Q&A with Councilmember Hank Myers

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In May I sent a list of several questions to each of the council members whose positions were going to be on the November ballot.  Councilman Myers responded to my questions; his answers are listed below.  Questions are in boldface; responses in italics:

  • Why are you running for Redmond City Council?
     

Typically new Council members are learning the ropes in their first term, and then establish their interests and added expertise in the second.  Things were a little slower for me as I am more fiscally conservative than the majority of members, but I have pursued interests in the environment and job creation and innovation. 

  • What do you think the main obligations of Council members are?

The main obligations include crafting a budget every two years, reviewing proposals made for the Council by the administration, and advocating for residents’ interests.

  • What will you bring to the council position?

Eight years of experience primarily, 44 years as a transportation economist, a similar amount of time in government regulation and legislative functions.  Most of all, I bring an interest in improving Redmond and staying connected with the public.

  • How will you stay connected with the people in the City of Redmond?

Mostly, I participate in a lot of city volunteer events such as Green Redmond, Redmond Senior Center, Redmond Parks improvement, OneRedmond, Redmond Business Showcase, Lake Washington Schools events, the WRIA-8 Salmon Recovery Council, the Together Center and VALA.  People do email me or call me as well.  I believe I am responsive to those contacts.

  • What projects are you excited about?

I am looking forward to creating a Senior Shuttle, building the downtown park, improving salmon habitat, and creating a vibrant, dense downtown.

  • What projects would you like to see proposed or planned for the City?

We need better transportation that serves our single family areas and allows smooth movement through downtown.  This involves long term commitments to a 160th Avenue extension, improvement in West Lake Sammamish Parkway from Marymoor to the junction of Bel-Red road, and Red-Wood Road.

  • What challenges do you think the residents of Redmond face in the coming year?  5 years?  10 years?

I am hoping we can reduce challenges as we have gotten behind on our roads and infrastructure improvement.  I see a challenge in creating a more walkable local community in each area of town, with the ability to reduce dependence on cars.

  • How do you feel Redmond meets the needs of small businesses?   Do you think Redmond could do better?

Our process is difficult, and we hear that from small business owners.  We need to open up allowed uses and reduce the number of special zones in the city.  A concept that shows a lot of promise is “Form Based Planning” which encourages innovation of uses within an area.

  • What project or projects would you like to have been involved in and why?

The irony of politics is that decisions about technical issues are commonly made on the basis of consensus and administrative convenience.  The Senior Shuttle, for example, as it is now envisioned, is designed for the most efficient city administration, but also the highest cost.  I am particularly interested in engaging the public in programs for civic improvement such as the improvement of the Sammamish River through the Marymoor area.

  • Do you feel Redmond is in step with other cities of like size and demographics?

We have a high cost of government compared with our neighbors, as well as more regulation.  We also tend to take longer to determine policy issues.  For example, all of our neighboring cities have established zoning and regulations for marijuana and are reaping the tax benefits.  62% of our voters endorsed this program three years ago, yet the Planning Commission has yet to be briefed.

  • What are the short and long term plans to address the growing homeless situation?

The community needs to be safe, and there needs to be mechanisms to assist able-bodied persons out of homelessness, and to provide a safety nets for those who cannot be fully self-sufficient.  There needs to be a better solution to transient housing than living on top of wood pallets and underneath tarps.  I think a significant problem is that government has tried to control the services, but cannot provide the needed support alone.  A major solution lies in the civil population of charities, volunteer efforts and churches.

  • What are the short and long term plans to address the growing crime rate?

This is a bit of a false assumption as crimes against persons continue to decline, particularly in residential areas.  Property crimes, primarily car break-ins and home burglaries, are rising.  Property crimes are for money, and Redmond is where the money is.  A significant amount of property crime involves a resident not being careful to lock up possessions and cars.  These are crimes of opportunity.  The city can lead an effort to make a cultural change relative to property crime.  I like to feel I can trust my environment, but now I lock my doors and when shopping put all valuables out of sight.

  • How is the city going to mitigate traffic congestion and parking shortages with all the growth going on?

