Issues

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Spokane's citizens deserve efficient and innovative government services in a city that values our environment, welcomes everyone and champions progress.

TRANSPORTATION | Feet, Wheels, & Smart Phones  

In 2013, citizens of Spokane overwhelmingly voted for the Street Levy.  This has resulted in unprecedented spending on our roads. Community members came together in 2011 to establish the City’s Complete Streets program. This is a great step forward, but we can do even more: 

  1. We must set a policy goal to pave and improve more streets than we did the year before. We must catch-up on our street maintenance and no longer allow it to get behind. We need a proactive snowplow program that keeps our city safety moving. Bottom line: we must invest in the equipment and appropriate staffing levels to make these policy goals a reality.
  2. We must reimagine our Street Department as a Transportation Department. We must continue the integrated approach to street rebuilds that create the infrastructure so all modes are safely accessible. We need to improve coordination with Spokane Transit Authority as the Central City Line becomes reality and we must create a safety-focused regulatory framework that allows our taxi companies and for-hire vehicles such as Uber and Lyft to thrive.  
  3. City government must partner with our neighborhoods to create a long-term plan to repair, replace, and build new sidewalks. It is time we take our Comprehensive Plan serious and make pedestrian safety the number one transportation priority.
  4. We must improve coordination with the business community and neighborhoods on street construction and City projects. We must set aside a permanent fund that assist impacted businesses in marketing efforts during construction time periods.
  5. It is time to eliminate the regulation that mandates specific parking requirements for every development. A developer understands how much parking a development will need more than the City does. The City should develop safe public parking solutions in multimodal transportation facilities that serve as a transit hub, bike storage, charging areas for electric vehicles, and can be converted to buildings after the usefulness of the parking garage has expired.


SAFE SPOKANE | Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform

Since I have served as your Council President, the City has added over 40 new police officers to our professional force, embraced the police precinct model, required body cameras on officers, established the vision for an independent Office of Police Ombudsman, created the Alternative Response Unit program for medical calls, and created the nationally-recognized Community Court program. We have made significant progress, but there is more to do:

  1. We must commit to sustainable public safety staffing levels while taking a holistic look at improving community safety. The City should innovate by investing in social workers and mental health professionals to help free up Spokane Police Department resources for crime fighting. We must recognize the volunteer COPS program as an incredibly valuable community policing tool.
  2. We must establish Community Court as a permanent court and adequately fund the entire Municipal Court system including an expansion of home monitoring programs that reduce our jail costs.
  3. It is time to decriminalize being homeless in the city of Spokane. It is also time to do a comprehensive review of the City’s penal code to ensure our police officers and prosecutors have the tools to protect public safety while keeping punishment for offenders just and reasonable.
  4. We must empower the Office of Police Ombudsman with the tools, resources, and independent investigative authority to meet the expectations of Spokane voters who validated the vision of this office in 2013.
  5. The City should evaluate the costs and benefits of bringing ambulance service back under control of a professional and capable Spokane Fire Department. We should invest in programs that increase emergency response times and reduce insurance rates across the city.
  6. We must invest in programs that help formerly incarcerated individuals get back on their feet to become productive members of our community. These programs reduce recidivism and make our city stronger.


WORKING IN SPOKANE | Living-wage Jobs and Business Expansion

Spokane has seen the greatest economic growth over the last three years in its history. We have invested in our major job centers (University District, Downtown, West Plains, Northeast/Hillyard) through public development authorities. We also worked to create the Targeted Investment Program that partners public investment with future private investment. The programs have been incredibly successful. Here is what else we can do to bring jobs to Spokane:

  1. We must continue the targeted investment program by expanding to new burgeoning areas.
  2. The City must partner with our neighborhood business associations to help them grow and meet their vision for their neighborhood business center.
  3. We must improve partnerships with the City’s business improvement districts (BIDs). We must ensure fair rates and equitable representation for ratepayers on business improvement district boards.
  4. We must plan for the City we want. We must allow the City’s Planning Department to flourish and prepare for our City’s growth. This department must be fully staffed with the tools, training, and resources available to help the City implement its Comprehensive Plan.
  5. We must work with our state legislators to create an incentive for owners of surface parking lots to develop their property into something with a better use for the general public.


HOME SPOKANE | Affordable Quality Housing

Spokane, like most urban areas across America, is facing a housing crisis. Real estate prices continue to be hot pricing many families out of the market. Rental vacancy rates are at historic lows driving up the cost of rent. This is a recipe for homelessness. Addressing this issue will take a communitywide effort:

  1. We must establish a Housing Trust Fund that will assist in the development of low-income housing.
  2. We must embrace infill. People want to live in our city. We have to create the zoning and regulations that allow homebuilders to build in our city while protecting the integrity and character of our neighborhoods. We must improve coordination between developers and impacted neighborhoods. The City should explore micro-housing to transition citizens out of the shelter system and off our streets.
  3. We must invest in programs and policies that protect tenants and ensure a safe, fair, and healthy landlord-tenant relationship.
  4. It is time to get aggressive on abandoned homes, their lenders, and the blight that brings down neighboring property values. These houses need to be fast-tracked back to the market or torn down if they cannot be rehabbed.


