These are the issues I stand for, issues you’ve told me are important to you.
- Good government
- Safe streets
- Strong communities
- Affordable housing
- Living-wage jobs
- Sustainable city
- Respect for human rights and dignity.
City Council can’t make our lives perfect. It can make them better. I’ll improve our quality of life with these common-sense plans.
GOOD GOVERNMENT: Transparent, Responsive, Representative
Transparent – the public should know how and when government makes decisions, and how they can affect public policy. As your Councilor, I’ll hold monthly town halls where I’ll listen to your concerns and tell you what Council has done and plans to do. We should also know how the revenue from our water bills is distributed. I’ll strongly advocate for each bill to show where the money goes.
Responsive –the public should know when their daily life will be affected by utility & road work, etc. There are opportunities for affordable counseling, training, housing, and more. There are loans and grants. We should know how & where to ask for it. I’ll increase outreach about planned work and available assistance. I’ll be there to help with questions or problems. I’ll respond to emails.
Representative – the public deserves honest representation. Few of us have time to study the recoating of Reservoir #19, and the hazardous materials protection that will be required. We elect people to do that for us. I’ll work for all of District Six. I’ll be your voice at City Hall.
SAFE STREETS: Rule of the Sea – yield to the weaker vessel
Put pedestrians first. Make children and the differently-abled the highest priority in traffic planning. Walkers, bikers, wheelchairs, and other low-speed road users need the highest protection. I’ll work for lower speed limits throughout Bremerton. These are inexpensive measures we can take while we wait for Complete Streets to be funded and installed.
Traffic wardens and speed cameras – two ways we could enforce speed limits. The red-light cameras generate revenue for streets and sidewalks. Speed cameras and traffic wardens would likely pay for themselves. Our police are too busy to enforce speed limits – let’s petition the state legislature to make Bremerton a pilot project for speed cameras. Let’s investigate hiring traffic wardens whose only job is to issue traffic tickets. I’ll work to install some speed control measures on Marine Drive, on Snyder Ave, on Corbett Ave, on 13th St between Kitsap Way and Callow Ave, and more.
Paint – striping, crosswalks, signs – is another inexpensive way to keep pedestrians safe. White stripes warn drivers to stay in their lane. Crosswalks let them know where pedestrians cross – and at night, especially, makes it easier to see them cross. Signs that show speed limits and street names are vital in our town, where so many road users are newly arrived for a tour or a contract. I’ll submit this as a priority for 2022. Because schoolkids shouldn’t have to jump into ditches on their way to schoolbus stop because drivers, many recently arrived, don’t have clear lanes to stay inside of. They fly down 13th St. from Kitsap Way to Callow Ave. And Corbett Ave. And Marine Dr. And Snyder. And many others. Send me your nominations!
Complete Streets – is a City program that will convert all major and many minor streets to provide sidewalks and bike lanes and vehicle lanes. Kitsap Way, for example, has all of these. At present levels of funding, District Six should see complete streets in 20 years or more. I’ll work to provide streets safe for all of us until Complete Streets are everywhere.
STRONG COMMUNITIES: Where neighbors look out for each other with respect
When we can walk safely around our neighborhoods, without fear of speeding drivers, we have time to admire gardens and paint jobs, to wave to our neighbors and maybe even chat. A safe neighborhood is one where we know our neighbors. In a strong community, we know which neighbors may need help in a pandemic, a Snowpocalypse, when the electricity goes out – and who can offer to run errands, to shovel snow, to bring candles or generators. I’ll work with Kitsap Dept of Emergency Management to form Neighborhood Care Associations to help us help each other.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING: Housing is a human right
Bremerton is on the right track to provide housing for the most vulnerable – the 72-unit Pendleton Place nears completion, where supportive services on-site will help the houseless move towards permanent housing. Rental and weatherization assistance programs help people stay in their homes. First-time homeowners are eligible for very low-interest loans to cover downpayment, repayable whenever they sell the house. I support these initiatives. I’ll seek funding to expand them.
Better landlords, better tenants: There are good renters and bad; landlords who work hard to maintain properties and others for whom it’s just a job. I’m working with landlords to create training to help renters become good tenants. Good tenants have a better chance of securing housing they can afford – many landlords have experienced bad tenants and decided that only high rent can protect their investment.