I have been critical of our downtown parking program because we do not have a firm handle on what customer needs are and how we can create space for people  to drive into commercial areas and park.  Actually parking and mobility are still good in Redmond, and all of the newly developed apartments are full.  Apartment residents actually own fewer cars per person, and use more transit.  The city has also restricted commercial properties ability to use their own parking to absorb overnight needs, which I think needs to change.

  • How do you feel the about the Budget by Priorities method the City currently uses?

The Budget by Priorities, as originally adopted, is based on the book, “The Price of Government”.  Our shortcoming has been that instead of going through all the steps of the process, we have skipped a few.  Consequently we have a higher price of government than our neighbors with less feeling of citizen involvement.  The biggest shortcoming is that we do not build in an easy way to consider changes or alternatives.  It is nearly impossible to do changes in the beginning because we do not have the entire picture, but by the time we do it is too late to make any changes in the very complex budget.  In this way Budgeting by Priorities is more convoluted and less flexible than the Mayor submitting a budget and then the Council hashes it out.  The BP process as described in the Price of Government is a superior system, but only if we follow the complete path.

  • How can the City remain fiscally accountable to the taxpayers?

Again, the Price of Government says that if citizens feel they are not getting the services they want for the money they pay, they resist.  The loss of the two levies, I believe, is an example although others feel that the voters we saying we are really doing fine, and there is not more need.  Another way is to get involved in the public process.  None of the Council elections are contested, including the open seat.  In our neighboring cities several seats had so many running that primaries were required.  We have trouble filling the Planning Commission.  In democracy, the voters get the government they deserve.

From the City of Redmond City Council Page:

Hank Myers

Position #1

Term Expires 12/31/15

Chair of the Public Safety Committee
Member of the Parks & Human Services Committee

Hank has served on Redmond’s City Council since January 2008 and is now serving his second term. He has served on advisory boards for Metro Transit and the Bellevue School District. Councilmember Myers is the Director of the Eastside Friends of Seniors, and serves as Chair of the Board of the Together Center in Redmond. Hank began his professional career with Hughes Airwest as a regulatory affairs specialist and since 1980, has served as a consultant in transportation economics, including aviation and surface issues. He has a Bachelor’s degree in English from California State University. A 38-year resident and living in the Viewpoint area of Redmond, Hank is married to Christine and has two grown children. He likes to spend time volunteering with Green Redmond and at the Center for Wooden Boats.

hmyers@redmond.gov

425.429.3454

I have corrected spelling if necessary, but have copied and pasted the comments, in whole, from the email sent by Hank Myers September 29, 2015.

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Steve Fields Meet & Greet locations and times

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Curious about Steve Fields? Want to share your concerns with him? Pick his brain?

Steve is available at several “Meet & Greets” at local coffee shops:

Steve is available for drop-in conversations on Mondays from 10 to 11 AM at Victor’s Celtic Coffee, located at 7993 Gilman St., Redmond, WA 98052, and Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 to 11 AM at his coffee shop, Down Pour Coffee Bar, located at 13200 Old Redmond Road #150, Redmond, WA 98052. Please feel free to stop by to ask any questions, discuss issues, or share any concerns you may have from now until November 3rd! 

Address:

13200 Old Redmond Road #150
Redmond, WA 98052
Phone: 425-898-3618
Email: info@ElectSteveFields.com
Website: ElectSteveFields.com

You can also set up a time to meet him by contacting him at email or phone.

https://electstevefields.com/contact/

And…  the City has released video tapes of Steve Fields and John Marchione explaining why they are running for election, their qualifications and their vision.  Each video takes about 5 minutes to view and is an excellent way to see these candidates express themselves.

Videos here:

LETTER: Q&A with Steve Fields — The Specifics of his campaign (By Brian Hansford)

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<reprinted with permission from Redmond Neighborhood Blog >

Sunday, September 20, 2015
LETTER: Q&A with Steve Fields — The Specifics of his campaign
By Brian Hansford

I recently met Steve Fields, candidate for Redmond Mayor. Redmond is at a pivotal point that needs strategic leadership, management skills, and community engagement. I’m not a fan of voting for a candidate “for the sake of change” and I asked Steve some direct questions on 5 issues important to me. Steve took the time answer my 5 questions in great detail. This is important to share because I think it helps provide information to making voting decisions beyond griping. I encourage Redmond citizens to spend five minutes to read this to help you make an informed voting decision. Based on Steve’s responses to my questions I have decided to support and vote for him as the next Mayor of Redmond.

