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. Interviews with candidates Ramiro Valderrama and Jim Wasnick have been published. Sammamish Patch also offered each candidate the chance to speak for up to 90 seconds on video. Galvin blogs on Sammamish Patch.
Occupation: Psychologist in Sammamish
Place of birth: Chicago
Where do you live now and how long have you lived there?
Sammamish, since 1997.
Spouse or domestic partner if any: Wati Galvin
Children: One son
Education: Doctorate, Saybrook Institute, 1985; Bachelor of Arts, Maryknoll College, 1970.
Military service: None
Memberships and affiliations with clubs and other organizations:
Editorial board of Journal of Humanistic Psychology
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: email@example.com
Phone number: 425-443-4357
Campaign manager: None
PREVIOUS ELECTED OFFICE(s):
Other campaigns for public office: None
What is the primary reason you are running for this office?
I’ve been involved with the city of Sammamish since 2000, primarily in relationship to the comprehensive planning process and the realization that I own property close to City Hall. That would be in the Town Center area.
I’m concerned that we’re at a critical point in the city’s development where we need to do some things correctly or we’ll be paying a rather big price in the not too distant future. I’m particularly concerned about the city’s economy. The City Council decided that because Sammamish is a bedroom community, that it’s not necessary to do an economic development plan. This is permitted by the Growth Management Act. But bedroom communities need more than most cities an economic development plan. Because bedroom communities are just not sustainable without higher taxes and the city of Sammamish right now is starting to pay the price for a lack of economic development.
There are limited opportunities for a city. Most cities have a balance of property taxes, business and occupational taxes, utility taxes. They have development programs that increase the valuation, which increases taxes. Sammamish is totally dependent on property taxes and they’re limited to 1 percent increases per year. Inflation is anywhere from 3, 4 to 5 percent.
Right now, there is the ability to plan. They can spend $100,000 to plan a $30 million project. But they don’t have the $30 million to implement the project....It’s true for roads. It’s true for aquatic center. It’s true for parks plans. The real challenge the city is facing now: Will it have sufficient funds to maintain what it has? There is a need to make some critical decisions about additional revenues, about raising taxes, about priority projects. Because most of these require a number of years to address, it is critical that these decisions be made as soon as possible.
What will be your top three priorities if you get elected and why?
1. Any good economic adviser will say you need to diversify. One of the first things we need to do is diversify by not being as dependent on property taxes as we are. We need to begin considering, and this will require public discussion, we need to begin considering a utility tax. Nobody gets elected advocating taxes. None of my opponents or none of the people running for City Council are going to want to talk about taxes. But we are going to be forced by reality to have a public debate about additional revenues.
2. Sammamish will never be a commercial center like Redmond or Issaquah. It’s not the nature of a city such as Sammamish to attract big boxes. We have a large number of home-based businesses. It’s interesting that one of the largest employers in the city is a home-based business, a ski school. It has 175 employees. We have a lot of people working out of their home who are looking for opportunities to grow but they want to stay local. Many are forced to go to Redmond or Issaquah to establish an office. Therefore, they are competing with Redmond and Issaquah for Sammamish customers. We need to as quickly as possible to develop some additional commercial space for them. We have begun to do that to establish offices in different areas of the city.
3. An issue that faces every city, especially in bedroom communities, is the issue of transportation. We love our cars but we hate traffic congestion. It’s a big paradox. We need to understand that whether we grow in population or not, we will be seeing more automobiles. The causes of traffic congestion are not primarily the population. But it’s how we grow. As a bedroom community, we are decentralized. We have to use the car for almost everything. So, we’re facing a transportation problem whether we grow or not. We need a comprehensive transportation policy that reduces vehicle miles traveled, that encourages people to carpool and encourages people to use alternative transportation.
What sets you apart from the other candidates and/or previous office holders?
I think I do my homework. I dig through the issues, sufficient time and energy to gain a good grasp of the complexity of the issues. Managing an organization, managing life, managing a society entails an ability to manage paradoxes, to manage not only one’s strength but one’s weaknesses.
How much money do you expect your campaign to spend on this election?
I will not spend a lot of money.
Is there anything else you want to add?
The biggest challenge in bedroom communities is actually having a community. It takes a constant effort. We have to help people have a sense of belonging to the community….We have to create places where people can gather, meet, build relationships.