Change Address

VOTE411 Voter Guide

Whatcom City Of Bellingham Council Ward 6

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.
  • Candidate picture

    Michael Lilliquist (NP) Scientific researcher; college instructor; neuropsychological assessment technician; paralegal

  • Quenby Peterson (NP)

Change Candidates

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)?

Phone (360) 920-2684
Town where you live Bellingham, WA
Experience (300 characters max) Two terms, Bellingham City Council. Community work: Youth mentor, Sunday school teacher, PTA & School Dist. volunteer; Mayor's Neighborhood Adv. Comm, Volunteer for LAW Advocates' Street Law. Board member for: DVSAS, Sust. Connection; Downtown B'ham Partnership; Chamber of Commerce. Assoc WA Cities.
Bellingham is better positioned than most, when it comes to infrastructure. Upkeep and prevention are key. For example, if a road surface fails, the roadbed itself must be repaired at much higher cost. With passage of the TBD, which I supported, we have almost doubled annual spending on arterial repaving. Similarly, the backlog of park maintenance projects is being addressed by the new Greenways Levy’s expanded maintenance component, which augments general fund spending on Parks. Although less visible, the infrastructure for water and sanitary sewer utilities is a constant challenge. To replace aging water mains and sewer lines before they fail, I voted to approve utility bill increases. Finally, I’d like to mention the significant work on sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes, etc. for non-motorized forms of transportation. Again, thanks to the TBD, the City has been able to prioritize projects for safety where the gaps and needs are greatest.
Our response to homelessness should have several components. The biggest missing element is a low-barrier shelter to replace the improvised “drop-in center” that is not well located and not up to the job. I have been working with other elected leaders to identify a solid candidate location, and I think we are getting there. Our current efforts include ongoing support for social services, through the OC’s Homeless Services Center and the City’s own Homeless Outreach Team. We also invest heavily in affordable housing projects across Bellingham, using local Housing Levy dollars to leverage private investment and federal funding. For example, we just broke ground on the 22 North project, half of which is devoted to rooms for homeless youth, and half to homeless veterans. In addition, a significant portion of the Levy is used for rental assistance, to help bridge the affordability gap in those who are moving out of homelessness into stable housing.
I am committed to serving all members of out community, including our senior citizens. As a city council member, one of my main responsibilities is planning that meets the full range of community needs and life stages. We need to build a City that is friendly towards, and supportive of, our senior members. My reading on elder-friendly housing and development has taught me that there is the large overlap with housing and development desires of many others. For environmental, social, and lifestyle reasons, many people want closer, walkable communities with amenities nearby that do not rely upon cars. We are seeing growing numbers of people who are not looking for a freestanding house on a larger lot, including the both junior and senior citizens.
I fully support the position that local government should not be entangled in federal enforcement actions of immigration laws, and instead remain committed to serving and protecting all residents the same regardless of documentation status. I base this on both legal and moral grounds. Legally speaking, federal courts have relied on the 4th and 10th Amendments to rule that local governments cannot be compelled to act as federal agents, and local law enforcement cannot be commanded to hold suspected immigrants without a proper judicial order. On moral grounds, I believe the current Administration’s demonization of immigrants is un-American. It runs counter to our American ideals of equality and opportunity. We are a nation of immigrants, and that has been our strength for over 235 years. From a purely economic standpoint we all benefit from the hard work, skills, and talent from around the world.
Housing affordability is a major issue for Bellingham, as it is for other cities across the region. Record home prices are being set across the state, while real wages (adjusted for inflation) have been flat for decades. This has led to an affordability crunch. There are greater forces at work on the structure and nature of the housing market and economy than can be controlled by City government. That’s why I believe we need to identify which levers are available to us locally to make a difference. I think the City needs to continue its work on affordability, both through dedicated programs for lower income residents, and by adding to the range of permissible housing types and forms. Recently, the market has recovered and we seen construction return to pre-recession levels, particularly for multi-family housing. Although we are having success with dedicated housing for the lowest income levels, entry-level housing is the hardest to find and our greatest challenge.
Housing affordability, since it affects people up and down the economic spectrum. Housing costs are edging more people towards homelessness, holding back workers with average incomes, constraining economic mobility, and threatening the attractiveness of the local job market.
As the current president of the City Council, I work especially close with the mayor and her department heads. Much of this work is behind the scenes in the form of weekly one-on-one meetings, providing feedback on major initiatives and directions as seen from the Council perspective. I also act as a sort of go-between, polling and gauging the opinions of my colleagues, so that I can convey that information to the Administration. Prior to my selection as council president, as a council member I have always made it a point to have at least monthly meetings with the mayor. These meeting served two purposes, typically. First, I have used them to convey concerns, requests, and ideas from constituents. I also have used these meetings to make my own requests and highlight priority projects that I believed needed more attention or resources.
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