During the month of October, we are hosting meet and greets with candidates for the Mercer Island City Council. This Sunday we welcome Jon Hanlon to meet his consituents.
My wife, Susanne, and I moved to Mercer Island in 2011 after a 2+ year search to find the right home for our growing family. Our motivations were the same as many, great schools, amazing parks, community events, and easy access to the region for work and play.
This election will decide if Mercer Island concerns will be prioritized by the City Council or if regional priorities will drive the agenda. I will represent Mercer Island, without apology. Regardless of the issue, my sole focus will be listening to the Mercer Island community.
The Sound Transit settlement does not require Mercer Island to allow a regional transit hub. Metro is not a party to the Settlement Agreement. Our City Council should not accept or allow development or operations beyond what is explicitly established by the settlement. Any changes to the agreement need to be made formally through the mechanisms in the existing agreement or by establishing a new agreement. Any amendment must also come with legally required environmental reviews (SEPA). Traffic flow, public safety, and town center impacts must be addressed based on facts from the SEPA, not ad hoc "studies" conducted without any legal basis.
When I am elected to city council any change to the established agreement with Sound Transit will follow what is required by the agreement and law. We must say no to Sound Transit's attempts to modify the terms of the agreement.
Additional traffic / volumes will require Sound Transit to provide public safety funding to Mercer Island. Additional mitigation will be required for traffic and any other impacts that are identified within the SEPA. I will not agree to a plan that would accept a road LOS reduction or projected increases in crime.
My opponent is on the record supporting the Sound Transit "Optimal Solution".
4/30/2019 - Special Meeting- "I'm in favor of the Optimal Service [Sound Transit Configuration] to give us ultimate flexibility in the short-term and long-term."
These changes are not beneficial to Mercer Island and would just allow Sound Transit to gut the constraints negotiated in the Settlement Agreement. The only flexibility here is for Sound Transit and Metro - there is no flexibility for Mercer Island.
Proposition 1 failed, in large part, because Mercer Island voters did not see the current city council take the necessary cost containment steps before asking for more revenue. On the council, I will support the city manager with implementing management and process techniques that will reduce cost, improve service delivery, and increase transparency into city operations. As an operations and project management leader with over 20 years of experience in aviation and technology industries, I have a track record of improving processes and delivering results on safety sensitive & mission critical programs.
Mercer Island is highly valued for its unique "small city" character while existing between two of the largest cities in Washington State. Part of that character is the excellent public safety afforded residents and visitors alike. Maintaining public safety in our parks, in our neighborhoods, and on the water is a core duty of the city.
Transit integration and Seattle's humanitarian crisis of drugs, mental illness, and vagrancy are going to continue to put increased pressure on our public safety services. On the council, I will put Islander safety above good intentions and starry-eyed policy. We need to get ahead of the problem, not wait for it to become one.
Town Center Development
The city council needs to revisit the comp plan for the town center to support our local business. The current designs drive rents that are too high for a diverse number of businesses to thrive. It is not sustainable for Islanders to travel off island for goods and services they have at their doorstep today.
Protect our Parks
Regional population growth forecasts combined with constraints established by the Growth Management Act translate to more density. If we do not protect our parks and open spaces, eventually these community treasures will become targets for development. It is the city’s duty to protect our parks for current and future residents of Mercer Island. I support placing our parks and open spaces in a trust, just like what has already been done for Pioneer Park.