Here is my Question and Answer with Steve Fields:

1. What would you have done differently, if anything, with the approach taken on the two recent failed tax propositions? My understanding is the original public safety levy is expiring. Renewing makes sense – if the money isn’t already there. Does the City only ask for money when a perceived ‘crisis’ comes up like an expired tax levy?

Before I answer the basic question of what I would have done differently I would like to clarify a couple of things.

• There was no expiration of the 2007 Public Safety Levy. The language in the 2015 Levy proposal that was defeated in August states that Council had voted to continue that funding. I think there was confusion on that by voters.

• The city can ask for new revenue sources based on a number of issues and not necessarily just a crisis. It could be to add or expand services or to cover unmet costs for existing services. I think part of the confusion on this levy is it was presented as both. People were confused.

I would have worked to avoid the need for a tax increase in the first place. There were many poor decisions such as the revision on 166th and the downtown park, and other poorly planned projects that should have not been approved ahead of the basic services included in the levy. Also, I am very confident under my leadership the City will find real cost efficiencies and determine more optimal levels of budget on services. This is what I do best.

The request for a new tax increase should always be very clear and supported by convincing information. The need for increased taxes should be compelling and the impacts of voting yes or no should be clearly understood by voters. The city leadership should be prepared with alternatives and let citizens know what changes will be made if a proposed tax levy is rejected. For example, what will the city do to mitigate the impact of not having the money for the proposed property crime and outreach officers? This should have had already been planned for by the Mayor.

2. Growth Management – how would you approach managing the growth that Redmond is experiencing? Buildings will be built, especially if permits have been approved and issued. Is there really anything to make this growing process less painful?

The City of Redmond does not have a Citywide Strategic Plan that is based on community engagement. You can only manage something as complicated as city building if you have a plan that everyone understands – Especially the people who live here. The city needs a strategic framework that the citizens participate in developing. This framework begins with values tied to the concept of the human scale. Or how will the end state feel, look, and taste to people.

Does it feel safe? Are people excited and proud of how it looks? (I.e. Design Standards for new buildings like condos.)

Does it accommodate all forms of mobility? (Transit, Bikes, Cars, Walking)

Is there a wide variety of shops, restaurants, and business that reflect our character and community identity? (And do small businesses feel confident in coming here)

Are there public green spaces and other public land to balance private businesses and residences?

Are we ensuring that the eco-system is not being degraded and threatened?

Is it laid out so that walking or bicycling makes sense to most people?

Adequate Parking, transit, or ways around the city to avoid coming downtown are included in the planning?

All of these things are examples of what we would include in a strategic framework, a way to measure progress, and manage step by step.

A narrow vision will result in a bad plan. Without community values and support from citizens planning is futile. From the UN Guidelines on City Planning “Plans conceived exclusively by technical experts, in isolation; plans using imported approaches that are not adapted to local conditions; and plans based on mechanical and detached assessments may be irrelevant” I would designate a specific group with responsibilities for strategic coordination and inter-departmental cooperation.

3. What can be done to manage traffic? More people in more apartments and condos mean more cars.

This is the difficult one. The elephant in the room of course is what you said in your question. That is, are we growing past our capacity to handle the impact on traffic and congestion? This problem is the poster child for my view that we need to have a detailed Citywide Strategic Plan. That plan would include quality of life objectives and measures that would demonstrate the tipping point from acceptable to unacceptable. I believe the City method to measure growth impact on traffic is outdated. Right now the city looks at each individual project to measure impact on transit. We need to have more proactive methods and out year analysis that tell us when we are not ready or in a position to build more residences. This would be a first priority for me to evaluate. I have ideas but this requires some very skilled people to look at. We need to talk with other cities that have done this well as well as the cities that have done this poorly. A number of things that could be looked at and these are some of my ideas only:

A limited city transit system or shuttle system.
Find ways to negotiate more transit service from regional services such as metro and sound transit.

