It has been my honor to serve as your city councilmember for the last five years. From bringing good jobs to our city, to improving our transportation options, and keeping our streets safe, I am committed to building on our success and making our city an even better place to live.
Having a safe community to raise your family or operate a business is critical to any city. Achieving this goal involves collaboration by nearly every department in one way or another. As a councilmember I have supported:
• Requests for additional officers, equipment and training space.
• Ongoing training to avoid the necessity to use force.
• A number of new initiatives and ordinances to build trust and strong relationships between police and the public.
• The use of a number of enforcement and investigative tools such as the effective use of drones.
• The hiring of superior candidates locally and from across the country.
As the next mayor, public safety will continue to be a top priority to keep our families safe. By hearing their concerns and getting to know our neighbors and neighborhoods the City can do a better job of responding to and preventing crime.
Safety and crime is the conversation that I have most frequently while knocking on doors, regardless of neighborhood. I’ve heard stories of mail theft, of vandalism, of car prowls, and of burglaries. It is clear that we must do more to stem this tide of crime in our city and region.
First, I believe we must invest in community policing. This gets police officers out of their cars and engaging with our residents, building trust between the police department and our neighbors. A community policing program is part of that ounce of prevention that we need to prevent the pound of cure down the road.
Second, we must make sure that our police department has the resources they need to do their jobs.
Third, we have to be actively pursuing innovation and creativity in our police department. Whether it’s reducing response time or building out educational and prevention programs, our police department can and should be looking for new solutions in our continually growing and changing region. As technology changes, so must our ways of harnessing it to keep our communities safe.
Finally, we need to address some serious concerns that our community has. For example, during the last 5 years our community has increasingly talked to me about dangerous and irresponsible driving behaviors that they are concerned about. Whether it is in their community like downtown or in their neighborhood, people see speeding cars and cars not respecting stop signs. We need to do enforce the law. I want everybody to feel that they can walk, bike or drive safely in Renton period!
Our Public Works Department is the largest department in the city and includes streets, transportation systems and city utilities including water and sewer services.
I have been hard at work to provide transportation options for all. I, like many of you, am tired of getting stuck in the traffic that surrounds us. Two months after I was appointed as a city councilmember in 2015, I was already testifying in Olympia before the House Transportation Committee and I have not stopped since then.
Traffic congestion has been an issue for the last 40 years, but in the last ten years, we have seen dramatic increases in congestion, both in volumes of cars, and in the length of the rush hour. Drivers are frustrated and looking for relief and enforcement of current laws to address the issue. With the growth in Renton and neighboring cities, our traffic has gone from an annoyance to a daily crisis.
Regionally we need to ensure that King County and the State provide solutions and funding in partnership with Renton to relieve some of our major issues and bring more transportation options to our community.
Some of my priorities are:
• Increased investments for improvements and new roads. (Federal, State and Local dollars)
• Work in partnership with WSDOT and the legislature to complete new lanes on I-405 and advocate for new investments to reduce cut-through traffic in our city.
• Make sure that Metro Connects adds a frequent service network in growing areas in Renton like the Highlands, Longacres, and the East Valley
• Continue pressing Sound Transit for more high-capacity transit (BRT, Light Rail, etc)
• Finish the Renton Connector, an amenity and a needed linkage between two regional trails that currently are disconnected – the Lake to Sound Trail and the Lake Washington Loop Trail.
• Sidewalk replacements to assist in making Renton a walkable city.
There is still so much to do, but I will continue to fight to relieve our traffic woes and get you out of your car and home with your family.
My goal is to continue saving tax dollars while also improving the environment.
• Convertion of Renton’s lights to LED, saving hundreds of thousands annually in electrical costs.
• Implementation of a water meter reading system for over 18,000 meters. To date, this system has detected 4,612 leaks at homes and businesses that prevented the loss of 126 million gallons of water and further damage.
• Implementation of a comprehensive recycling and composting program. We have diverted nearly 230,000 tons of recyclables and compostable materials from the landfills.
Keep providing quality open spaces and activities for our residents.
I have supported a number of new initiatives and ordinances to maintain our parks, Senior Center, Community Centers, Farmer’s Market, Renton Museum, and more. It’s impossible to mention all the accomplishments over the past 5 years, but here are some examples:
• Successfully lobbied the State Legislature for a million dollar grant for the replacement of the Riverview Bridge over the Cedar River and the repair work taking place at Coulon Park.
• Successfully obtaining over $7 million in grants for local projects
• We began implementation of a city-wide security camera program to help protect city-owned properties
• The construction of the new fire station and the Family First Community Center .
We all want to live in a safe, friendly place. I believe that engaging our community is vital to create the kind of place we enjoy living in. I am looking forward to continue visiting every neighborhood and working together to improve community unity and pride.
Community & Economic Development
Economic development has been going well here in Renton but there is always room for improvement, particularly in being thoughtful about the diversity of businesses based here and how they fit into our community and the community we want to be. I believe that we must focus on retaining quality jobs that provide a living wage for workers and their families. We must retain our place as the center of the aerospace industry and I will work to keep those jobs right here.
I believe that we must be intentional about the businesses we recruit to Renton, ensuring that there is enough variety in the kinds of businesses and the kinds of jobs they offer so that every resident can work here. Whether a tech CEO or a frontline manufacturing worker, we should be looking at ways to expand the job market and create jobs across the spectrum of work.
Additionally, I believe that we must cut red tape for small businesses and support business ownership by our very own residents here in our city. Small business ownership makes up the fabric of a strong, vibrant, and prosperous local economy and I will continue to fight for our small business owners as a Mayor of Renton.
The pressure on Renton has built up significantly over these last years, as an extremely desirable place to live, and as an ever-congested pass-through route. Our future is threatened by development happening faster than anticipated, and worsening traffic, requiring focused leadership and coordination with the State, County, and nearby cities.
I believe that growth needs to fit the community vision. I will encourage responsible growth. Not all new development in town has met the expectations of the community and we have not seen the other benefits that normally come with growth. We are working to raise the bar by revising our Comprehensive Plan because we must protect our neighborhoods, ensure we have affordable housing and address our historic and increasing congestion issues — for those that live here, and those that will live here in 2040.
Diversity and Inclusion
I am committed to build an inclusive informed city with opportunities for all. I am really proud of the work we have done in the last 5 years:
• We have improved communications and services to communities where English is not their first language.
• All city employees receive diversity and implicit bias training so that we have a much better understanding on how to serve our residents.
• We have gone to a “blind” application process that reduces the chance for biases to slip into our recruitment and hiring practices.
• Provide critical and relevant information on a timely basis and facilitate two-way dialogue between city government and the community
Diversity and inclusivity are major buzz words these days, but for good reason. It’s one thing to say, “yeah, it’s our strategy to include our diverse community”, but it’s another to carve out the time and resources to do that. We need to commit extra time to seek out alternative methods to include more diverse voices in the public process. This may mean stepping outside our comfort zone to do outreach in each neighborhood, school, church, non-profit and/or organization in Renton.
We all want to live in a safe, friendly place. I believe that engaging our diverse community is vital in helping to create the kind of place we enjoy living in. I am looking forward to continue visiting every neighborhood and working together to improve community unity and pride, as well as improve access to city services, programs and employment, and make residents and businesses aware of opportunities to be involved with the public process and promote understanding and appreciation of our diversity.