- Openness & Diversity
- COVID: Sensible Solutions
- Livability: Key to Reducing Traffic
- The Environment
- Government Transparency & Fiscal Responsibility
- Public Safety
- My “Get the Data and then act on it” Approach
- The Growth Question – Two Camps?
- Setting up the next city council for success
- The Town Center
Openness & Diversity
If elected, I’d invite houses of worship to host annual open-door interfaith evenings for the community.
I’ll work with the CWU campus to offer community-member-taught classes on the cultures, histories, languages, and religions of Sammamish’s many proud communities of color.
I’ll continue to support the Farmer’s Market and find ways to engage and encourage the fantastic entrepreneurs of our city by working toward organizing a Taste of Sammamish and Sammamish Days events.
I’d work on a program to identify and help train diverse community members to get involved in elected politics as well as volunteer and staff positions across the city government and beyond.
Part of being different can be not knowing how to get involved or being afraid to rock the boat. We’re often told to keep our heads down and stay out of the limelight because it’s safer that way. There is fear and trepidation around higher levels of community activism and those barriers need to be broken down with kindness, genuine outreach, and exemplifying the possibilities. Actively inviting and recruiting people to get involved works.
To build trust, I’d address ignorance with educational opportunities. I’d urge our city, district, county, and state officials to visit schools, host town halls, start podcasts and YouTube channels to address misinformation and help teach the facts.
COVID: Sensible Solutions
We must acknowledge that there may never be a “back to normal” – some medical experts have said that COVID-19 will remain in the world in one form or another for the foreseeable future. Annual COVID-19 shots may become as normal as flu shots. Sammamish should always be at the forefront of compliance with health regulations and preventive measures. In addition, I’d like to help Sammamish create a culture of good health practices. That means a number of things, including but not limited to: creating a grant program to support local businesses so they can stay open in Sammamish, smart outbreak planning so Sammamish is ready for the next health situation, and supporting online and asynchronous schooling options at every grade level for when students aren’t feeling well or to make it easier to keep kids at home who may have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
Currently, if a student presents any COVID-19 symptoms, they’re sent home and asked to not return to school for 10 days or until they get back a negative COVID-19 test result. Parents should feel confident about their decision to keep their sick children home for health reasons.
I’d work to redirect resources to ensure that everyone living in Sammamish has access to a computer and high speed internet, especially when they need it most. I’d work to establish a number of free, public WiFi hotspots around Sammamish. With proper measures, this can be done safely and affordably, and would give residents safe places to go to access high speed internet.
Equipment like computers should be available to all households at least on a temporary basis. During a pandemic, these are not luxury items – they’re basic necessities. I’d work to gather statistics on the number of households that need internet access and/or computers and then work to address those needs. Fundraisers and in-kind community donation drives can help defray costs. Residents could volunteer to cover the cost of high-speed internet for neighbors in need.
Seasonal vaccines – including COVID-19 boosters – should come to you. I’d work to determine the feasibility of recruiting medical experts and volunteers to head out to underserved parts of the city and locations near older residents where teams could go door to door with the vaccine or set up temporary clinics on blocks where not enough people have gotten vaccinated against COVID-19 – we should also be proactive about flu shots. If it can be done safely, it ought to be implemented asap.
I commend Sammamish on already being one of the most high-vaccinated cities in Washington with well over 90% of eligible people having been vaccinated. Let’s keep up the great work and always stay ahead of the curve!
Livability: Key to Reducing Traffic
Sammamish has a number of roads with partial or non-existent sidewalks. I believe making our city more fully walkable is an important goal that’d help reduce traffic, encourage exercise, and create opportunities for our residents to see and talk to one another. I will work to make Sammamish more safely walkable.
Similarly, our bike lanes are often demarcated by street markings that are fading, too narrow, or incomplete. I’d work to expand bike lanes and make them easy to see so they’re safer and more appealing. I’d like Sammamish to be a bikeable city. Bikeability would also reduce traffic and help keep our residents healthy and interconnected not just with each other but with the rest of the East Side.
I would support working with Sound Transit to improve the Sammamish park and ride and work to get more intra-city transit to help people get to the bus routes and thereby reduce single occupancy vehicle use. This will seriously reduce traffic and reliance on Uber or Lyft for short-distance travel. I’d work with the county and our partners in Issaquah and Redmond to better integrate our public transportation to make the whole East Side more bus-able and less bogged down by traffic.
If elected, I’d support state- and county-level policies to improve residential and commercial building codes and work to implement those policies in Sammamish. We can also increase electric vehicle infrastructure and work on eliminating the use of natural gas in buildings toward an all-electric goal.