Placing limited small shops and stores in neighborhood locations to limit traffic downtown.

Look at where roads that bypass downtown could decrease congestion.

Look at how the city is spatially constructed and find ways to make typical trips more convenient or less spread out. Right now our downtown area is fragmented. (Does anyone know where the heart of downtown actually is?)

And the elephant in the room. We need to consider how to manage the rate of growth.

4. Do you support the impending change of the downtown one way streets to two-way? Personally I think it will be a complete goat rodeo with fewer lanes for more cars to go through.

Support it or not it is absolutely crazy that this was not done BEFORE we built all the new buildings and businesses. But no I don’t support it. Because it is too late to make it make sense. It will reduce parking. It will reduce bicycling. And it will add to the feeling of cramped and unsafe. And it has limited value to the businesses downtown. However I would make this a citizen outreach priority to be certain that the benefits of either changing it or keeping it the same are well understood.

5. Citizen Engagement – how would you engage citizens differently?

This is the heart of what will put our city back on the right track. Many people in our city have lost trust in our government – And for good reasons. As one person recently put it “City Hall has its own agenda and if a citizen voices a concern, then the blow-back attitude is basically ‘we know what’s best for you now go away and let us do our thing’”. Not only have I heard this from many other citizen sources, I have also had confirmation about this attitude from a source inside City Hall. It’s a real thing.”

It begins at the leadership level. It is a matter of leadership values. I know that talking with people broadens my understanding. Proactive engagement between the government and the citizens is at the heart of a democratic society. It is how we negotiate living together. I would include monthly outreach where along with key staff and department heads would meet with community groups and citizens in their neighborhoods. I would make community engagement and service a major improvement initiative for all city staff. I would empower city staff by encouraging innovation and clear roles. This is a shift in city culture based on values. I would make it easier and meaningful for people to be involved.

16 Questions for Redmond Mayoral Candidate, Steve Fields

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I asked Steve Fields, who is challenging the incumbent for the position of Redmond City Mayor, several questions regarding why he’s running for the office, the future of Redmond, projects, crime and homelessness.  Below are the answers I received from Candidate Fields.

  1. Why are you running for the position of Redmond City Mayor?

I am running for Mayor of Redmond to bring new and stronger leadership that can be trusted to meet the needs and interests of the people who live and have businesses in Redmond.  My commitment as Mayor is that our community will always be heard, and as a collective voice provide the guidance to a responsive city government. I want to bring a responsible approach to managing our city growth, so that as we build our urban centers, we maintain the quality of our neighborhoods.  I believe genuine and proactive engagement between the government and the citizens is at the heart of a democratic society. It is how we negotiate living together. It builds trust so that as a community we can do great things together.

I will lead a Redmond City government that is well-managed and balanced with innovative service, fiscal responsibility and transparency to the citizens.   I will work to inspire the people who live and work here to make Redmond one of the most livable, environmentally sustainable, healthy, and prosperous cities in the nation.

2) What do you view as your main purpose as Mayor?

The Mayor is the only full-time, elected position that exclusively represents and answers to the people who live in Redmond. This creates a unique position. The citizens need to trust the leadership and the word of the Mayor.  Through attentive leadership that listens carefully to determine the needs of our citizens, I will improve the lives of people in Redmond by creating greater value from city services and leveraging our regional partnerships to bring the resources and solutions to our city. Implementing vision falls on leaders and individuals working in the City organization to make it a reality and not slogans or words just made up to throw around. It is the job of Redmond city government to continually meet the desires and expectations of the people who live here, pay taxes, and look to the City to come up with the ideas, practices and policies that manifest the vision we collectively set for ourselves

3) What will you bring to the position of Mayor? 

