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Snohomish City Of Edmonds Council Position #1

The City Council is the legislative body for the City. The Council adopts local laws (ordinances) to secure the safety and assist the well-being of the city residents, the city's physical environment and amenities, and the city economy. The Council is responsible for approving financial expenditures and adopting the city budget as well as establishing policies and regulations in order to guide the city's future. The elected mayor serves as chief administrative officer for the city.
  • Kristiana Johnson (NP)

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    Josh Thompson (NP) Legislative Aide, Snohomish County Council

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Biographical Information

What are the issues surrounding your city/town's infrastucture?

How do you think your city/town could best respond to homelessness?

What is your commitment to senior citizens?

How do you think your city/town should approach legal and illegal immigration issues?

What are other major issues facing your city or town?

Of those listed above, which one is the most urgent?

What methods will you use to work with the mayor (if you have an elected mayor) or the city manager or administrator(if you have an chief administrator hired by the council)?

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Phone (425) 778-9539
Town where you live Edmonds
Experience (300 characters max) I have served 5.5 years as a Legislative Aide at the Snohomish County Council. Prior to that, I was General Manager at The Ruins, a Seattle business. I have a Masters in Policy Studies and Bachelor degrees in Political Science and English. I've also been a community activist for almost 15 years.
Access problems are created by an at-grade rail line separating the waterfront from the rest of the city. Current rail traffic blocks waterfront access for at least 90 minutes per day, but the frequency of trains is projected to grow. With businesses, parks, ferry terminal, homes, and Senior Center all on the West side of the tracks, this is a great public safety concern. Investigations that followed tragic fatal incidents in recent years have blocked access to the waterfront for hours. On one occasion, first responders helped as many as 100 people stuck on the waterfront-side to climb through open train cars, including a woman that had gone into labor. The city formed a group to study potential resolutions and an emergency access plan has been created. Long term funding for this $30 million plan has not yet been secured. Another infrastructure challenge for Edmonds is increasing pedestrian safety along roadways, including HWY 99 and the many neighborhoods that have no sidewalks.
We need to increase affordable housing options to prevent those who are on the edge from becoming homeless. We need to continue supporting cold weather shelters during the winter and partner with organizations that donate services, supplies, clothing, and things such as photo identification, mailbox and email addresses for those trying to find work. While the creation of low-barrier and no-barrier housing options are more of a regional issue due to costs, Edmonds could do more to partner with other south county cities, the county, and the state to help bring this type housing to our area. We can’t talk about homelessness without also addressing the issues of untreated health, mental health, and addiction issues. While not all homeless people are burdened by these other issues, many individuals have multiple challenges that need to be addressed along with finding them a place to live. I will not support legislation that effectively makes being homeless illegal and punishable.
We must support programs and services that promote independent living, social and civic engagement, and healthy aging to make a positive difference in the lives of older adults – especially those with disabilities and mobility issues. I have supported the Edmonds Senior Center and Senior Services of Snohomish County (Homage) for years and will continue to do so. At the Edmonds Senior Center general meeting this spring, I enjoyed a video presentation about a new initiative that brought seniors together with Edmonds-Woodway High School teens to work on an after-school drama project. I believe there should be more of these types of projects, as the integration of various age groups is beneficial to all involved. I’m pleased that the new Senior Center will be both multi-generational and have a community-building focus.
I agree with recent actions by the city council to reaffirm that Edmonds is a welcoming, safe city, one that supports all who live and visit here. While immigration reform is long overdue at a national level, local law enforcement has stated repeatedly that it is counterproductive to have our neighbors live in fear of deportation because it leads to crimes going unreported, potential witnesses being unwilling to help with investigations, and increased victimization of our immigrant population.
One of the major issues facing our city is the lack of affordable housing. As housing prices skyrocket throughout the region, Edmonds is becoming unaffordable for many young families and retirees on fixed incomes. To be a strong, organic city, rather than just a suburb of Seattle, we need to promote an economically diverse population. People that work in Edmonds ought to be able to live here too. Seniors must not be priced out of their homes. Another concern is the strengthening our local economy. While the majority of city revenue comes from property tax, there are numerous taxing districts that also get their funding this way as well. Coupled with increases in local sales tax, there is a breaking point on the horizon for many families and those on fixed incomes. Growing and diversifying our local economy is the best way to lessen the reliance on property tax, while increasing revenue stability during times of economic recession.
I believe that affordable housing levels may be the most urgent issue facing our city because it overlaps with so many others: stable housing for seniors, young families, and economically depressed populations; accommodating growth by building along transit lines so that an increased population doesn’t overburden our infrastructure or drastically change the character of single-family neighborhoods; and to encourage an economically diverse city so that people who work here can also afford to live here. Increasing affordable housing levels also has urgency because it takes time to build and it takes time for the increased housing to slow rising costs within the larger market, while the opposite (a lack of housing and inflated prices) can happen much more quickly. We’ve seen what can happen in cities like Seattle, who’ve gotten years behind where they need to be in their levels of available housing.
I have a good relationship with the mayor, having interacted with him for years in my capacity as a Legislative Aide and having been appointed by him to the Mayor’s Climate Protection Committee. It is important to treat the people you work with in a manner that is both respectful and professional. I believe that even when we disagree on an issue, the end product is made better by that conflict of ideas. I do not believe the public is being well served when elected officials use political stunts and hyperbole during the policy process. The two women who mentored me during my political and government service (former State Rep. Mary Helen Roberts and current County Councilmember Stephanie Wright) both approached their work in a studious manner, always seeking the best possible outcomes, and building relationships based on respect for their office, the people they work with, and the people they serve. They are who I’ve learned from and hope to emulate as a councilmember. logo


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