Editor's note: Sammamish Patch is offering excerpts from interviews with the candidates for Sammamish City Council Position No. 4. They have a primary on Aug. 16. Sammamish Patch has published interviews with candidates John Galvin and Ramiro Valderrama. Sammamish Patch also offered each candidate the chance to speak for up to 90 seconds on video.
Occupation: Senior vice president (operations, information technology and customer service), Airbiquity Inc.
Place of birth: Wilkes-Barre, Penn.
Where do you live now and how long have you lived there?
Sammamish, since 2007.
Spouse or domestic partner if any: Heather Wasnick
Children: Two boys, one girl
Education: Masters of Business Administration, Seton Hall University, 1991; Bachelor of Science, Montclair State University, 1985.
Military service: None
Memberships and affiliations with clubs and other organizations: Not applicable
Have you or a business you owned (or had principal interest in) ever filed bankruptcy?
As an adult, have you been convicted or charged with a crime other than a minor traffic violation?
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone number: 425-395-4585
Campaign manager: Wife
Campaign manager contact information: Same as above
PREVIOUS ELECTED OFFICE(s):
Other campaigns for public office: None
What is the primary reason you are running for this office?
I saw the community, my neighborhood in particular, get involved with the . I was at a meeting where I was pretty passionate and got gaveled down by the mayor for maybe being a bit more outspoken than I normally would. I had some real emotional thoughts on it. After that meeting, I had sent a number of emails back to the City Council asking them to please come, walk the street with me and my neighbors and see what we’re dealing with. So, when the street would be opened up, they could understand the true impact. I had one councilman come to that – and that was John Curley.
In meeting with him, he really engaged us and laid out here’s how the system basically works, like I understand your concerns and here’s what you need to do to get what we felt was a safer street at that point in time. Based on his counsel, I started to engage the city officials, Ben and Laura Philpot (Editor's note: Ben Yazici is city manager; Philpot is public works director). We presented a little outlay of what we thought would be better for the street from a speed control perspective, to make us feel comfortable to get rid of the barricade. They were very receptive to it. I even took my son to it so he could see the citizens and government coming together, to try and get a win-win solution. That got this all started for me.
I envisioned myself as being an approachable guy. I said, ‘You know, I think it’s a good thing for my children to see. I think it’s good for the city because I am approachable because if someone has an issue that I could do the basic type of setup.’ I could meet with people and say, folks: ‘Here’s how it comes together. How could we make this work?’ And that’s what got me involved. I am coming from at it from that perspective.
What will be your top three priorities if you get elected and why?
1. Revenue. It’s really fiscal responsibility is what it comes down to. We are beholden from a revenue basis to property tax. And as much as we want to talk about adding additional retail space up here, without truly scarring the environment, we will never get a revenue basis out of retail to surpass that of property tax, unless we wanted to do something like a Mall of the Americas. Which, I’m pretty certain that nobody wants. Property tax is it. Can we diversify a little bit out of property tax? Yeah, perhaps.
2. Transportation is key. Because as you have growth, we want to make sure people can get here and go to the office. We talk about people not wanting to leave the Plateau for services. I go shopping at QFC or Safeway. But do I also shop at Costco? Well, yeah. There are certain things where you’re going to go down off the Plateau. But the question then becomes: ‘If we’re going to have residential development or a Town Center development, how are ingress and egress points going to support it?’ Well, guess what? That is going to have to be funded out of the same capital improvement projects that everyone else is competing for….So transportation is going to be a big-ticket item in three to five years.
3. Watch your money. Watch how you spend the money. Treat the money as if it’s your own. (Editor's note: This theme came up in the conversation when asked what he has learned from the private sector).
What sets you apart from the other candidates and/or previous office holders?
I’m coming at this from a win, from a positive experience. I did not get involved because I was angry at something.…I think I’m open minded. I don’t want to have foregone conclusions. I like to listen to all people. This has been a great process for me. Getting out there and meeting with all these folks at the Fourth of July, the Farmers Market, at the City Council sessions, wherever I go. And you hear what’s on people’s minds.
How much money do you expect your campaign to spend on this election?
Well, under $5,000 for the primary, which is an unfortunate expense.
Is there anything else you want to add?
I had a lady come up to me at Farmers Market and then Fourth of July, talk to me about a pothole in front of her house. I was like: ‘Give me your name and your address.’ I’m talking to the city. I’ll make sure it gets in there. I followed up. Ben (Yazici) followed up with me and they were fixing the pothole. The impact, just being a candidate, hopefully, I’ve helped other people in the city. I find that rewarding.