Some good discussions at Newport Hills last night. Not a great turnout unfortunately, but a more open format gave us all an opportunity to respond to each other's answers and cut loose a bit more.
As interesting - sorry, it's a political discussion... interesting's probably not the word - good as some of the other candidates were (JC and VS both had strong things to say), I'd like to follow up on a couple of exchanges between myself and Jennifer.
I made a point of having Jennifer answer first on a question about traffic safety. No specific mention of the accident on 140th last week, but she seems to think that enforcement by the police is the solution to traffic accidents, rather than intelligent design. She mentioned that she'd just asked for stats on accidents related to flashing yellow lights, and I've got a direct quote here - 'there are potentially some issues with flashing yellow arrows.'
Potential issues! This is where Vision Zero comes in. It's a policy being adopted by many of our region's cities, predicated on the questions, 1. 'How many deaths is an acceptable number our roads' and 2.'How many deaths of your family members is an acceptable number on our roads.' If you had a councilmember with Vision Zero in the back of their mind, we might be on the way to addressing safety on our roads, rather than brushing it under the carpet for fear of getting sued.
I'll be back later to finish this post. Got some stuff on the exciting world of permitting.
I've got to admit to being quite down about last night's forum.
To put in as much work as I have, speaking to various parties and trying to find some balanced facts on Energize Eastside, and then to realize that it's all for nothing, and there's nothing that will shift people from their bigoted arguments, makes me wonder what the buggery I'm doing this for. And worse, to find some of my fellow candidates both swayed by and perpetuating the misinformation that's been spread around (I hate to say it, mostly by CENSE), gives me little faith in the future.
Some truths to ponder.
1. PSE's capacity/delivery criteria are determined and mandated by the federal government. If you want to question the need for Energize Eastside, go to DC and knock on the door of the Capitol.
2. Unlike distribution lines, transmission lines like that proposed for Energize Eastside only go underground in 1% of cases where there are exceptional reasons why they should. Where they do, there can be no infrastructure built on top of them.
3. Energize Eastside will consolidate the existing dual set of ugly poles running up the pipeline corridor in Bridle Trails into one.
4. Seattle City Light will not allow PSE to use their corridor (the existing one with the big metal pylons looming over the houses around 124th), as they claim they need it to service growth in their own customer base.
Fortunately, from a personal standpoint, Jennifer does seem to have done some work on this, though I suppose that is what we pay her to do. That doesn't mean that she won't be pandering to the masses once again come voting time on the permits (see the Lake Hills energy project), but it beats the ill-informed comments of a Don Davidson hands down.
Far more worrying however was the attitude of all our candidates towards road safety. Personally, I had a tough time commenting on many of Bridle Trails' more trivial concerns in light of the horrific accident that occurred at the junction of 140th and Bel-Red Road on Tuesday. One that had ended in the death of an innocent two year old girl in her stroller, hit by the aftermath of a T-bone accident. Only a week ago, I had been out at that very junction photographing the lack of facilities there for the ped-bike implementation initiative. Earlier this year, I was presented to by the City's traffic police who specifically showed us videos of similar t-bone accidents caused by flashing yellow arrows.
So how disappointing is it, that having been challenged by me (on at least 3 separate occasions on Thursday night) to address the city's criminally low prioritisation of street safety compared to congestion management, not one candidate had the guts to come out in support of safer streets. Not only that, but we had to endure Vandana giving us some banal soundbite about how terrible it is that people can't get out of their neighborhoods, rather than attacking our transportation department over an accident that is directly attributable to shockingly poor design.
Two debates in and I have not been given one reason why I should vote for any of these candidates. Right now, I'll be writing the word 'NO' into the box for every race but my own.
And another thing. Claudia told me before the downtown forum that her husband had been on this site, and thought I had lots of opinions. In good way apparently. Well, I'm not so sure I agree. I think I have just four opinions.
- I think our city has underperformed to the point of negligence where it comes to providing ped-bike infrastructure.
- I'd like to see a city led attempt to establish neighborhood livability advisory commissions - modeled on the one we have downtown - with some kind of official line to our decision makers.
- I think our election process is seriously flawed, and I would push for a commission to look at ways of making it more competitive, inclusive and to remove the influence of campaign donations as much as possible.
- Despite initiatives like 'One City', we're still rubbish at cross departmental and inter-city dialogue. As far as cities go, it's time we raised the issue of merging into a future Greater Eastside.
