Town where you live
Experience (300 characters max)
-Business and Community Liaison
DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY (DIA)
-Intelligence Officer, focus on Middle East
-Veteran, Arabic Linguist (cryptologic option)
-City of Yakima Exploratory Committee Ethics and Equal Rights
There is an imbalance of recreation facilities between the east and west sides of town. The city is moving forward with several very significant capital projects: SOZO Sports Complex, the Aquatics Center, and the Downtown Plaza. In addition, the city has a very large vacant site which used to be a lumber mill off the freeway. A large freeway entry/exit overpass is being built nearby and a plan for the mill site has yet to be determined. Insufficient road maintenance and street lighting.
Homeless services need to be the best possible solution which works for businesses, tourism, neighborhoods, and the homeless.
Camp Hope is the best solution the city has presented to assist the homeless population in some time. The homeless in the camp feel safe, respected, and well taken care of at the camp. Police calls are drastically less than when the camp was directly across from the police station. The staff are great, including faith based individuals and a former police captain.
There is a lack of quality health care providers in Yakima and there are several reorganizations of hospitals that are happening or have recently happened. With whatever authority City Council has over healthcare, there should be a keen awareness of how decisions affect our seniors and their access to healthcare. Transportation and Meals on Wheels for seniors are important, as are adequate recreational spaces. We can do a better job engaging seniors in volunteer work. Taxes are too high.
The city should comply with federal and state laws, but should not be involved in extrajudicial activity and should not violate the protections against illegal search and seizure. The population of the city is nearly 50% Hispanic - Latin culture is integral to Yakima's character and our Hispanic residents who pay taxes should be included and respected in leadership decisions. Police should cooperate only as federal and state law requires to avoid unnecessary and costly litigation.
We need more citizens engaged in civic activity. The first step is reiterating that the council and city staff are there to provide municipal service, and to provide good service we must actively pursue the citizens’ opinions and respect them without any biases or agendas. Although council people can make decisions on their own, it's best if those decisions are largely driven by citizen observations. Crime, particularly violent crime, is out of hand. Block and Neighborhood Watch is lacking.
Crime is our most urgent issue. The citizens don't feel safe, tourists and people in nearby cities disparage Yakima and use it as the butt of jokes. Our city is often described as: "less than, disjointed, and undesirable location.” Anyone who lives here can see that's not true, but we can certainly improve with better coordination of our aesthetics on main thoroughfares, small business incentives, a downtown core which is more walk-able, better youth programs, and better recreation facilities.
My current job is similar to being the mayor of a small community. I am completely responsible for results and accountability to the US Forest Service, the Department of Labor, federal legislators, and the tax payer. I have served my county for almost 20 years and I have never had the luxury of being uncooperative because of ideological purity or political stances. I am nonpartisan and independent as a person and a leader. I am a consensus builder and an excellent negotiator. I listen.
Town where you live
Experience (300 characters max)
Consulting at a local, state, and regional level with various congressmen, organizations, and education focused networks.
Infrastructure maintenance and having the capacity to expand as our population grows is vital to this community. One issue is around budgetary allocations that provide for a healthy balance of maintenance and improvements. For this reason, I advocate for fiscal responsibility and transparency when making budgetary decisions so that stakeholders and constituents can better understand the tradeoffs that come with decisions that prioritize our infrastructure needs over new investments or new projects.
Homelessness is a result of an individual’s social, mental, emotional, physical, and economic circumstances that the City alone cannot solve without cross-sector support. As a whole council we can look at our ordinances to ensure we are not enacting punitive or restrictive policies that impede the work of those who are working directly to solve the homelessness problem. For example, the City can work with the Yakima Valley Council of Governments to learn about the city-wide network that includes service-providers who work on this issue so that we can be on the same page and work towards change together. The shortage of quality rentals is an issue as are low-quality-high-turnover rentals that can be reviewed to get a better sense of the problem at a system level.
The needs of seniors vary than that of families or singles. The City can work towards inclusivity to encourage integrating the needs of seniors in our decision making processes. For example, Are our sidewalks access friendly? Do we have city-sponsored programming that encourages cross-generational interactions? Do we have enough parking near places that are frequented by seniors so that they can continue to be part of the social fabric of our community?
The immigration laws are set at a federal level, we have some leadership at the state level and I would advocate that as a whole council we evaluate how well the City’s laws are aligned to both State and Federal laws. I would advocate for a balance approach that is representative of the needs of our community, alignment to laws, and doesn’t create a fear-based environment. As a heavy agricultural community, we would benefit from the input of local employers among other stake holders to make decisions in benefit of the entire community.
A major issue in Yakima is the lack of civic engagement. The opportunity to lead at the City level to demonstrate and encourage ways that our constituents can be more civically engaged to create a more cohesive community. For example, our crime rates can be helped if neighborhood watches were encouraged along with fostering communication among neighbors and police. Our community calendar can highlight events where people can come out to learn about each other, share in cross-generational experiences, learn about the implications of policy, cultivation of a voting culture, and invitation to join each other in celebration. We have great work being done through service clubs and nonprofits that could be helpful in fostering civic engagement across sectors.
Civic Engagement is most critical to create enough action to solve problems facing our city. I encourage everyone to see themselves as a stakeholder and participate in their community. Being of service to help around issues of homelessness, back-to-school readiness, senior care, shoveling sidewalks, neighborhood yard care, painting over graffiti, mentoring a youth, join a local nonprofit board, are some of the ways to participate in service to Yakima.
Collaboration is one of the primary ways that I will work on the council. The needs of one district should not be met at the expense of other districts, so working closely to understand impacts, trade-off's, budget costs, and priorities is always top of mind in my interactions with others. I hope to earn your vote and will advocate for the needs of District 6 while working to understand the needs of our community as a whole.