1.Why are you running for City Council? What are your top priorities for Sammamish?
I have been a resident of Sammamish for 26 years and I’m running for City Council because I want to ensure the city continues on a path that is sustainable, environmentally responsible, and looks to the future. My top priorities are:
- Municipal broadband— We have seen the importance of internet access and speeds during the Covid-19 pandemic. The benefits of a city owned option will drive competitive pricing, increase speeds, attract new businesses, and save taxpayer dollars. It is an investment in our city’s future.
- Technology Advisory Board—A “smart city” is one which utilizes innovative IoT technologies. Sensors collect data which provides insights to manage resources, assets, and services more efficiently, improve traffic and pedestrian safety, and improve city operations. Many of our residents work in the technology field. The creation of a Technology Advisory Board will bring the best minds together so that we can make concrete improvements in the quality of life for our residents.
Composting—According to the EPA, 22% of our landfills is food waste. When food goes into landfill and rots, it produces methane, a greenhouse gas that is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide, and a leading contributor to climate change. I propose providing free compost bins to all single family homes to reduce amount of waste we put into landfills. Contracted food waste services should be mandatory for grocery and restaurants.
Reduce and Reuse—According to the EPA, Americans generated more than 292 million tons of solid waste in 2018. Of that waste, only 32% was either recycled or composted. We need to create a storefront so that residents can bring their broken items to be fixed, similar to Repair Cafe USA. This falls in line with the global “Right to Repair” movement which gives consumers the information and tools needed to fix products they’ve purchased, such as computers, phones, etc, instead of relying on the manufacturer of the product. Electronic waste contains toxic components, including mercury and lead, that are dangerous to human health when burned and also seeps into the groundwater.
Climate Action Plan—We need to prioritize a Climate Action Plan, add sustainability staff, and create an Environmental Advisory Board. We need to reduce the city’s carbon footprint and aim to be carbon neutral by a specific year. The last sustainability plan by the city was published in 2011.
- Human Services
- The number of school and mental health counselors need to be increased at our schools. At Skyline HS there are four counselors for approximately 2000 students.
- A digital resource for seniors and senior care so that all service information provided in the greater Seattle area is in one system. Currently, there is no such system available.
- Transportation service improvements are needed for our senior citizens and those in need. A city partnership with a ride-hailing service such as Uber or Lyft could provide low cost rides to supplement our existing volunteer and Metro Access services.
- Human Services
- Inclusion— Everyone, regardless of their abilities or disabilities should have equitable rights. With that in mind, services provided by Sammamish should be inclusive and when new services are created, inclusion should be at the forefront and not as an afterthought.
2. Please describe your position on the Urban Forest Management Plan. Do you support funding a full-time Urban Forester position? Do you support Sammamish becoming a Green City via Forterra like Redmond, Issaquah and 13 other cities in the metro area?
The Urban Forest Management Plan (UFMP) is a policy document that will guide how we manage, maintain, and grow trees in Sammamish for the next 20 years. It is a comprehensive document that we should have had years ago. Currently, 75% of our tree canopy health is categorized as “Good”, with 14% Fair and 9% as “Poor/Dead”. It is critical that we manage our canopy or the Fair trees could fall into the Poor category. We do not want 25% of our trees in the latter category. Our tree canopy is currently at 48% with a theoretical maximum at 60% so there is room for improvement. I support funding a full time Urban Forester position to unify and lead the three departments currently responsible for urban forest operations. This would improve collaboration and enforcement of policies and codes. Partnering with Forterra is a great idea because it builds upon our existing community stewardship efforts and makes it easy for residents to get involved at local green events.
3. What is your position on completing the Emerald Necklace? Would you support the City stepping up to help acquire properties or easements to make the Emerald Necklace a reality?
I support completing the 28-mile loop around the plateau. The Emerald Necklace would be a jewel in our community. Acquiring properties or easements need to done respectfully, legally, and in a manner that is fiscally responsible. With the growth in our city, we should accelerate this completion.
4. What efforts would you pursue to improve sustainability in Sammamish? Examples: how would you promote more sustainable landscaping both on city property and individual homes; would you support incentive programs for green infrastructure?
Sustainability is critical to our future and I have listed my short and long-term priorities above. By creating an Environmental Advisory Board, we can target goals that provide the maximum benefit, keeping in mind costs, time frame etc, whether its sustainable landscaping, incentive programs for green infrastructure, building retrofits, etc.
5. How would you make Sammamish a more livable city – one with gathering places, dining options, a hardware store, more affordable housing, and housing for all ages?
While canvassing for the primary, I spoke with many residents who are concerned with the livability of our city.
- Easing traffic congestion would make our city more livable. We need to prioritize bicycle infrastructure— start with identifying the location of temporary infrastructure with paint and then commit to building permanent protected bike lanes and signals. A Portland State University study showed that when 5 major US cities added protected bike lanes, ridership rose from 20 to 170 percent. Many cities, including Seattle, have the knowledge base from which we can adopt.
- Completing the Sammamish Town Center is a hot topic of debate. While it would add restaurants/retail and affordable housing, it would also add congestion to 228th. Sammamish will continue to evolve and we need to add restaurants/retail and other services so that our city is vibrant and a desirable place to live. Further progress on the Town Center needs to be done responsibly, such as using the latest tools to model traffic, adjusting the amount of building development, etc.
- Sidewalks need to be continuously added to improve walkability.
- Many residents I’ve spoken with are concerned with traffic speeds in their neighborhoods. We need to review these areas so children and pedestrians are safe.
6. Do you support the Puget Sound Regional Council’s Regional Planning Organization Vision 2050? If so, do you feel that Sammamish should plan for a fair share of the population growth projected within Vision 2050?
By 2050, our region is expected to add 1.8 million new people. I support Vision 2050 which calls for a better balance of job creation among counties, diverse and affordable housing near transit, and reducing greenhouse gases. The population of Sammamish will continue to grow so we need to do it sustainably —within the framework of Vision 2050, this includes having a Climate Action plan, as I’ve mentioned, so we reduce our green house gases and aim to be carbon neutral by a specific year.
7. How would you improve the effectiveness of the Council both among members and with the City’s commissions and staff?
Based on my 25+ years of experience working on corporate teams, effectiveness is improved when individuals have shared goals, are accountable for their actions, remain committed, and trust each other. Unprofessional individual behavior drives team dysfunction. Council members work for the residents of Sammamish and are elected to do a job. It is their responsibility to ensure the city operates seamlessly. Elections provide the outlet to replace individuals to improve dynamics and effectiveness.