I will bring to the city the talent, wisdom and leadership coming from a life’s work of improving the performance and successful outcomes of government agencies, private sector businesses, and nonprofit organizations. I will bring the extensive skills that I have gained during my career that includes over 24 years of working with or for government agencies. My work in large complex government and private sector organizations includes high level leadership roles in strategic planning, budgeting and financial management, project management, strategic advisor, and contract negotiations. As a member of the King County Executive Office I worked to improve operations and establish efficiency across all county departments. My wife and I own a small business in Redmond. In addition, I will bring a view of community service shaped by the experience of an active life that has always been dedicated to improving the health and happiness of others. I have lead a very active life in Redmond that includes serving as president of a major health and tennis club, scuba diving, backpacking, private airplane pilot, extensive international travel, and coaching young kids in basketball, baseball, and soccer through the City of Redmond recreation programs.

4) How does the Mayor work with the Council in our City?

The Mayor provides guidance to council in their legislative role as makers of policy, and administers the council’s decisions such as managing city budgets, managing and reporting on city operations, and implementing policies, strategies, and other initiatives. The Mayor should work collaboratively with city council as an independent elected by the voters in Redmond, but is also part of a system of checks and balances to ensure citizens are responsibly represented.  Both the Mayor and Council should engage with the community to better understand current and emerging issues and to clarify city plans and actions.

5) How do you plan to stay connected with the people in the City of Redmond?

It is a matter of values that begins at the highest level of leadership. I know that talking with people broadens my understanding. Proactive engagement between the government and the citizens is at the heart of a democratic society. It is how we negotiate living together. I would include monthly outreach where key staff and department heads would join me to meet with community groups and citizens in their neighborhoods. I would make community engagement and service a major improvement initiative for all city staff. I would lead by example and empower city staff by encouraging innovation with clear and effective roles. I would make it easier and more meaningful for people to participate in city government by creating and promoting opportunities to engage with city representatives that are supported by delivering more information about city issues and activities so citizens can more easily stay on top of what’s going on. I would encourage and share public forums with city council, neighboring city officials and local and regional business and community service organizations. I would expand the size, promote, and broaden the reach of community matching grants. I would use the right information technology tools to support decision making and keep the public informed and include them in the decision making process, not just every two years at budget time.

6) What projects are you excited about?

The projects I am most excited about are the projects that will result in improvement of city capabilities to better manage our growth. This includes the development of an updated and understandable strategic plan that will establish a framework to balance our city growth where planning includes community engagement, investment in infrastructure is prioritized to improve quality of life for the people who live here, environmental and social impacts are addressed and cared for. This project will set the right foundation for all of the physical projects and changes that will make our city great.

7) What projects would you like to see proposed or planned for the City?

Transportation and the ability to move in and around or core centers quickly and safely is a major challenge. This would include evaluating our best options for spatial planning and the location of streets, parking, bike paths and transit routes.

One of the first things I will do after taking office as Mayor of Redmond will be to hire and establish positions within city staff with the credentials and expertise to oversee a City Urban Forest Plan implementation, Tree Retention, Sustainability efforts, Climate Change Response, and overall Environmental Planning efforts.

In addition, I will establish a Wetland Scientist/Stream & Wildlife Biologist position that reviews critical areas studies for accuracy, reviews development applications for compliance with critical areas regulations, relays related regulatory requirements to developers and applicants, engages in city restoration efforts, and tracks environmental mitigation projects in the city.

8) What challenges do you think the residents of Redmond face in the coming year?  5 years?  10 years?

Redmond has the business and financial resources, a strong sense of community spirit, natural environmental beauty and variety, and the innovative and creative people who live here to build a city that is great! Our biggest challenge and our most pressing need is to embrace this opportunity while it is still possible. This begins with city leadership that has the vision and the passion to lead the community together. Our challenges on growth, transportation gridlock, climate change impacts, public safety, cost of living, and city budgets are best met when we look forward together and address the issues head-on. For example, the rising use of drugs such as heroin has become our number one public safety issue.  We need to address this now as a community.

9) How do you feel Redmond meets the needs of small businesses?   Do you think Redmond could do better?

I am a small business owner and am proud of the contribution we make to our city. Small businesses spur growth and innovation, provide employment opportunities to people, and attract talent who invent new products or implement new solutions for existing ideas. In addition to their importance to our local economy, small business build much of our character, charm and unique identity.

