only received two non competitive bids this Spring. Over seventeen thousand trip hazards have been identified on our sidewalks. Roads that are in bad shape but don't have enough vehicle traffic to be deemed a priority. Roads that have received enough band aid jobs and are due for replacement but the sewer and telecommunications lines underneath the surface are still good and so we wait. Our city workers are doing the best with what they have. Do I believe we can do better? Yes. We are a member county of the Growth Management Act which provides funding from the state for responsible development. With more feedback from the community, we can use this tool to its best capabilities.
That's a very good question and I believe that there are a lot of right answers to this one. First off I would like to start by identifying that not everyone on the street is in the same situation. Some people are just a compromise with their family, and a phone call away from being reunited with their loved ones. Some people have just got a bad break, they're working but are just without a place to call home temporarily but trying to save up. Other people might have mental health issues that make it difficult to function in society. Services are available but most of these individuals don't keep a planner for appointments and a watch for the time. Maybe we could start there. Maybe instead of donating money to an individual you see, donate to an organization like the Christian Aid Center. Affordable housing has been made a priority and I feel like with continued partnership with the community we can definitely get a number of these people off of the streets and contributing once again.
Carefully because not every case is the same. If someone is here working on becoming a citizen, contributing, working and paying taxes like every one else, working to raise their child / children up right, chasing life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, I wish them luck and they're welcome by me. However if someone is here to take advantage of our systems, break our laws with violence and drugs, poisoning our community, well those individuals are not welcome. The whole point is community safety on both sides. On one hand it is knowing who exactly is in our community and for the immigrant, having a voice and the same protections afforded to Americans. Some individuals are only here seasonally or temporarily. The system at the top is not perfect and does take time. I hope that it could be compartmentalized to each state to screen prospective citizens so that these individuals can hit the ground running and be an asset to our community.
I feel like the City is trying. If you are not able to make the meeting, they are also available as podcasts, if I'm not mistaken live. As a citizen that has attended numerous council meetings, I believe the turnout was great when they were being held in our local schools. At the council meeting at the police department in May, there were less than a handful of individuals not on the City payroll. In June after a declaration was read, there were twenty one people in the room. Fourteen were city employees, four were prospective candidates, and three were concerned citizens. Maybe the answer is expanding the cities social media fingerprint, but I believe the meetings and information releases are consistent. The community turns out for the bigger issues like annexation but otherwise entrusts the council and staff to decide on their behalf as they are elected to do.