Election 2009: Candidate Answers

Published on Wed, Oct 7, 2009
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Candidates for Blaine City Council were asked the following question: What values and principles are most important in guiding your decision-making and how will they come into play as a Blaine City Council member making decisions about the city's future?
Here is what they had to say...

Blaine Council Ward 1, Position 2

Bonnie Onyon

My values are rooted in the dignity of each human being. The citizens of Blaine should be afforded the quality of life they deserve and work so hard for. I have lived here for over 25 years and I believe I know the pulse of this community and what its citizens value most. We all want to be proud of our neighborhoods and city, and to trust in city government to protect and serve us.

During the time I have been on the city council, I have earnestly endeavored to listen and make myself available to anyone with questions, concerns, or suggestions about what could make our community better. The only way Blaine can be self-determining and the best that it can be is for city leaders to listen to the needs and  desires of the community.

My values and principles make me the person I am. I apply them in every decision or situation that faces me as a city council member, and I solicit and value input from citizens in making those decisions. Nothing makes me prouder of this community than to see the council chambers full of concerned citizens trying to make a difference in our town. I am truly blessed to live in Blaine.

David White

In my previous eight years on the council my decisions were based on what was the greatest benefit for the majority of the people of Blaine, and would also be the most cost effective. I do not make these decisions lightly and I go so far as to discuss issues with the people of my area to get their input. I do not set myself up as someone who is better than the people I represent, but as a voice for those who wish to be heard.
The people of this town pay the bills and they have a right to know how and why their money is being spent, and the best use of their money, which I fully intend to watch with a close eye.

Blaine Council At Large, Position 7

John George

First of all a council member must represent the people’s best interest. Fact: I stopped the passing of the critical areas ordinance at council forcing council to hold a public hearing prevent the city from taking our land. My opponent cast the deciding council vote passing the CAO into law. I fought for the rights of land owners.

Fact: I stopped the wasted attempt to spend $200,000 for a portable toilet to be placed in a back alley to promote tourism. My actions prevented this ignorant waste of tax dollars.

Fact: I would suspend all unnecessary construction for one year which represents 52.1 % ($37 Million) which creates a positive balanced cash flow rich budget overnight. My opponent has no answers. I do.

Fact: It is ridiculous the city manager costs over $149,000. I would cut this in half implementing an earned bonus payment structure forcing Tomsic to earn his keep based on performance. My opponent just sits there doing nothing as usual.

In four months I have done more to help our city prosper than my opponent has done in four years. Vote for John George or don’t complain about our empty downtown buildings.

Lastly – $50,000 to paint a sewer to promote tourism? We need changes – we need John George.
We could buy the paint and any student group would do this for free!

Charlie Hawkins

The values and principles that I bring to the Blaine City Council are based on my lifelong residency and my participation in community affairs currently and in the past. Over the years I’ve volunteered for the school and the city. I’ve helped with children, sports, 4th of July celebrations, Christmas Giving Tree, Birding Festivals, as a member of the park board, the Drayton Harbor Shellfish group and numerous other civic groups.

With this long term commitment I’ve come to realize how important it is to have a long term view of what our community will be like in my grandchildren’s time. We need to have strong rules over development to keep the quality of our community as good as it is now.

Our parks need our support to continue to progress and serve the needs of future generations. We need to continue to work with the N.W. Park and Recreation District to reach these goals. Most importantly we need to keep our park impact fee on new development in place to implement the City Park Plan.

The guidelines worked on by community groups and voted into place by the city council for design standards, signage and road improvements need to be kept in place. Road impact fees also need to be left in place for new development.

Because of present economic conditions there is a move to eliminate all connections and hookup fees in the city. My opposition to this is to keep the people who currently living in Blaine from having to subsidize new development in the city. It is wrong to put any additional burden on the present residents of Blaine.

Whatcom County Council

Candidates for Whatcom County Council were asked the following question: What values and principles are most important in guiding your decision-making and how will they come into play as a county council member making decisions about the county’s future?

Whatcom County Council District 1, Position A

Kathy Kershner

There are certain principles that should always be adhered to. In no particular order, here are some of mine:
I believe my role as a councilmember is one of representation. A government should serve the people it represents, not rule them. The will of the people should be paramount in the decisions of their government representatives. I understand what it means to place service above self having served our country for 22 years in the U.S. Navy.

I value and respect the public process. I will make it a priority to seek and listen to your input before decisions are made that will affect you. As stated in the Birch Bay Blog, “Local entities are the bedrock of democracy requiring citizen participation and government transparency.”

Cooperation and coordination between local governments at all levels is essential to achieve compliance with state and federal laws and to maintain a high level of public safety.

The natural environment is not only of inherent value in and of itself, it is also a critical part of our economy. The two must be harmonized for the benefit of all and we must make smart decisions that protect our cherished quality of life.

Due to our current economic circumstances, I see my number one job as doing my utmost to stimulate our local economy. I believe that private industry is the key to economic recovery and I will promote programs that support businesses so they can create good paying jobs and foster a robust economy.