Over the past eight years Redmond City government has ignored the needs of small business. This was highlighted by the OneRedmond economic development partnership with the city and its pay-to-play system that effectively shut out small businesses and educational organizations. Recently, after years of not including small business in the conversation of the city’s growth, changes have been made to make some overtures to include small business. This happened late last summer and well into the current campaign race for Mayor. It is likely that if this would have been another uncontested election in the city of Redmond these changes may not have happened.

10) What project or projects would you like to have been involved in and why?

I would like to have been involved years ago in  the development of a city-wide strategic plan. I believe this would have resulted in better decisions on our design standards for building, highlighted the need for balanced growth, and put in place a vision supported by the citizens that resulted in defined objectives and the means to achieve the right outcomes

11) Do you feel Redmond is in step with other cities of like size and demographics?

Although Redmond is similar to other cities it has the unique element that the day-time population growth rate is the highest in the nation. This of course is the effect of Microsoft and makes Redmond a major employment center. Redmond is greatly influenced by Microsoft as an important resident but Redmond is much more than just the location of one of the world’s most important companies.

Because of this Redmond is often considered prosperous and a more successful city based on economic benchmarks. One of these is the much touted “cost of government” metric. However, given the higher salaries earned in the technology industry, this metric may not be indicative of the burden on the typical resident. Also, because the city does not include the storing up what’s called “Catch Up” costs in the city budget documents, this benchmark does not tell an honest picture of what city government will ultimately cost.  Furthermore, Redmond does not have on-staff environmental engineers or biologists to help protect our urban forest, wetlands, and water quality in the face of substantial growth. Redmond should comprehensively benchmark major issues such as environmental management, road gridlock, and business turnover.

12) What are the short and long term plans to address the growing homeless situation?

Homelessness is a regional issue that will require combined leadership to find the locations and services to get people off our streets. The people who live in our community without homes are there very a broad range of reasons and require different services to help transform their lives. The city and regional governments must actively work together and support the many and varied non-profit agencies that attempt to meet these needs.

Short-term, we need to set the expectations in our communities that dignity is an important element to help people change their lives and their circumstances. Sometimes, just the availability of a shower and breakfast is the chance to begin a new life. Often, it takes help with domestic violence, drug addiction, or improving work and life skills.  Outreach and education is needed to set social expectations and responsibilities for behavior by people regardless of their housing circumstances. This is a challenge that will always exist, but we can face it head-on and work to transform lives at an ongoing basis.

13) What are the short and long term plans to address the growing crime rate?

The increase in our crime rate is primarily property crime and fraud. Both types of crime can be reduced by using an approach that combines educational outreach and increasing awareness of what is causing the crimes and crime prevention. As mentioned in question 8 above, drug addiction is a growing problem that leads to property crime. The city needs to complete the cause and effect analysis of our crime and identify where preventative methods will work best. For example, bank account or computer fraud can be reduced through outreach programs that educate citizens and make them aware of typical scams. Outreach through our community service and law enforcement officials can help reduce drug use and have a direct impact on the reduction of property crime. Also, ensuring that there are enough officers in our police department to protect citizens and investigate and solve crimes is essential to both prevention and building confidence in the community.

14) How is the city going to mitigate traffic congestion and parking shortages with all the growth going on?

We are growing past our capacity to handle the impact of traffic and congestion with the current infrastructure and transit capabilities. I believe the City method to measure growth impact on traffic is not be used effectively. We need new methods to calculate impacts and evaluate solutions. This would be a first priority. Our prosperity and enjoyment of our lives greatly depends on the effort and time it takes to get to places.

  1. A number of things that could be looked at:
  2. Evaluation of a targeted shuttle system especially for senior communities.
  3. Evaluate placing limited small shops and stores in neighborhood locations to limit traffic downtown
  4. Look at where roads that by pass downtown could decrease congestion
  5. Look at how the city is spatially constructed and find ways to make typical trips more convenient or less spread out. Right now our downtown areas is fragmented.
  6. Conduct a comprehensive parking study that involves local businesses to determine more optimal parking locations and create space for business expansion.
  7. We need to consider how to manage the rate of growth so that we are more balanced with the current as well as future transit system to support what we add in residences and businesses.

