Q&A: North Bend City Council Primary Candidates talk traffic, growth, water

The three candidates running for North Bed City Council Position 7 – Darren Glazier, Mary Miller and Kristin Tetuán – submitted answers to some questions we asked. The answers below start in candidate alphabetical order for the first question and then rotate. They were asked to keep answers under 300 words. After the Q&A you will find a short bio for each candidate.

On July 22nd and July 23rd, the Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce will also host Primary Candidate Forums. The North Bend Council and Mayoral Candidates Forum happens Monday, July 22nd at the Mt. Si Senior Center, 411 Main Ave, at 7PM. The Snoqualmie Primary Forum happens Tuesday, July 23rd, at the Club at Snoqualmie Ridge at 7PM. Both events are free.

Primary ballots were mailed this week. They must be mailed in or dropped in a ballot box by Tuesday, August 6, 2019.

Question 1: How would you balance growth in the City of North Bend and the rights of property owners to sell their property to developers? 

Darren Glazier: Did not provide answer at this time.

Mary Miller: This all gets down to City Zoning and appropriate regulations to be enforced. In my opinion, we do not want to encourage urban sprawl. A challenge as a property owner is being fully aware when changes to zones, rules, regulations and  ordinances occur within the City. How we could help our community by directing them to find the information could be a great conversation. 

Kristin Tetuán: I actually think this question is a bit redundant. The growth of the city, as I understand it, is BECAUSE of property owners selling their property to developers, not in spite of it. I believe that the approach to the inevitable development we are seeing in the Valley needs to be balanced. First and foremost, one that is conservation-minded and secondly, one that is fiscally ethical. I completely agree that habitats and open spaces need to be protected, as well, and that the natural aesthetic of the Valley needs to be preserved. If I am elected, I will absolutely stand up for these things.

Question 2: Do you support a potential water contract with Sallal Water Association so the city can meet its mitigation requirements outlined in its Department of Ecology water right?  Yes or no and why.

Mary Miller: At this time, I am still seeking response to my questions and concerns with regard to the volume and frequency of chlorine added to our North Bend Water System. I am very willing to give a definite answer to this important question once I have honest and truthful assurances.    

Kristin Tetuan: I actually prefer not to comment too much on this issue because it is so emotionally charged. That being said, at the end of the day, we are all part of the same city, the same community and all of us are humans who require water to subsist. I believe that, on a higher level, we need to ensure that our water sources are meeting the standards that they should to keep our kids healthy and thriving. I think that we need to be open to some innovative thinking when it comes to water infrastructure, as our population is on the rise. 

Darren: In terms of the potential Sallal water contract, I would admit that I have not acquired the relevant knowledge to make an informed decision. While that may be blasphemy to say as a political candidate, I’d rather lose than be full of horse dooky. So at this point I would maintain a restrained opinion until the all relevant facts, questions and concerns have been able to be considered before making any sort of statement in favor or against.

Question 3: What would you do to mitigate increasing traffic and damaged roads in North Bend?

Kristin: I believe that traffic congestion cannot be alleviated without strategic changes in access and modifications to existing roadways. As I stated before, the challenge is wrapping that all up into some really innovative decision-making that honors our conservation culture here and I think it’s the tightrope that will have to be walked in the long run. As far as damage goes, this past winter was the roughest we’ve seen in 70 years and I know that it took an enormous toll on our roads. Unfortunately, catastrophic damage sometimes has to be considered a loss and we just have to pay for it. 

Darren: As we all know by the increased traffic, more and more people are liking North Bend everyday. We’ve been discovered. I think the city’s marketing of North Bend as the “premiere outdoor adventure destination” in the Puget Sound is fantastic. However, one of the concerns I often here from old friends and long-time residents is that they feel like their city is being taken over. Back in the 80’s I remember a similar concern about Californians taking over Washington. I understand where my friends and neighbors are coming from. When you live and love in a small town for decades you can’t help but develop a sense of ownership and equity. Somehow you feel like since you’ve lived here for so long you should have more say in how things change. But….for my old friends and long-time residents, there is some good news about what I’m seeing. Please indulge me for a minute. 
Many of our new neighbors are from larger cities such as Bellevue, Seattle, and Tacoma. These cities and especially Seattle are increasingly becoming cities of the “haves” and “have-nots”. Seattle’s inequality gap continues to increase every year and is quickly becoming a city of wealthy elites and the poor service class while the middle-class continues to move to the suburbs and exurbs. Seattle is not the only city in which this is happening. Other large cities such as Tokyo, Toronto, London, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles have been seeing similar trends for years and the reasons are quite complicated and beyond the scope of short article. But here is the good news: people are moving from places like Seattle, Bellevue and Tacoma to start families. While I have a distaste for traffic as much as anyone, traffic becomes less of a burden when I remind myself that our new neighbors in all likelihood moved to North Bend for the exact same reason we never
left. The statistics back this up. Places like Manhattan, Boston, San Francisco and Seattle have the lowest percentage of children in the country. In fact, San Francisco has 800,000 more dogs than children.