I would support state- and national-level carbon emissions reduction legislation and do all I could to ensure implementation at our city’s level. I would support local climate change educational programs by organizing online forums people could attend for free. I’d help organize programs on the environment that specifically focus on what residents can do every day and how climate change specifically impacts Sammamish.
I’d also like to reach out to our resident environmental experts to lead our city’s community outreach, education, and sustainability efforts.
Government Transparency & Fiscal Responsibility
I don’t believe in career politics. I’m running because I think my positions and values are shared by my neighbors and friends here in Sammamish. If I’m elected, it’s because I represent a large enough number of residents’ views. As a city council member, I’d work to represent you and open opportunities for you to directly voice your views to your government.
The city council’s work should be easily accessible online for all residents to read and be able to comment on and help influence. With that, decisions about how our government allocates its financial resources should be level-headed and service-oriented. Our financial decisions should make sense to our residents and, as one of the wealthiest cities in our country, fiscal responsibility should be top of mind and achievable.
I’d constantly work to open up our city’s government to our diverse communities of residents. I want to make civic involvement the norm for kids and adolescents as well as adults, including the elderly. We all have something to contribute and government should not be restricted to one group or a narrow socio-economic band.
Everyone deserves to feel safe in their own homes, neighborhoods, and vehicles. I support our police force and want to work with them to ensure that our city has the best coverage. Along with police, I’d prioritize better and increased lighting on dark streets and the creation of a resident-led outreach program to connect to and partner with HOAs to ensure that communities have security equipment and neighborhood watch plans in place. I’d also want to hear directly from HOA leaders about their safety concerns on a regular basis so city council stays close to residents’ needs.
Of course, we also need to ensure that our law enforcement includes an appropriate number of mental health and addiction experts so that we deploy the right level and kind of response for the situation.
My “Get the Data and then act on it” Approach
In my view, what we’re most missing now is the residents’ voices. I’m not comfortable with a strong vision being imposed on a city without the data to back it. I would not be satisfied with a “trust your gut” approach to governing a city of 67,000 people where nearly 40% identify as minorities. No one subset of the population’s input should take precedent over another’s. The only way to ensure that everyone is heard and valued is through regular statistical surveying in additional to increased community outreach. For good policies, we need good data. My “get the data and then act on it” vision includes the people who live and work in Sammamish. We know that some 4,000 people work here who don’t leave here and some of them include teachers, police officers, medical professionals, and the people who work in our grocery stores, restaurants, and other local businesses.
I stand with all Sammamish residents and would work to bring our diverse community members to the table to ensure that all feel heard, valued, and addressed so no one feels left out or left behind.
This is an important part of what I mean by better together. I support a data-driven, scientifically-informed, level-headed, approach to policy making and believe that the most democratic approach to local government is one that prioritizes the residents’ wants and needs over all else.
The other sense in which I mean “better together” is as a call to calm and civility – a reminder that we are friends and neighbors more anything or any other labels. I’ve led a cordial, positive campaign that I’m proud of. I don’t see the other candidates, including the other person running for position 3 on the city council, as “opponents” or competition. I see us all as good people who love Sammamish and want what’s best for our city.
When I walk by any of the candidates’ yard signs that may have fallen over or been deliberately knocked down, I make a point of picking them up and planting them firmly in the ground exactly as if they were my own. This doesn’t take away from me or my campaign at all. I don’t think putting up, blocking, or taking down signs wins elections. Trying to keep others from learning about a candidate or getting an accurate perspective on a candidate’s views is a disservice to voters. All any candidate can do is present themselves as authentically and honestly as possible and then it’s up to the voters to choose the people who represent them best. I wouldn’t ever want to get in the way of that. I also have taken the time to get to know all of the candidates’ positions and am convinced that there are no bad choices in this election. All the candidates are committed to public service and have reasonable views about smart growth that keeps infrastructure in pace with development and only supports development that is in line with the needs and wants of the people who live and work here.
The Growth Question – Two Camps?
Let me start, in the name of civility and data-drivenness, by stating that it is my assessment that most people running for city council this year are in favor of environmentally friendly smart growth. Please don’t buy into any of the false dichotomies floating around the rumor mill that there are two groups of candidates – one that’s “pro-zero growth” and another that’s “pro-overdevelopment”. There simply aren’t any candidates like that. In politics, the easiest thing to do is fall into “good and evil”, “us vs them” traps. We’ve seen it at the national level and I don’t think it’s appropriate here in Sammamish.
To explain it a little better, there’s a myth that some candidates want to (or even can) stop all growth and that others want to (or even can) overrun the city with high-density housing. In reality, there are no candidates who take either of these made-up extreme positions.
All of the candidates are somewhere in the middle.