AGING IN SPOKANE

Seniors living in our city should be able to live comfortably in their homes knowing their city government values them and is looking for their well-being. Here’s how we can do that:

  1. The City must be proactive and establish a program to identify low-income property owners who may qualify for state property tax exemptions and walk them through the process.
  2. We must partner with our caregivers, nurses and home care agencies to ensure citizens receive the best care from qualified well-trained caregivers.
  3. The City should partner with organizations that assist seniors with food access, snow removal, and transportation.


SPOKANE LENDING A HAND | Assistance to Low-Income Community Members.

During my time as your Council President, the City has doubled funding for homeless services and established the City’s 24/7 shelter system.  Together we have fought have increased funding for human services by 100% since I joined Council. What’s next:

  1. We must improve coordination with our community’s non-profits to reduce the duplication of services. We must strengthen the Community, Health, & Human Services Board charged with making policy and funding recommendations to the city.
  2. We must fight against the Trump Administration’s efforts to eliminate the Community Development Block Grant program that serves thousands of citizens in our city.
  3. We must reject the false idea that homelessness is a crime. We must remain committed to the housing first model and create the incentives and regulatory structure that encourages investment in low-income housing.
  4. We must invest in job training and employment programs that give our citizens an opportunity to earn a living, get back on their feet, and help their families break the cycle of poverty.


EXPERIENCE SPOKANE | Arts and Culture

In 2016, I sponsored an ordinance funding for the arts and culture paid for by admission tax revenues from arts and culture events. Spokane is a vibrant community with great literature, music, sports, art, and filmmaking. A thriving culture will help us keep graduates here at home and attract people to live in our city. Here’s how we can strengthen arts and culture: 

  1. We must increase funding for arts and culture by 75% over the next four years.
  2. We must create a soft-touch regulatory framework that allows cultural events to thrive in our city while ensuring public safety and City cost recovery.
  3. The City should partner with community groups to develop a recruiting package for international filmmakers looking for places to create long-term projects.
  4. The City should embrace our talented sports and athletic community and work with regional partners to develop and provide facilities accessible to all in our community. 


REGIONAL LEADERSHIP.  Strong Partnerships.

Our city is fortunate to serve as the largest city in the intermountain west. We have many amazing regional partners that hold city government accountable and help push our city forward.  

  1. We must lead but serve as a fair and reasonable partner to all communities in Spokane County and the surrounding areas. We must be a strong leader on regional boards such as the Spokane Regional Health District Board of Directors, Spokane CleanAir Agency, Spokane Regional Transportation Commission, and the Spokane Transit Authority Board of Directors.
  2. We must acknowledge our City’s history of Native American genocide and work with our local tribes to preserve Native American culture and improve the lives of all Native Americas in our community.
  3. We must work with our community partners and Civil Service to increase racial and gender diversity in city leadership. The City should increase employment opportunities for Spokane citizens with disabilities. 
  4. We must establish a long-overdue Office of Civil Rights and Labor Standards to enforce the City’s non-discrimination laws and to proactively fight for the advancement and against any violation of civil rights of Spokane residents whether based on race, gender, immigration status, veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability.
  5. The City should actively assist in the relocation and acceptance of immigrants and refugees to Spokane. Immigrants and refugees make our city stronger and they are always welcome to call our community home.


SUSTAINABLE SPOKANE | Clean Energy and Strong Utilities

As your Council President, I have actively pushed to implement the 2009 Sustainability Plan. We have worked to improve the city fleet, established carbon emission reduction goals, and provided permit fee breaks for families and businesses investing in renewable energy. Here’s a few additional things we must do:

  1. We must create and begin implementing a plan to address the carbon pollution created by the City’s Waste to Energy Facility.
  2. We must identify programs and strategies that reduce our waste stream and increase recycling.
  3. We must have utility rates that reflect and citizen commitment to conservation.
  4. We must convene local experts and stakeholders to update the 2009 Sustainability Action Plan and create a corresponding implementation plan.
  5. We must commit and act to be a city no longer reliant on fossil fuels. We must embrace a renewable energy future.  
  6. We must commit and begin the development of a municipal broadband system that provides consumer choice, protects the privacy of subscribers, and provides assurance to the business community that network traffic will be treated equally.


EFFICIENT & EFFECTIVE CITY OPERATIONS

Organizational change is hard. Transition to new leadership is difficult. I am proud of the relationships I have built as Council President with the City workforce. City employees deserve consistent leadership that allow them to utilize their talents, skills, and personality to serve the public.

  1. Potholes do not get filled by managers. We must hire more “doers” and reduce middle management.
  2. We must strengthen the relationship between management and employee. We must update procedures that allow employees to innovate, share their opinions, and improve City operations without fear of retaliation.
  3. We must ensure all employees feel comfortable utilizing established procedures when they feel unsafe at work. We must constantly bring in experts to join City employees in evaluating how to improve working conditions throughout the organization.

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