And that's kind of it as far as what I'm pushing. Nothing unreasonable there. Sort these things out and solutions to other problems will come. I tried, and I think suceeded in raising most of these issues in the downtown forum, and will continue to do so in the next couple of weeks.
I apologize to anyone who took my criticism of recent council performance personally. I have plenty of respect for everyone who steps up to do a stint as a city councillor. If anyone did take umbridge at the way I brought the city's shortcomings to light, please understand that I'm just trying to point out that there are plenty of people out here in the city who would make terrific councilmembers. Whether I'm one of them, really isn't for me to decide.
A few things I took out of the forum.
1. Jane Hague seems nice enough (and when talking to her, a pretty hardcore cyclist too) but I'd say she appears to be sleepwalking though her role on the county. She came across as the consumate politician - and that's not meant as a compliment. Claudia Balducci on the other hand was very keen to show off her past acheivements and did it well, although I'd like to have heard her be more county specific, rather than referencing Bellevue so much.
2. I can't get a credit card between Michelle Hillhorst and Vandanna Slatter.
3. I've been a bit harsh on Don Davidson. I'll be honest and say that I think his time has gone as a councillor, but it's nice to hear someone talk about the nuts and bolts of governance like watching the budget, rather than ill informed soundbites about bike cops or Sound Transit improvements.
4. That said, I'll quote his 'You can always donate money to me - we all know how that works.'
5. I'm glad of my decision not to run against John Stokes. I'm not happy that we have an unopposed race. However, I feel that he understands the role of a councillor, he listens and I got good feedback from him when he asked that groups with concerns should come to the council with more specific requests. (Hopefully the work we are doing with the city's wikimap of ped/bike issues will allow us to do that soon.)
6. I'm not sure Jennifer likes me very much.
7. This was a terrible format for discussion.
As part of the Ped Bike Plan implementation initiative, many of us Bellevue cyclists have been asked to go out and photo document the state of our city's priority bike corridors. I did some the other day on West Lake Sammammish Boulevard.
This road is an embarrassment to our city, and big parts of it are unlikely to see out the year, let alone last until the projected completion date of this project of around 2030-40! Yet in this time, much of our city's focus and CIP budget has been thrown at Bel-Red. I'm all for the development of the Bel-Red corridor. But instead of raising sufficient extra resources to do it, we have pushed Bel-Red at the expense of candidate projects that can't be seen from the windows of City Hall.
That's why we need people from ALL OVER our city serving on our council.
I was asked to fill in a fun questionnaire from the Seattle Times today.
I'm sharing my answers to a questionnaire put together by Don Marsh of CENSE, the Coalition of Eastside Neighbors for Sensible Energy. Nice relevant questions for incumbents and candidates I thought.
One last post I couldn't resist. I want to share an hilarious bit of photoshop on Michelle Hilhorst's brochure, that I got through the mail yesterday.
City Council positions don't hold anything like the power or importance that people like to put on them. So let's not subject candidates to having to stretching the truth and pretend that they're more than they are with this competitive campaigning.
We're all amateurs, and that's the way representative government works. I wouldn't have it any other way.
Hi there. Based on the phone calls and emails I've had in the last few days, I just wanted to clarify my position on a few Bellevue issues before voting day.
1. Growth. I'm cautious. Letting private developments dictate how our City will look hasn't yielded great results downtown. Whilst I understand the role of developers, we need to learn the lessons of downtown growth and not have the same pattern of congestion, crime and sprawl as development moves to Bel-Red, Overlake and out of the downtown core. Slowly does it.
2. I'm not a Democrat. I'm not a Republican. City council is a non partisan race so please vote on City issues. If you really want to pigeon-hole me, I align myself with the kind of social democracy practised across northern europe, whilst accepting that socially, the US is a very different place. I pay more attention to how money is spent, than I do on how much money is allocated.
3. Energize Eastside. Sorry, I've tried to listen to all sides here, but I can't take a firm stance until I have a chance to ask PSE some tough questions about the project. I also understand the City's limited role in whether this project is allowed to proceed.
4. Transportation. Less planning for the future and more addressing our current problems (like the north/south corridors connecting Overlake and I90).
5. And finally, yes I'm against crooked backhanded political donations and the hideous plastic sign litter that comes with it. If you can't vote for any of the above, at least join me in making a stand on that.
Thanks. With that, I'm off on holiday for the next week and a bit. I'll be seeing you after the primaries.
Out last night with a City of Bellevue policy ride, led by Transportation planner Mike Ingram and Cascade Bike Club's Connect Eastside group. Disappointed not to see any other council candidates there, especially the ones who despite years of ignoring bikes in Bellevue, have been given the Cascade endorsement.
