Town where you live
Lake Stevens, Washington 98258
Experience (300 characters max)
Educator, community volunteer, candidate for NC State House, Board member of Hispanic League, winner of Winston-Salem Foundation Volunteer Award, Hanes Brand Award winner, Coordinator of two Library campaigns in Lake Stevens, Coordinator of Cocoon House Cooks in Everett.
Both as a teacher and a volunteer, I have always sought to enrich the community where I live. I was taught the importance of civic duty as a child. My father’s work as President of our Borough Council taught me that we are responsible for helping our neighbors when we see a need, always. As a founding member of the Down Syndrome Congress in Maryland, as a Neighborhood Director of Girls Scouts in Florida, as a member of an organization in North Carolina that promoted dialog among races, as a Board member of the Hispanic League in North Carolina, as a volunteer at Cocoon House in Everett, as a supporter of the Library YES campaign in Lake Stevens, I have always sought to help wherever I am able, to improve the lives of my community. Serving on City Council demands that you understand what the residents of Lake Stevens need you to do. I have already spoken to over 2000 people at their doorways. My platform is based on what they are telling me to do.
I want to see a city where there are safe walkways everywhere, where we have creative approaches to housing so that both seniors and young people educated in our excellent schools can afford to stay in the town they love. I would love to see civic investment in a multi-use building, such as a library, senior center and community center in one at the Market Place/99th Ave. NE area where the city already owns property. And, I would advocate for environmentally sensitive approaches in our building projects as well as providing more green space for our residents to enjoy the beauty of our community. Continuing to improve the water quality of our lake and streams would also be a goal.
While much that has been done to enhance the lives of residents in Lake Stevens has been positive, growth and high property taxes create a burden on our citizens that makes it challenging to provide the infrastructure we so desperately need in our city. Many residents define Lake Stevens as a bedroom community. Until we overcome the difficulty of traveling to work in Everett and Seattle on our outdated trestle, we cannot bring businesses to Lake Stevens. Commercial businesses like Costco, Michaels and Target bring in revenue to Lake Stevens from other municipalities, of course. But we also need professional jobs to be available here, so that residents can, not only live in Lake Stevens but, also work here.
Lake Stevens has a unique situation in that the town surrounds the largest lake in Snohomish County. Our lake is surrounded by hills, so the effluent from streams and watersheds creates a challenge to us to protect the quality of the water in our lake. We also have wetlands and salmon streams to protect as we continue to develop the available land in our community. With development, we need to be vigilant as to the deforestation of lands that are being built upon. I believe that, if there is the will on our City Council to protect habitats and to require vigilance on the part of developers to be cognizant of that need, we will do a better job of saving trees and wetlands than we appear to be doing at this time. We need to expect more from developers who cut down old growth trees, particularly. The air we breathe depends on those trees. I also have become aware of the widespread use of Roundup in Lake Stevens, a known carcinogen. This needs to be addressed.
When I speak with residents, I hear that roads are in dire need of repair and a serious lack of sidewalks are the two things that most impact their daily lives. Lake Stevens is certainly challenged in the development of roads as many of the roads, particularly down near the lake, were intended for a town 1/10 the size of our current municipality. Because of the topography of hills and narrow roads, a need for drainage along those roads and, truthfully, little space to broaden those streets, the solution will be difficult and, no doubt, expensive. Sidewalks are actually, the greater need, in my estimation. Currently, we are putting our children’s lives at risk every school day because they have to walk along the side of busy roads to go to and from schools and parks. This is a hazard we must do all we can to correct.
When residents talk with me regarding the homelessness issue, I am able to give them one piece of good news. Our County Human Services staff is working in tandem with our Lake Stevens Police Department to practice intervention with folks that either the police or the sheriff’s department encounter. They assess the person’s situation and offer some possible solutions, whether counseling, medical care, temporary housing, etc. This is an improvement over jailing people, which is expensive for us all and does nothing to improve the situation for the homeless person or for our community. One aspect of homelessness is invisible, however. That is the number of people who are ‘couch surfing’ at the homes of friends and relatives because they cannot afford to pay rent in Lake Stevens. Too many of these folks are teens. A serious assessment of kinds of housing available to residents in Lake Stevens needs to be made. This might also help with the issue of homelessness.
A municipal government is not equipped to address immigration issues. As a Sanctuary State, Washington has assumed that responsibility. However, I would hope that Lake Stevens would make sure that the needs of all its residents would be taken into account. We should make sure that those who work in Lake Stevens have safe working conditions, regardless of their status. We should make sure that the tenor of our government is one of inclusion.
Communication with citizens of Lake Stevens and responsiveness to citizens’ concerns are two areas that are exacerbated by the facts that we have no town newspaper and are thus reduced to social media to get the word out. I would actively seek the rejuvenation of our Lake Stevens’ Ledger and would also have someone on staff whose main function is to reach out to residents to make sure their voices are heard and that issues addressed in social media are responded to. I also would have more open discussions at City Council meetings and encourage community forums. Our young people would benefit from such forums because they would have the opportunity to learn at an early age the importance of civic engagement. Residents need to know they are being heard. They also need to get a better sense that the City Council is taking their concerns into account. I am glad that there are efforts being made for a digital way to communicate with the city. This would help.
