Q & A for MLT News

posted Oct 19, 2015, 10:52 AM by Stephen Barnes   [ updated Sep 4, 2017, 9:41 AM ]
As a followup to the video interview from the 2015 voting season (click here) and the general statements each of us made, MLT News (mltnews.com)  asked each of us to complete a questionnaire.  Mine follows:

1. What makes you the most qualified of the candidates to serve on the Mountlake Terrace City Council?
 
I am not a career politician and recognize that the vast majority of Terrace citizens are suburbanites who moved here BECAUSE of the suburban life that current Council policies are eroding.  I have a degree in Real Estate and will be able to hit the ground running in regards to most city business.  On Council, I will represent the citizens and vote on behalf of the “suburban majority.”
 
2. If elected, what would be your priorities as a City Councilmember?
 
An election does not stop the pressing flow of matters that the City Council faces.  My top priority is getting more information to the citizens so they can feel ownership in the governance of our great city.  From their input I will be able to represent them on issues as they come before the Council.  I am for a careful-citizen approach to the issues we face, so we can craft a bright future together. I am for an affordable City Hall budget that citizens can back fully, repair of facilities that have not been addressed, such as the Pavilion, and continuing the great services of our City, waste management, fire and police departments.
 
3. The voters have turned down funding for a new City Hall a number of times. Should the voters be given another option to fund a new City Hall or should the City consider alternative plans/funding options?
 
My video interview on MLT News addresses this issue in more detail, but, if the City goes with a simplified plan which conforms to the costs of northwest construction (not twice the NW Index as has been the case in the past), I would be in favor of it.  If it does not, renting is not a horrible or expensive alternative given the $750,000 dollar investment the current leasing firm agreed to just to put the existing city hall package together.
 
4. What can the City do to encourage businesses to locate in the City and in particular Town Center?
 
Current parking rules are creating a tremendous obstacle for new businesses desiring to locate in downtown.  We see the effect in the non-leased space in the Arbor Village building.  These regulations should be reversed or alternative parking solutions, such as a central parking garage, found.  Also, we should assign designated City staff to work on attracting specific businesses, as has been done in the past.  That should be done more intensely, maybe in cooperation with a builder who will work with the City to fulfill the small town center dream we all would like.
 
5. Attendance at City Council meetings can be relatively sparse at times. What would you do to increase citizen involvement in government?
 
I am on record as seeking to create a body of active citizens who can be counted on to review and comment on matters before the Council.  Should the voters elect me, I will actively implement that strategy.
 
6. What do you like best about living in Mountlake Terrace?
 
My spouse and I gladly call Mountlake Terrace our home and have for nearly thirty years.  Mountlake Terrace is a wonderful, quiet and safe town that is close to cultural happenings, natural beauty (beach, lake and forest), and diverse social events.  With excellent resources such as the Recreation Pavilion, numerous parks and high quality schools, as well as a responsive police force and cheerful neighbors, it is a place for people and families of all ages to enjoy.
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