A quick summary:
There is to be state funding to improve the stretch of the Mountains to Sound trail between Factoria and 150th Av. The $15m grant will be used to improve what is essentially already a pretty decent stretch of road for non motorised travel, but won't be sufficient to connect through the real problem area in Eastgate.
Good to see 140th Av between NE 8th and the 520 trail is finally on the City's radar.
Development of the BNSF corridor - between Kirkland and the 520 - is now 2 years away. Mike seemed to think this was a positive statement, but I see what Kirkland did to their entire 6 mile long corridor in a similar time frame and wonder why it takes Bellevue so long to do things.
Thanks for Mike and everyone who turned up, but the downside of having a planner take these tours is that everything is 5, 10, 15 years in the future, and even then, only if funding can be found. In this campaign, I will be demanding improvements that make things safer and easier for bikes right now.
I'd like to take a minute to address the Seattle Times' editorial board's criticism that I didn't give them a clear vision of what to expect of me. To be honest, I will simply be dealing with the City's issues as and when they are presented to me, just like our current council does. It's tough for any challenger to compete with an incumbent's experience. What voters have to do, is be sure which of these achievements can be put down to the councillor, and which are the hard work of city staff, simply signed off by the council. I'd argue that all the acheivements mentioned in Jennifer's endorsement are the latter.
It's also interesting to read the Time's endorsement of Vandanna Slatter. In this race, it appears none of the challengers gave the ST editorial board an idea of what to expect from any of them. As a result the board have made a decision based on their careers and volunteer experience. As a voter, I'll be demanding that they take some positions on issues when the forums come round.
For a clearer, third party view of what the challengers for the Bellevue races are standing for, read Lynn Thompson's article (ST 7/14/15) on the two Bellevue primary races.
Thanks to all that raced our first Street Scramble at Redmond's always excellent Derby Days festival. We had a much bigger turnout than I ever expected, and fun was had by all. Special thanks to Tom Sanko, Angela Birney and Ellen Kaspi of the Redmond Parks Board, and Rachel Van Winkle of the City of Redmond, for making an event we've been trying to get off the ground for the last two years, finally happen.
Attached are my answers to a great questionaire from 'Transportation for Washington".
I am pleased to annouce that I have been officially classified as an ADEQUATE candidate by the Municipal League.
Of all the endorsers out there, instructing you on how you should vote, at least the Muni League mean well. They rank candidates as Not Qualified, Adequate, Very Good and Outstanding, using an internet questionaire and a 30 Saturday morning bout of 1990s job interview questions like "What are your strengths and weaknesses?" and "Describe a situation where you have resolved conflict in the past, and tell us how you did it."
To be fair, 99% of the time they would come to the same conclusions by asking ask three simple questions:
1 - "Could you to turn up to our interview today?" - (NO = not qualified)
2 - "Regardless of how much of a mess you have made of things, have you been a commissioner before?" - (YES = Very Good)
3 - "Regardless of how much of a mess you have made of things, have you been a council member before?" - (YES = Outstanding)
That makes me an proud adequate. How about helping me and OUR City become Outstanding in 4 months time.
Congratulation to Jane Hague for being the first candidate to make a mess of Bellevue's medians with their purple signs.
I had a bit of a deer in the headlights moment at this week's Seattle Times endorsement interview. I spent a little too much time responding to the interviewers' questions and I fear that my message - that we need better elections, more regional Eastside, and better representation of our neighborhoods - could have been lost in conversations about the white elephant of the Tateuchi Center and our city's tinkering at the edges of affordable housing. I came away - much as I came away from my conversation with John C last week - without much faith in the office of council and it's ability to do much more than sign off staff recommendations.
The interview I had the following day with reporter Lynn Thomson hopefully tidied things up, but the number of column inches that Seattle gives to Bellevue will most likely work against me there.
I was particularly concerned in our interview about J Rob's stance on diversity. She was very proud to take credit for the appointment of Anne Morrisseau to the planning commission. I met Anne on the citizen's police academy this year. She is lovely and will make a great commissioner. She comes originally from Haiti, and moved here from New York not too long ago. Hardly representative of a great swathe of Bellevue residents, except for the fact that she's one of a large number of foreign born citizens (many of which are denied a vote in our local elections - despite paying their city taxes).
Anne however has black skin, and as a result, the City is bending over backwards to get her on every poster and newsletter that they can, because she is so visibly 'diverse'. I live in a City where our citizens do not define each other by the color of their skin. Yet our governments are way too keen to do just that, in the name of 'diversity'.
