Town where you live
Experience (300 characters max)
I have my Bachelors degree in Business Administration, am a Small Business owner and have been a Clark Public Utilities employee for nearly 15 years being an advocate for the public. I have 20+ years living disabled which gives a new and unique perspective to city council.
The first being the I-5 Bridge and corridor. The I-5 corridor runs from Mexico to Canada and is a major cargo route for goods and commodities. The I-5 Bridge itself which separates Oregon and Washington, is over 100 years old. The structure of the bridge is unsafe and if there were any type of natural disaster, the I-5 Bridge would crumble and cause devastation itself. This is both unsafe and dangerous for both the City of Vancouver and Portland’s livelihood, along with both states and federal commerce.
The second infrastructure issue is our education system and schools. This is a state funding issue, however, the two school districts within the city of Vancouver combine for a 10% drop out rate. Our schools just like many other schools in Washington State are overcrowded and underfunded. Our youth is important to the citizens of Vancouver and this has recently been demonstrated. Local voters approved a $458 million bond measure in early 2017;
The homelessness issue is one of the largest issues facing our city. We are moving in the right direction however, taking too long. Previously Clark County and the City of Vancouver have a broken relationship that is critical. Clark County and the City of Vancouver have valuable resources we are using but without communicating resources are overlapping and not being used cost effectively. I feel if the Clark County Commission and Vancouver City Council could set aside their differences they may be able to start working cohesively again as a team. Vancouver will have $6 million dollars each year for the next six years (Prop1 funds) for low income and affordable housing. The combination of the increased supply, affordable housing, and cost-effective use of resources through teamwork between the city, the county, and non-profit or faith based organizations, we as a community can make a visual difference in our cities homelessness population.
Senior citizens are one of our more valuable assets. Their wisdom, knowledge, and experience is priceless. As a disabled individual myself, I use a wheelchair for mobility. My platform for my campaign being “Equal Access for All” I am already committed to addressing mobility complications that come with age. I have been attending monthly C-Tran (public transportation system) board meetings with intent of becoming one of the elected board members from Vancouver City Council on the C-Tran board. Public transportation is such an important aspect to the quality of life for both seniors and the disabled and everyone should have equal access to transportation, seniors and disabled included. I have also been attending the Accessible Transportation Coalition Initiative (ATCI) group meetings. An agency that works with Clark County and Southwest Washington to become more connected and accessible for seniors and people with disabilities.
In my opinion, if someone is living in Vancouver without legal status, but is not causing havoc to society or on our judicial system: meaning not a career criminal and zero felonies, we should continue to let them live in peace. If someone is working to provide for their family or going to school to better themselves why should we stand in the way. We should not be using valuable time or resources in such a manner. For those already in the United States we should get/have a path to citizenship.
The expensive cost of rent, shortage on the supply of housing, drug addiction, mental illness, parking availability in downtown Vancouver and the uptown village.
Each of the above listed issues have their own since of urgency. However, I feel if we were to focus on the shortage supply of housing, in combination with strategic planning, we can help with several of the other issues as well. While building more houses and increasing the supply we can work with Proposition 1 funds which will help with affordable housing. We can include inclusionary zoning and focus on rehabilitation housing for addiction or housing dedicated to mental illness. For addictions or mental illness this is a needed safe place where the process of programs to get help can begin. Including inclusionary zoning and building throughout the city will help alleviate the parking issues in downtown Vancouver and the uptown village.
I will continue to keep open lines of communication to find common ground. As I have already demonstrated my willingness and ability to build partnerships with not only the current city council members, the other candidates in our election, the Clark County commissioners, and neighboring cities elected officials; I will continue this work approach with the with our city manager.
Town where you live
Experience (300 characters max)
My professional career began as a successful teacher and principal. I have served as Executive Director of Divine Consign, a small business on Main Street, and have served our community through nonprofit boards, city committees and volunteer work since moving here in 1995.
The infrastructure of a city is the undergirding that makes the city thrive and prepares for healthy growth into the future. The City has made great strides in the last few years to make up for the essential services lost during the recession. Funding strategies to address funding to bring police services to recommended levels and to support transportation improvements have been put in place.
Our greatest challenge currently is affordable housing for homeless, low-income and first time home owners. The City has been proactive in seeking solutions to increase availability of safe, attainable homes for seniors, families, and veterans.
Planning and Zoning must ensure adequate residential and light industrial land is available to meet growing needs which leads to ability to attract jobs.
We must be mindful as we as we manage growth to protect our quality of life while making space for next generations
Insufficient income and lack of affordable housing has increased homelessness in Vancouver and across the country. Vancouver has passed a camping ordinance to provide a place to sleep if no shelter is available. It is working with Friends of the Carpenter to operate a day shelter, working with faith based groups on car camping and shelter, hosts a monthly meeting on homeless issues, operates the Affordable Housing Fund and provides fee waivers for the development of housing. And, the City works with social service agencies and community nonprofits to find solutions for housing.
The next step is locating land for critically needed shelters. Best practices cite that once housing is established, opportunities to guide people get into supporting programs follows and skills needed to resolve homelessness can be shared.
Responding to the need for housing for individuals and families is important but of equal import is the preventative measures that need to be in place.
The ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income or ability level is referred too as Aging in Place. The goal of city government should be to work to remove impediments that allow seniors to remain integral, productive members of our community. We must work to allow for the enrichment of a community where young and old live side by side share needs and resources.
Since 2012, Vancouver has had a Commission on Aging to develop best practice strategies to address the community’s capacity to support its aging population. As a city council member, I will support the recommendations of the commission and work to put them in place. The Council is researching changes in public policy regarding zoning issues with Accessory Dwelling Unit as one example of addressing needs of seniors.
I believe the Proclamation of Community Values read at the November 2016 City Council Meeting which spoke to Vancouver being a City that is strengthened by its diversity. The same is true of our entire nation. The proclamation called on each of us to treat one another with respect, dignity and appreciation for our differences. The City of Vancouver must uphold the laws of the land and its own laws while ensuring safety for all people in its boundaries.
Transportation is the backbone of every community. We all depend on reliable, well maintained roads and systems. The ease with which those going to work, the grocery store or school can navigate streets and roads in a timely manner is a critical factor in quality of life of its citizens. Those providing goods and services must be able to move about the highways and arterials. Congestion of Vancouver’s main arterials and intersections is increasing. All of us are spending more time to move around town. Our shoppers, small businesses, students, and visitors need dependable, efficient transportation in order to compete and prosper.
I believe the infrastructure because it is the underlying structure of the city and provides the framework for the entire system to function. It has the highest cost and the greatest challenge for funding. Vancouver has begun to address the shortfall from the recession but mindful, diligent, innovative plans must be put into place and refined as needs change and we plan for the future.
An important tool in that planning with be the conversations held by Vancouver Strong across the community during this next year to determine the quality of city services the community expects.
One of the aspects of the job of city councilor that I most excited about is being part of a team that has passion for its community. The council, mayor, city manager, and city staff leadership share passion for this community. I've had the opportunity to visit with most of them and it is apparent as they share their thoughts. I believe there is a yearning across our nation for government to work together, compromise, and be efficient and effective. I have had many successful experiences bringing people from varying perspectives together to find innovative solutions. I am eager to share those skills and experiences to bring the council together, respecting one another's opinions as we work toward solutions.
Communication is the key to any organization's success. It takes constant vigilance and listening to be successful. I look forward to one-on-one meetings with the mayor and the city manager on a regular basis.