15) How do you feel the about the Budget by Priorities method the City currently uses?

I am an industry expert on budgeting and have over 35 years of professional experience in all forms and techniques of budgeting and performance management. The concept of Budgeting by Priorities is very similar to many other methods that provide a way for local governments to focus on the results desired by their communities. Other budgeting methods include Managing for Results, Budgeting for Outcomes and Balanced Scorecard. However, current methods used by the city do not result in good budgeting decisions. This is evidenced by the failed tax levies in August and the lack of clarity on how budgets are determined and managed, and how major projects that have limited value were approved. It is important to have the right methods and tools to determine and manage budgets, but it requires skilled leadership and decision-making values to be successful. In this case it is the leadership that fails, not the principles of the methodology.

16) How can the City remain fiscally accountable to the taxpayers?

Fiscal management and accountability to taxpayers is a core principle to my management and leadership plan. Both begin through engagement with citizens to truly understand priorities and provide them the clear and understandable information on how their tax dollars are used. The most important element is to ensure that the entire city staff sees cost efficiency as a primary responsibility in their work.

Website:  https://electstevefields.com/
LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-fields/17/5a7/a8
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ElectSteveFields
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Fields4Redmond

<Author’s note:  I asked incumbent Mayor John Marchione the same set of questions and have never received a response.>

The Culture of Marchione’s Administration (Bob Yoder, Opinion Piece)

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Posted on Redmond Neighborhood Blog 

UPDATED OPINION, 9/18: The culture of Marchione’s Administration strangles Council’s representation and participation

OPINION:  I have been a resident of Redmond for over 33 years.  I watch the City Council meetings every week. I agree with several people on the Facebook Group “Education Hill in Redmond” that something is missing from the council meetings. One of the reasons I’m voting against Marchione is because of his tight grip on the Council. Only once in a blue moon will a councilmember disagree with the Mayor or his peers and when they do disagree they very rarely speak their mind in a council meeting. I can think of only two instances that a Councilmember publicly disagreed with the Mayor. One was David Carson who said he was against the Redmond Way – Cleveland Street realignment. (He barely got it out but he said it and was ignored by his peers).  The other was when Councilman Hank Myers spoke out forcefully against the medians on 166th Avenue. Recently I was at the So Bazzar and ran into Hank Myers. He is a nice man, and a very hard working and capable councilman as are all our councilmembers.  He shared with me his views on Proposition One and Two.  Was I surprised!  I asked him why he didn’t speak up at any council meetings about his position.  He promised he would try to be more open about issues in the future — and this from the most transparent member on Council.  Transparency builds trust in our government and it’s lacking within Council chambers.    

John Marchione has an underlying “rule” with Council to keep disagreements off record so that his meetings run smoothly and according to his Administration’s plan.  The problem with Marchione’s culture is that it strangles council’s ability to represent their constituents and speak their minds. That’s a good reason why council meetings are so stale and the everyday resident won’t visit City Hall to speak their minds in “Items from the Audiance.”  I will continue to be a government nerd and write my blog and Letters to the Editor at the Redmond Reporter.  I truly value the democratic dialogue that the Fields campaign is stimulating. It helps to cleanse the Redmond government process and revitalizes our City.

By Bob Yoder 

Strong Support for Steve Fields (Letter by Roberta Domos, Redmond resident)

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<Letter sent to Redmond Reporter Editor, Andy Nystrom; not printed in September 18, 2015 edition>

Dear Editor (Redmond Reporter):

As a resident and small business owner in Redmond I want to add my strong support and endorsement of Steve Fields for Mayor of Redmond. Steve’s solid work history shows that he has the right experience for the job. More importantly, he is not only attentive to the concerns of citizens, he actually understands those concerns. When I saw that Steve Fields was running I contacted him via email even though we had never met. He responded to me very quickly and actually asked to meet with me one on one to discuss the issues the city faces. The fact that he actually listens is a welcome relief and that alone makes him one of the most refreshing candidates for any office that I have ever met.