When we have a council that attracts people other than retirees and bored housewives, then we can call ourselves diverse.
The firefighter's union are the biggest contributors to Bellevue council campaigns. Every time an election comes round, even before they know who's going to file, the union endorses and stuffsdollars into the back pockets of, "incumbents who have helped us in the past." That's according to union chair Bob Crueger, who I met tonight at station 9 in Newcastle.
Why? Well, I'm not sure Bob seemed to know himself. It doesn't appear buy them any influence, just serves as a reminder to council, that whilst they spend all their time debating parking spaces and building heights, it's the fire dept who are the biggest segment of our budget. But no doubt, these progessive and liberal people will conservatively keep on doing it for years to come.
Donations aside, thanks a lot for the chat Bob. I appreciated getting the firefighter's perspective on the 'hot' issues facing our City today. I just forgot to ask for a tour of your fire engine. Next time eh?
In other news, if you are interested to know what this campaign money is buying our future council members, I'd direct anyone to the expenditures pages of the PDC (public disclosure commission) website.
Unopposed John Stokes' entry is funny. He's raised $15000 to date, and his one expenditure is $516 which he blew down at Bellevue Brewing. Well done John. If you're stuck for someone to spend the other $14484 with, just let me know.
Good turnout at the open house for Meydenbauer Park tonight. There were even a few faces that looked under 30, - always good to see. I can't fault the plans, it looks ace, and will treble the park's current size.
Construction of phase one, (which consists of pretty much all but the marina area), should be starting in 2017.
Really nice to chat again with Vandana Slatter, candidate for position 5. She has a very compelling argument for bringing in councillors from outside the usual production line and will be a credit to our city if elected.
Hello. I'm Lyndon Heywood and I am proud to annouce my candidacy for Bellevue City Council, position 7.
Born in the UK, I moved to Washington in 2003, and have lived here in Lake Hills for more than ten years. I became a US citizen around three years ago, which gives me the ability to vote, and to run for office.
I work as a production artist in a Woodinville print shop and am married with two terrific daughters at Phantom Lake Elementary.
I am standing for council to give OUR City independent, positive and impartial guidance, in order to protect its essential functions for years to come. Bellevue's residents are responsible for driving the government we pay for. My guidance that will benefit all who live and work in OUR city.
And I will be standing in the right way. It is impossible for councillors to make decisions that should benefit the majority of citizens - decisions on planning, grants, contracts and more - when interested stakeholders have been contributing to their campaigns. That's why I'll be staying strictly independent, and will be giving Bellevue's voters a chance to say NO to money in their politics.
But a vote for Heywood isn't just a protest vote. You're getting an engaged civic voice with a clear vision of where our city should be in the future.
My long term goals in government are:
1. To reform the way we elect our leaders. In this election, the four best candidates will not be elected, simply because they have been forced to choose a position to run for. A large proportion of our foreign born residents are prevented from voting in local races. Decent candidates will be bullied out of running for council because they think it's too expensive a game to play. This all needs to be improved.
2. To increase participation at the neighborhood level. The City's policy of simply encouraging neighborhood groups fails to engage with too many ordinary folk. As our city population grows, we need official representation of our neighborhoods more than ever.
3. To improve co-operation between our neighboring cities. This can reduce duplicate spending, diversify our tax base and improve our staff. Eventually, I see an end to our traditional city boundaries, in favor of a strong, homogeneus and influential 'Greater Eastside'.
4. To preserve and protect the core functions of government.
We must ensure that the core governmental departments will be properly funded despite any future economic crisis.
I have been involved across the region as a transportation advocate, serving as vice chair of the City of Redmond's Ped-Bike Advisory Commitee and a member of Cascade Bike Club's Connect Eastside Group. I am closely involved with the Lake Hills Neighborhood Association and am a recent graduate of Bellevue's excellent Citizen Police Academy.
I am pround of these places where I have quietly stamped my influence on our eastside in recent years.
The city's bike wayfinding signage;
A zipline in Tam O'Shanter park;
The clean curbs of 164th Av;
The website of the Lake Hills Neighborhood Association -wearelakehills.org;
The rechannelization 116th Av;
The adoption of Bellevue's ped-bike implementation initiative;
A reworked staircase on Redmond's PSE trail;
An expansion of Redmond's Derby Days festival...
These things may not seem like much to some.
But just imagine what I can do with a City budget behind me.
Do the principled thing.
Vote Local. Vote for OUR City. Vote Heywood.