Read my platform ideas and send me an email to tell me what you think
Climate Change is here. It isn’t something that will affect us in the future. It isn’t something that happens “over there” to “those people”. It’s affecting us here, in Burien, right now.
When many of us think of climate change, we think of issues at a global level…drought in Tanzania, flooding in the Philippines, fires across the North American Continent. We often don’t realize that we can affect, and can protect ourselves from the effects of, climate change right here in Burien.
We can. It’s vitally important that we do.
We are all familiar with the motto “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”, and recycling and composting are a way of life for us here in Western Washington. But there is more to this than just making sure that food waste goes in the compost bin and metal goes in the recycling bin. However, individual changes are not enough to address the scope of this problem. We need leadership to implement these principles community-wide.
Burien has already taken steps forward on this with the passage of a plastic ban ordinance and creation of an urban center in downtown that, among other things, focuses on pedestrian/bicycle paths.
I’d like to lead Burien into the next era of this work, by creating a Climate Plan similar to the one Portland began in 1993. This plan would provide a twenty-year map to reduce CO2 emissions and airport particulate matter, increase urban centers across Burien that encourage affordable housing and pedestrian/bicycle use, and protect our parks and shorelines from the inevitable rise of sea levels and increased drought conditions that encourage fires.
By having a long-term plan for reducing vehicle emissions, particulate matter from the airport, maintaining wetlands and waterways, and protecting our shoreline, Burien can be a showcase for how small cities can lead the fight for sustainability in South King County and beyond.
Our homeless population is growing (especially in the senior community). Because a homeless community is like any other community, it has diverse people with diverse needs. We need to create a plan to help our homeless population in a humane and compassionate way while we maintain the safety of our city. My plans include a men’s-only shelter, investigating a tiny homes encampment, and creating a new Comprehensive Plan with a 20 year forecast that includes changes to help our homeless off of the streets, including plans for more affordable housing.
Some of our homeless are addicted to drugs. This is why I am in favor of both the LEAD program and safe injection sites. Drug addicts will be shooting up no matter where they are. I would rather they do so in safe injection sites where resources can also be provided that can help them get off drugs, than see my children find needles in parks.
Some of our homeless are mentally ill. Putting mentally ill people in jail for crimes that they have no mental control over committing is cruel and unusual punishment. I support more humane treatment that directs them into mental health clinics and provides them with medication that they must use. Some of our homeless have simply landed on hard times. Occasionally they commit petty crimes to survive (stealing food, vagrancy in hopes of handouts, prostitution for money, etc). These people need help, not jail time. We need to create a comprehensive program to help our homeless citizens, or “the homeless members of our community” or something that makes them “us” not “them” off of the streets and back into a home and job. It is our responsibility as a community to do so, but it is also in the best interest of our entire community.
And for those who don’t want to spend money on such a program, consider that three days jail time for petty crimes costs MORE than three days of shelter.
Our city has grown by more than 20,000 people since 2010. In comparison, the previous two decades saw an increase in population of less than 1300 residents each. Our city is becoming bigger, and with a bigger population and size comes bigger responsibilities. One of them is to protect our small businesses in light of new and larger businesses coming in. I’m concerned that small businesses will be left out of the conversation as Burien grows, and I want to be a voice for the small business owners that keep our city going and provide a distinct character to Burien.
I have been a business owner in the past, owning a podcast and Internet Radio business in the early to mid 2000’s. I understand the needs of a business as well as the needs of a worker. I have advocated for both by attending business meetups run by our local chamber of commerce (Discover Burien) and getting to know local business owners in diverse industries.
One example of the city council leaving small business out of the conversation is Burien’s proposal to build a hotel in downtown. I believe that this will not benefit the economy here as tourists are attracted to the small town atmosphere of Burien. We should focus on our tourist economy with more B&Bs and small hotels based on historical businesses. I also believe that we must increase our minimum wage in Burien (with exemptions, similar to Seattle’s, for businesses).
We must move forward as a growing city without abandoning the strong historic elements in our community; this is one way to do both.