Town where you live
Experience (300 characters max)
I currently serve on the Lake Stevens City Council for 8 years. Prior to being on the council, I served twenty years in the Navy. I have also attained the qualification of Certified Municipal Leader from the Association of Washington Cities. I have served as the
I currently hold the office and have so for eight years. During my eight years in office. I have served on the city's Budget and Operations Subcommittee. I have served as the Arts Commission, Library Board, and Fire Commission liaison. I have attained the Certified Municipal Leadership qualification from the Association of Washington Cities and am nearly complete with the advanced certification. I have volunteered in my community as a member of the Snohomish County Citizens Advisory Board on Developmental Disabilities, Assistant Scout Master, and a Special Olympics coach.
I served twenty years in the Navy, serving in various leadership positions. I have worked in stressful situations which called upon me to utilize my training and knowledge in emergency situations.
I want to a city that progresses with the times while maintaining the unique character that we all enjoy. I want to help create a city that is healthy and a great place to raise a family, start a business, or come to recreate. I want to continue focus on ensuring the city remains a safe and friendly place to live. I want to continue our projects that open the lake to everyone, not just the few that can afford million dollar homes. We need to define Lake Stevens identity, continue our connection with other cities, and stimulate more business development in our community.
Some of our obstacles is the lack of build-able land which impairs having more affordable housing, the inventory will never reach a level to cause an effect in the supply vs demand. The city has a fiscal issue when it comes to affording to provide expanded services. As a bedroom community with limited commercial development, we are dependent on property taxes as the primary source of revenue. The state highways that our residents commute on are not able to handle current and future capacity. In my next term, I will continue to work with State and Federal Legislators to invest in our local transportation infrastructure which will increase our neighbors quality of life.
I am committed to increasing community health, sustainability and supporting local efforts to lessen our negative impacts on the environment. Lake Stevens is a beautiful city that surrounds the lake which covers approximately 1,000 acres. Water enters from all points along the shore; however, major contributing watersheds include Lundeen and Stevens Creeks in the north and Stitch Lake in the south. We have invested in out city's stormwater utility to provide aquatic resource restoration, surface and storm water quality and environmental monitoring, and natural surface water drainage system planning. I recently approved a study involving evaluating and analyzing data to confirm flooding and fish habitat problems related to lake level management and/or downstream conveyance of surface water from the outlet of Lake Stevens.
The Hwy-2/Hewitt Ave Trestle is an on-going issue with regards to it's ability to carry the appropriate amount of traffic, also Hwy-9 is incapable of handling the rising amount of vehicles on our local roads. Ensure our built environment is one of the safest, most environmentally responsible and well maintained in the Pacific Northwest
The city needs to work towards a "complete street" program so our citizens have all options when it comes to transportation. Our issue for this in funding, the city has limited revenue to expand our transportation infrastructure. Lake Stevens should consider how to engage the community when developing our complete street policy. The engagement process should include an education component whereby elected officials, municipal employees, and residents obtain information from experts on policy development and implementation. Workshops give community participants an opportunity to learn, express concerns, and provide suggestions about their municipality
Our city does not have a major issue with homelessness. The city has the same program as Arlington and Marysville do with an embedded social worker. We work to connect any and all homeless persons with services they need. We also enforce and obey all laws and regulations by federal and state legal officials. Our police department have reported of several success stories of the efforts of the embedded social worker program. The city has also entered into an agreement with our local Food Bank for the city to lease office/conference space for use by local social service organizations.
The city has created a homeless encampment ordinance to comply with state law and to provide churches with the ability to practice their freedom of religion. We treat all with dignity and respect, so that those who are homeless understand that we hope for their ability to recover from whatever is causing their homelessness.
Immigration issues are not a major issue within my city, we see little-to-no illegal immigration issues. I believe our city should simply follow the rule of law. I am not in a position to directly change immigration laws or policies, I am a member of a small city council and therefore cannot put our city any form of legal jeopardy. As long as we follow laws in accordance with the oath I took, then all else works out. Everyone with Lake Stevens should always be treated with respect and dignity at all times.
The best way to communicate with citizens is in-person. I know that social media is becoming the means of communications but seems that less are willing to communicate effectively this way. I prefer person-to-person communications. A weekly newsletter/press communications would be a great idea, so citizens can get updates on projects and programs the city is conducting.
I am also looking into setting up remote/temporary information desks at local grocery stores or other locations where citizens shop and hangout so we can take city ideas and program information to them.
The city should setup a YouTube Channel, where City Council meetings are shown live and other events and happenings around the city can be filmed for communications and marketing purposes. The city is also in the midst of a branding and wayfinding study. We will be branding city districts which will provide greater pride in our local neighborhoods.