In contrast, the current mayor only seems interested in the feedback of the residents and business owners whose views directly align with his. He uses the fancy buzz phrase that “development should pay for development,” yet development has not paid for development, hence the need for levies to pay for amenities that attract and enrich out-of-town developers.

In my view, Mayor Marchione is much too cozy with these developers. Consider the following example before you cast your vote in November:

John Marchione was instrumental in forming OneRedmond – a “public – private partnership” to which Redmond taxpayers contribute $100,000 per year. OneRedmond has 43 members, many of whom are either out-of-town real estate developers, or businesses that make their money from the real estate development industry. As part of the process of forming OneRedmond, the Redmond Chamber of Commerce, which had 450 members (mostly small businesses) was dissolved. So clearly, Mayor Marchione is not very interested in the views and concerns of small businesses in Redmond.

John Marchione sits on the board of OneRedmond along with councilman Tom Flynn, and sitting next to him is a Kirkland developer, Robert Pantley. Mr. Pantley is proposing to build yet another “micro suite” building, 162Ten, in Redmond. These buildings typically consist of 95 “suites” that are simply a bedroom and a bathroom. They are about 150 square feet each, and rent for up to $1000 per month, not including parking fees. If you wondered what has been driving up normal apartment rents, wonder no longer. Anything goes if you can rent 150 square feet for nearly $1000 per month. It seems like 2007 all over again, where supply and demand economics goes out the window and the price is decided on the concept of “how much can we get?”

Of interest, OneRedmond claims to own the site where Pantley wants to build “162Ten” because the Chamber of Commerce owned it, and OneRedmond subsumed them. This is also the site of the old Nokomis club building, a site of historical significance. Despite that, the OneRedmond board on which Marchione sits sold it to fellow board member, Pantley, with the express purpose of demolishing it.  Sadly, Pantley’s company has been approved for these builds by the city, even when they require zoning variances for parking or other favors, such as ignoring the historical significance of a building. The appearance of a conflict of interest is strong, in my opinion.

Mayor Marchione promoted and is using $32 million dollars in city funds to pay for a downtown park that is clearly meant for the tenants of these developers given that it has no parking nearby. It is a nice amenity for developers to tout to potential tenants of these high and mid-rise buildings, but unfortunately these gifts to developers are hard on the taxpayer’s checkbook. That’s is why the Mayor asked for the park levy that subsequently failed. The fact that he now says the failure of the levies indicates to him that Redmond voters think he is doing an excellent job just might be the most out of touch statement I have ever heard from a politician.

John Marchione seems to have forgotten that he was elected to represent the citizens of Redmond first, and foremost – not the developers. In my opinion it is time to thank Mayor Marchione for his years of service, and elect Steve Fields to replace him.

Best,

Roberta Domos

The Mayor faces a Highly-Qualified Challenger (Letter by Art Olson)

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The Mayor faces a Highly-Qualified Challenger

We haven’t had a mayoral race that has been contested for eight years. As a resident of Redmond for over 18 years, I have been intrigued by the growing excitement over Redmond’s mayoral race, our only competitive municipal race this year.

I’ve known Steve Fields personally and professionally for most of those 18 years. I’m glad to see a highly-qualified candidate taking the initiative to run for mayor to change the status quo and move Redmond forward with new leadership. As a voter, it is refreshing to place my confidence in a strong candidate with fresh ideas and vote for change.

As a small business owner I interacted with Steve over the past decade where he worked in the Executive Office at King County and the City of Seattle advising on policy, performance improvement, and budgeting. I found his approach to solving problems to be very creative while keeping budgetary goals in mind.

His everyday responsibilities were to manage government and find innovative ways to make it better for its stakeholders: we the people. He worked across all levels of the organizations improving operations for the Department of Transportation and the Department of Natural Resources and Parks. He has expertise in capital investment and implementing new efficiency methods and systems for all departments.

From my experience, I think Steve is a candidate that took his wealth of private sector experience in finance and contracts working with government agencies and translated those skills to become a successful public servant in local government.

Join me and many of my friends and neighbors in voting for Steve Fields to lead a government that will better serve its citizens.

<Letter sent to Steve Fields for Mayor campaign office, also printed in Redmond Reporter, September 11, 2015>