All agree that land use and infrastructure are necessarily related matters – city council can’t back adding more commercial or residential buildings without responsible, proportional infrastructure development. All of the candidates therefore see smart growth as the way forward and believe commensurate infrastructure is part of the definition of “smart” in this context.
When I say “smart” growth, I’m not talking about algorithms or tech. I’m talking about growth that’s informed and defined by the residents of and people who work in Sammamish. Growth that’s commensurate with our needs and wants. I’d personally add that smart growth also means remaining in compliance with the county, state, and regional laws and codes that help keep Sammamish connected, funded, and engaged in solving problems within and beyond our city limits. Neglecting to do so is, in my view, shortsighted and would make us more vulnerable – not less vulnerable – to facing the kinds of “big city” problems that our neighbors in Seattle and Bellevue are courageously working to address today.
All of the candidates also agree that Sammamish doesn’t have to mimic any other city’s growth trajectories. What we do have to do is listen to residents and those who work here, of which 4,000 don’t live here – we don’t yet know what their needs are but we do know that many teachers, police officers, and service industry workers commute in from other cities every day.
Where there are differences between these two camps is in the approach to current and future land use plans. One camp says we should vastly slow growth down (as close to stopping it as legally permissible given the need to comply with state and county regulations) to allow for infrastructure to catch up. The assumption there is that infrastructure is currently insufficient and people point to traffic and classroom size as evidence.
The other camp, in which I count myself, believes we don’t have enough data to determine the appropriate level of growth – but we also don’t advocate inundating the city with additional housing of any sort. We see that Sammamish is unusual in its high proportion of large single-family houses (87%) to multi-family (13%) and, know that statistically, multi-family houses produce half or less the number of students in schools; and are responsible for fewer cars on the road.
My camp therefore doesn’t have an agenda on housing one way or the other. My commitment, rather, is to get the data first and then proceed to set policies – with constant community input.
I’m personally interested in enhancing community outreach and using statistical surveys to learn more about what residents and the people who work in Sammamish want and need now; and what they think they’ll need over the course of their lifetime.
The bottom line is what the candidates have in common is far greater than how we differ.
Signs and messages promoting claims about “developer candidates” and “PAC candidates” are creating undue negativity and are based on false dichotomies of “us vs them” meant to stoke fear and provoke anger. These tactics are disingenuous and harmful to our city’s civility and run counter to Sammamish residents’ kind and welcoming character.
I see all the candidates as friends and neighbors more than anything. I see us all as better off because of one another and our differences. Reasonable people can and should be able to disagree without demonizing each other.
Setting up the next city council for success
By checking our resources, asking good questions, assuming positive intent, not falling into conspiratorial thinking, empathizing with each other and valuing one another as friends and neighbors above all else, we can help set the next city council up for success.
Spreading misinformation, fear mongering, demonizing, contributing to negativity, assuming the worst, and painting people into corners that make them out to be villains is the surest way to set the next city council up for failure.
I think residents should learn about the real nuances about this year’s candidates and then vote their conscience. I think residents should feel reassured that all of the candidates support a green, livable, economically successful, smart Sammamish that is safe and welcoming for all. We have real differences in terms of how to determine public policy that will lead us to those ends but I’m confident that the next city council will be able to work together and compromise as long as we regain the spirit of civility, collegiality, and kindness that Sammamish’s residents embody so well.
The Town Center
I want to be clear that my priority is getting the data first and that’s because I believe the people who live and work here ought to decide what their city looks like and no one else. I’m 100% against special interest groups getting involved in how Sammamish is governed.
The Town Center is, in my view, not yet ready for approval. There’s been enough debating between residents and elected officials over the last several years to merit increased community outreach and statistical surveying to determine the way forward. There are a few different approaches to the proposed commercial and residential aspects of the Town Center – including some that want to cut all of the residential aspect from the plan – but we don’t have enough data to make an objective decision about which plan or vision to pursue that best addresses the wants and needs of the majority of the people who live and work in Sammamish.
So, I’m not committed to one agenda over another. I’m committed to giving the residents the loudest voice in the room rather than assuming that I or any one council member or group of them innately understands or knows what the majority of residents supports.
Whatever version of a Town Center is ultimately supported by the people who live and work here, I’d be a proponent of making it environmentally friendly and sustainable – I’d point to the Phase 1 development (Metropolitan Market and the rest of that complex) as an example of these principles being applied successfully. I’d also work to ensure that any further development phases are commensurately supported by proportional infrastructure so we can avoid undue and outsized impacts on our schools, roads, and water supply.
I’d constantly work to open up our city’s government to our diverse communities of residents. I want to make civic involvement the norm for kids and adolescents as well as adults, including the elderly. We all have something to contribute and the government should not be restricted to one group or a narrow socio-economic band.