Dan McShane

The values I bring to each decision I make as a councilmember:

•    Facts matter: I’m a scientist so I value facts and research each issue. If it’s a land use decision I visit the site to see the issue firsthand.

•    Broad public benefit: I make sure each decision benefits the whole community.

•    Hard work: I take the time to research and bring new ideas forward so we make progress.

•    A clean, healthy environment: I strive to make our environment better and do not support measures that cause harm.

•    Everyone is important: I make sure that we improve opportunities for all our citizens, including those in need, so that our local economy will prosper. I also try to keep an open mind until the very end because people testify and provide valuable knowledge and experience,

I work to make Whatcom County an even better place to live.As a geologist I have a deep understanding of our land use and take the view that the land should tell us what is best. We have areas of outstanding agricultural soil and it is imperative that these be protected for farming and not used for development. Clean, plentiful water resources are critical to our future. We must protect our water for farming, fish, drinking and recreation. We are in tough economic times and I’ll adjust our spending so that we can invest in projects that bring prosperity to all levels of our community.

Whatcom County Council Dist. 2, Pos. A

Ken Mann

My political philosophy is as follows. I believe government should promote the common good by ensuring freedom, opportunity, and security for all. I believe that truth, equality, and basic fairness are the pillars of democracy. Government should be tolerant, and encourage open, honest political debate. We should always be looking towards the future and actively engaged in securing a healthy, just, and sustainable Whatcom County.

 This will come into play every day and with every decision. We are continually making adjustments to our budgets – we should treat every expenditure as an investment that we expect will provide benefits now and in the future.

Our land-use decisions have to consider today’s needs and the needs of future generations for the basic staples – clean air and water, productive farmland, and adequate housing. Education, criminal justice, and public works decisions all have ramifications for the future, and that aspect will be part of every decision I make.

Mary Beth Teigrob

The values and principles that will guide me as your County Council member are the same values and principles that guide me in my personal life: honesty, integrity and fair mindedness.

My responsibility as your County Council member is to represent you – the people – not a personal agenda or one pushed by a special interest group. I value and respect the wide variety of views and experiences people in our community have and will listen with a fair and open mind to people’s concerns and opinions. It’s not my role to tell you how you should live.

Protecting quality of life for today and future generations means protecting the unique character of each community and neighborhood. The Council should think more practically about the true impacts of their one-size-fits all type of planning. I will look at the facts and evaluate the options to make decisions that best represent what you want for your community.

I will use my experience as a business owner to be frugal with taxpayer money, ensuring that we keep public safety and other essential services covered without raising taxes on people who are just barely getting by.

I was born and raised here. I operated a boarding stable for 13 years. I know firsthand what it takes to be a good steward of the land and water. I will put my personal experience to work for the people of Whatcom County to preserve the rural character that’s so important to us all.

Whatcom County Council Dist. 3, Pos. A

Michelle Luke

I value honesty, fairness, balance and process. By combining these principles together effectively, we will achieve much-needed consensus on the difficult issues we’re facing and allow players from all sides to participate with an equal voice.

I will treat people the way I want to be treated: with respect, consideration and fairness.

Local government policies affect our day-to-day lives more than at any other level. Legislation shouldn’t trump anyone’s right to participate.

I will establish measurable goals, listen to experts on all sides, then use balance and common sense to secure results.

I will take very seriously the council oath to represent the people. True representation happens by listening more than talking and approaching decisions with an open mind, not a predetermined outcome.

 I will make decisions only after assessing the impacts they will have on real people.
The current county council has failed to acknowledge that business and economic development are important reasons for the quality of life we all enjoy here. I will support – not undermine – business’ efforts to succeed.

Unfortunately, we are still too fragmented in our planning processes to provide citizens and businesses the predictability they deserve and require to adequately plan for their own futures. Coordination among the county and our cities is the only way we can holistically approach responsible growth.

We owe our grandchildren an even better quality of life than we enjoy today. I believe we achieve that by embracing our shared values and working together toward balanced solutions.

Carl Weimer

I moved to Washington State 30 years ago because of the amazing beauty of the area - mountains, ocean, flowing rivers, green farmland. For the past 18 years I have worked to protect these things, and have learned that the vast majority of residents and business leaders believe the protection of this - our quality of life - should be one of the highest priorities for local government. Finding ways to protect these things was the main reason I ran for the County Council in the first place. After four years on the Council I remain committed to finding ways to provide for the basic needs of any community (law enforcement, courts, transportation, health, etc) in cost effective ways that leave enough money to be able to move forward on “quality of life” issues too.

I approach decision making from both my science background and my 25 years of management level business experience. While varied experience can provide the common sense to have a fairly good idea of which decisions may be best, only by also combining a complete review of the available data, financial costs, and input from informed citizens can a good decision be made. I am often referred to as the “number cruncher” on the Council because I like to take as much information as possible, and use it to help craft decisions that are not only the right decisions, but also the most cost effective to benefit the most people.

Next week: Whatcom County Council At Large and the Port of Bellingham races...