B-town blog sent out these questions to candidates on July 6th requesting they be returned on July 13th. Below is the questions and my answers.
1. How long have you had full-time residence in the city of Burien?
I’ve lived in Burien over 3 years since Mika and I purchased our home in July 2014 and lived within Seattle metropolitan area since March 2000.
2. Why are you interested in representing the citizens and what do you expect to gain from serving in a Council position?
I’ve found Burien to be a very special and close knit evolving community that I love like all of you. I have lived in other Seattle neighborhoods that had increasing population growth which has displaced lower income residents, created urban sprawl, lined residential streets with cars, attracted more crime and increased drug usage and homelessness.
I just could not sit back any longer and watch this happen yet again to Burien. Watching vying political and union aligned Councilmembers polarizing Burien’s City Council and its future. It’s time we start choosing councilmembers that are leaders; qualified and can represent all residents of Burien not beholding to allegiances, political parties & union organizations.
Therefore, I decided to enter the race for Burien’s City Council; being a true non-partisan independent choice that speaks for all Burien residents.
3. What city ordinances would you want changed or removed from the books and why?
None at present. But, I reserve the right when I’m on the City Council to change my mind as I learn more about how they affect our residents.
4. What changes or additions to city government staff would you support and how would you pay for these changes?
The Burien Economic Development Strategy (http://www.burienwa.gov/DocumentCenter/View/4902) emphasized a scope of vision including increasing “Quality of Life” within Burien, not solely economic development. Therefore, I would propose that scope of the economic development staff be increased to include all forms of reducing pollution (including noise and air pollution from Sea-Tac Airport) and decreasing the human the damage (i.e. homelessness) in Burien.
To this goal, the revenues from the Business and Occupation (“B&O”) tax should be targeted to fund these objectives that will then improve the business environment in Burien. The office should also act as an incubator for creating non-profits by seeking funds from Federal, State, County and private sources that can help expand the services in Burien supporting these objectives.
5. Would your regular private employer control or require how you vote on city matters in a specific way, regardless of your personal observations and understanding of the facts?
I work for Microsoft and in no way, does Microsoft take a role in my campaign for elected office, financially or directing my opinions or objectives. I’m completely independent of any allegiances, coalitions between candidates, political parties, benefactors, or labor union.
6. Do you believe homelessness is a problem that Burien can alleviate or reduce, and how should the city handle the problems of homelessness?
I’ve thought about homelessness for years as if I were to lose my job, I’d be homeless. I have seen the rise of the homeless in the Seattle Ballard neighborhood since the 2008 economic crash. The pace of homelessness continues to grow and accelerate as increasing costs of home ownership and renting has left low incoming residents being pushed unto the streets.
I do not advocate creating services, such as safe injection sites and homeless camps that create an eco-System within Burien that is an enabler of homelessness and drug addiction as a permanent lifestyle. I’m an advocate of the city influencing the private sector to hire the homeless or start businesses, such as a restaurant that is staffed by the homeless to train them to help themselves. I support hiring day labors to work for the Parks and Recreation Department to make Burien beautiful while providing jobs to low income and homeless that want to work.
I would advocate providing tax credits to local businesses that support policies helping the homeless, at risk children & drug addicted and providing contract incentives to businesses that do business with Burien that help these policies to help the homeless get jobs.
7. Is Burien’s police force doing a good job handling criminal activity and would you vote tax increases to add police, or what would you cut to hire more police?
I have the utmost admiration and respect for the Burien police officers. They put their lives on the line every day so that our community can be safe from crime and dangerous criminals. Burien’s police force has a difficult job that deserves 100% of the city’s support and we should not stand in their way of them enforcing the law.
One concern is increasing cost of public safety as a percentage of the budget and the fact a large portion that expense is leaving the local Burien economy. The annual King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) contract cost more than $28 million and continues increasing in double digits yearly and consume over one third of the yearly Burien budget.
The city should investigate so we know at what cost does a local police force become a more cost-effective solution that brings us local control, increases numbers of officers and the money spent stays in the local economy.
8. Do you favor or oppose the city’s sanctuary ordinance?
I would have not had proposed or voted affirmative for Ordinance 651, “The Sanctuary City Ordinance” because the ordinance is a non-sequitur that doesn’t change existing city and KCSO policies and causes polarization between neighbors. That said, I would leave it in place as it emphasizes the city staff are required to be respectful and not harass or discriminate against any individuals regardless of a person’s race, religion, nationality, or immigration status.
9. Do you support the city of Burien using tax dollars to pay for legal action against the Federal Aviation Administration because it has ordered some smaller planes to turn over Burien, creating added noise and pollution?
The city of Burien should be a strong supporter of increasing the Quality of Life of every Burien resident. There’s obviously environmental impact from Seattle Tacoma International Airport and I’m a strong supporter for “Quiet Skies” as they are making a difference.
There haven’t been effective communications between the city and Port of Seattle / FAA over these years before and since the runway #3 expansion. I’ve never seen an equitable outcome out of lawsuits other than endless years of spending millions of dollars on lawyers. Therefore, I’m not an advocate for litigating to achieve policy objectives.
I advocate the city of Burien becoming more proactive in supporting WA HB 1171 which would fund UW School of Public Health studying the ultrafine particulate matter air pollution (and amending to include noise pollution). Or, the City should use the funds for litigating to work directly with the UW School of Public Health to create noise/air monitoring stations in affected neighborhoods and use data to proof the human harm to affect changes in airport operations.
10. Do you support CARES for animal control or would you prefer to have the Regional Animal Services of King County operate this service?
I’m a supporter of C.A.R.E.S. because I advocate a local Burien business vs. outside of Burien; non-profit vs. for profit; private business vs. government controlled. This is a no brainer, I am a C.A.R.E.S. supporter!
11. Do you understand that Washington state law provides that a Councilmember can’t give any direct “orders to any subordinate of the city manager, either publicly or privately,” but expect the manager to follow Council mandated policy?
I’ve never ordered a co-worker, friend, acquaintance to do anything. Although I do make food and beverage orders. Sarcasm aside, I have learned honesty in management; treating people with respect and committing yourself to helping people; not hurting people or pushing them around has been more effective for me. As a Councilmember, I want to lead through policy and help the city manager create an effective and successful organization; and when the day comes that I need help, they will be there for me.