So while I am encouraged by the influx of new families, I do have some concerns for our city in terms of long term continuity. As North Bend families send their kids off to college or begin a career, the chance of them finding affordable housing near North Bend is slim to none. Combine housing costs with health insurance and gas prices, there is little left over to save for a down payment. With little or no starter housing in North Bend, it may be decades if ever before North Benders with roots consider or can afford to return home.  

Mary: Optimizing traffic light management in downtown North Bend by looking into Artificial Intelligence such as Smart Traffic Light Systems could be a good way to help with  mitigating increasing traffic congestion in our growing City.  There are several roundabouts that are close to shovel- ready right now in the City of North Bend.  I believe the roundabout driving experience could be improved with simple education of how  to correctly enter and exit one.  Not everyone understands fully.  When I think of traffic and road damage, I think of safety first.  The City could  potentially aide our community by having a section on the City Website for a visual-aide educational experience on how to enter and exit roundabouts.

Candidate Bios with websites (if available) linked

Darren Bio: Education: B.S. Social Sciences-Washington State University, MBA-Western Governors University. Occupation: Executive Director – Regency North Bend Rehab & Nursing Center.

Choosing where to live is one of the most important decisions we ever make and having councilmembers attentive to community concerns is paramount. As a member of a family that has been in North Bend for over 110 years, I feel the responsibility to serve my neighbors and community. As the Executive Director of Regency North Bend Rehab & Nursing Center, it is an absolutely necessity to take a role of service when assisting residents and families in some of the most distressing situations. Navigating the highly fragmented and regulated healthcare industry is tedious, stressful and requires patience as much as action. Recent displays of civil servants in other cities dismissing and ignoring resident concerns prompted my decision to run for city council. Every resident deserves to be heard and responded to. If elected, please feel free to “North Bend my ear” with your concerns.

Mary Bio: I have lived and been an active part of North Bend for 27 years, raising two children. As a longtime photographer, I gained and maintained the trust of individuals, families, businesses and government, allowing me to see the inner workings in the lives and details of our community. As City of North Bend Photographer, I have documented crucial imagery from construction, architectural and land preservation, aerial and event photography revealing the important and precious element of respecting our City’s contemporary history. I also work in the Construction Industry on local projects, which has given me a better understanding of the requirements and needs of infrastructure in our community.

I have been a North Bend Planning Commissioner for the past four years. My love for city and the community led to years of volunteering on Foundations, Boards, Commissions, Community Events and donating my time through teaching/mentoring/speaking within the Snoqualmie Valley School District.

I deeply care and value our small town culture and recognize that some change is to be expected. I will represent YOU, listen and take your concerns into consideration. With greater communication, the ability to collaborate, hearing and respecting different viewpoints we can make the best informed decisions that affect quality of life for all.

I would be most honored to be your Council representative and humbly ask for your vote.

Kristin Bio: My roots in the Valley run deep. My grandfather is a retired Forest Service Ranger and Wildfire Fighter and from him, I learned my earliest lessons on stewardship, conservation and wilderness survival. Childhood memories include driving up old logging roads, listening to him tell stories about the trails and campgrounds he helped establish during his career. I am a highly-connected businessperson, educator and musician with a genuine love for our community and a passion for public service. As a councilwoman, I will bring fresh perspective and will support decision-making that will strategically align with concerns of long-time citizens while supporting the overall development goals of North Bend. I’ve worked in tech, retail management, freelance photography/design and more. My diverse background allows me to speak from an informed perspective in many disciplines. I’ve served as President and VP on my HOA Board and currently work for SVSD in Special Education.

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