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I was chosen to fill a vacancy on the Sequim City Council shortly after the last election. Since that time I have been active on the council and helping Sequim become better prepared in the event of a major emergency.
Many thanks to the League of Women Voters of WA for this Website!
Consistent with Sequim’s vision statement of maintaining a friendly small-town lifestyle and a high quality of life, our Citizens must be able to successfully navigate Sequim’s streets and pathways. Sequim has a computer model to analyze the condition of roads and project the most cost-effective time to make various levels of repair. However, it is equally important that those who are not driving can get around town, safely, using paths and bike lanes.
This Sequim City Council 2016-2017 has priorities which include carrying out the transportation plan, and renewing the transportation benefit district. Both, directly impact roads and pathways. We are also investigating ways to integrate private streets into the city infrastructure plan without adding an additional burden to Sequim taxpayers.
In addition to this, Sequim’s Guy Cole center has been updated and reopened. We are currently exploring better ways to utilize the buildings that used to house Sequim City workers.
Homelessness is a national problem. In Clallam County, we have 30% of the county renting with an estimated hourly mean renter wage of $10.00 per hour which would require 1.8 people working 40 hours per week to afford a $520 rental. Minimum wage jobs are rarely 40 hours per week.
Adding Drug addiction and Mental Illness to the economics of housing requires a comprehensive approach. In talking with our local experts, such as Peninsula Behavioral Health and Serenity House - who has been successful in moving people off the streets – because each individual’s situation is different, each needs a customized plan.
Because of the complexity, I think that Sequim should work through agencies that have a proven track record of success, rather than try to address the problems unilaterally. This would also include supporting local economic development. When the Governor spoke to us at AWC, he explained that basic needs for people to stay off drugs were to have a job, safe housing, and a friend.
In a community like Sequim, Senior Citizens are not a marginalized minority. Because of the vary active role they play in the community – including their many hours of volunteer work – our community is much richer and more vibrant.
I think the best commitment we can make is to be sure their special needs are considered in all aspects of our enterprises, bearing in mind that just because one’s physical prowess may diminish with age, wisdom continues to grow. Coupling that wisdom with our young people’s energy can be our best synergy.
When these issues first became prominent, I asked how our City handles immigration issues. In Sequim, immigration status is not a factor in how citizens are treated by our Police or our City Staff. Immigration officials in our area work independently, which is the preferred method advocated by the ACLU. I am satisfied with this local approach and do not like to see ourselves embroiled in expensive legal battles that would not impact local policy.
I am an advocate for fairness in pricing City services, so that those who use more, pay for them. Toward that end, I would like to see our water and sewer billing better reflect actual use. As a Tax Aide volunteer, we do taxes for single elderly people who are living on very low Social Security payments. While the City has a program in place where they can apply for price breaks, not everyone knows about it or would like to apply for this type of assistance. Because they use less water and sewer than an average Sequim household, I think they not be billed the higher average rate.
Having lived in Christchurch, New Zealand during their earthquakes, the effects of an earthquake on the community are very real to me. As a result, I have been a strong advocate of Sequim becoming better prepared. While I am pleased with the recent progress, I will continue to advocate for cost effective preparedness for Sequim and our larger Area 5.
Additionally, Crime and potable water need our focus.
Urgent implies time sensitive. One of the major challenges for me is that anything that Government does seems too slow to me. Because I think all the Sequim City Council Priorities are Important we need to work on all of them concurrently. We have broken down Council Priorities by Short-term, Mid-term and Long-term, more on our ability to effect change, than relative importance.
I think that good Government looks far down the road. For instance, we do not need more potable water yet, but in our dry climate some day we will. We need to plan for it now.
Sequim has an excellent city manager in Charlie Bush, with whom I have been working since appointed after the last election; phoning him, e-mailing him, seeing him at various meetings, and for an hour each month in our regularly scheduled one-on-one meetings. When we identify issues, we talk about how to take them to Staff (Charlie does that,) or to Council, usually introduced for the good of the order.