Fair share fees for landlords. Right now, a landlord pays one fee per rental, no matter how many properties that landlord owns. I’ll work to charge a fee for each rental.
Annual City inspection of each rental. Now, if a tenant’s roof leaks, that tenant has to inform the landlord and ask for repairs. If the landlord fails to make the repair, the burden is on the tenant to set government machinery into motion to get it repaired. And, as we all know, tenants who demand repairs fear they’ll lose their housing. I’ll work to require annual inspections of all rentals by a City inspector, to make sure that every tenant has a habitable home. Doesn’t have to be a palace with marble bidets. Just a warm place to live. A home that doesn’t make you ill.
MFTE that are truly local. Bremerton gives Multi-Family Tax Exemptions to developers who build a certain percentage of affordable housing. Trouble is, they use a county-wide income level. What’s affordable on Bainbridge Island is NOT affordable here in Bremerton, where median income is around $47K. I’ll work hard to change the MFTE to reflect our town.
LIVING-WAGE JOBS: A job should pay enough to live on
A worker should be able to support a small family with one job. I support a $15 minimum wage for all Bremerton workers with a clear path to promotion.
I’m third generation union. Union labor is a living wage. I’ll support existing unions and work to expand them throughout Bremerton.
Bremerton jobs for Bremerton people. I’ll work hard for a residency requirement for Bremerton Police Department and residency incentives for other City employees. For BPD, because if you only come here to correct us when we break the law, it’s likely that you see us only as law-breakers. Living here, waiting on line with us at grocery stores, saying hi to your neighbors, going to PTA meetings, etc., would help relations between officers and Bremerton people. I’ll also work hard for residency incentives for all City employees, because you best serve a community when you live in it.
Employees are better than contractors. Public Works director Tom Knuckey stated in Council that contracts cost about three times what his department would charge. But Council hasn’t wanted to hire more employees. With employees, you get institutional knowledge, loyalty, and team spirit. With contractors, you get people who come in, do a job, and get out. Their loyalty is to their company, not our city. I’ll work consistently to help departments hire employees.
SUSTAINABLE CITY: Self-sufficient and green
Make Bremerton greener. Protect heritage trees; give awards to gardens and urban farms; plant trees on City property; provide fruit trees, native trees, compost bins , water cisterns, to residents at low cost; expand Parks’ compost facilities – these are just some of the ways we can make a satellite photograph of Bremerton turn from present-day gray to green.
Become a more self-reliant city. The pandemic has shown us that supply chains can break down quickly. The more of the essentials we can provide right here, the better off we’ll be. The more victory gardens, repair shops, the more we can take care of ourselves and each other.
RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND DIGNITY: The foundation of all the above.
When you and your neighbor respect each other, you don’t have to call the police to get them to turn down their music. When you and your employer enjoy mutual respect, promotion and responsibility come naturally. When landlord and tenant act out of respect, rent is paid on time and repairs are done as needed. When officer and suspect respect each other, situations escalate much less often. Each human being has their own dignity. When we fail to respect that, we fail them and we fail ourselves.
What’s City Council? What does it do?
City Council is the legislative branch of City government. It’s like Congress, but only for Bremerton. Council was created by voters who approved a City Charter, which guides Council’s acts. Each of the seven districts in Bremerton elects a Councilor every four years.
Council votes on local legislation and decides how to spend income, based on public comment and information from City departments and other professionals. Council meets four times a month. First and 3rd Wednesdays at 5:30 are General Meetings, where the public can comment. Second and 4th Wednesdays at 5:00 are Study Sessions — the public can attend, but not comment.
One example of how this works: Public Works (PW) sent cameras down Warren and Burwell sewer lines. These old sewers need new linings to prevent sewage leaks. PW came to Council Study Session to explain the situation and get approval to spend money to re-line the sewers. Most of the money came from grants that PW regularly applies for, but they were short $500K, in part because PW is now using a non-styrenated resin to line pipes. It costs 10-15% more, but doesn’t produce toxic fumes. After PW answered all their questions, Council agreed that toxic fumes and sewage leaks are bad. They put this expense on the Consent Agenda. That means they’ll vote to approve it at the General Meeting, after asking for public comment.
It’s not a glamorous job. Most Council sessions are geek-fests. It’s not a high-paying job. It pays about $15K a year for a 20-30 hour workweek. It’s a useful job.