On the Mayor's Mind - reflections on the past year

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Chris Roberts
Mayor of Shoreline
By Shoreline Mayor Chris Roberts

“It’s a magical world, … let’s go exploring.” - Calvin (from Calvin and Hobbes, December 31, 1995)

After a fresh snowfall, our cedars glisten. Our firs show off with their snow-covered branches as if they are about to walk the red carpet. Looking out at the beauty of nature always brings me a sense of peace, and an opportunity to reflect.

One of the first actions the Council took in 2017 was unanimously declaring Shoreline to be an inviting, equitable, and safe community for all. As leaders in the community, we have a special responsibility not to stay silent in the face of discrimination, harassment, or hate against any of our residents. I strongly believe Shoreline should remain a leader in protecting human rights, promoting equity, and ensuring the public safety and social well-being of all our residents.

I am proud that Shoreline has a plan to expand and invest in our park system over the next six years. This July, the Council adopted our Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Plan, guiding investments in our parks system for the next six years. Once implemented, Shoreline will acquire five acres of parkland and restore ten acres of urban forest. Over the next couple of years, we will have a community discussion about building a new aquatics and community center in the City, with the goal to send a proposal to voters in 2020.

This October we welcomed the employees of the Ronald Wastewater District as City employees, as part of phase one of our merger. The City and the District signed a service agreement earlier in the year whereby the City will operate and maintain the utility while the Ronald Board of Commissioners will continue to govern the utility and set rates. This merger will lead to one-stop permitting, and ultimately savings, for Shoreline ratepayers.

As part of our budget process, we prioritized public safety by authorizing the hiring of a new police officer. We also made a substantial investment in our surface water utility, which will reduce flooding, address pollution, and remove the Hidden Lake Dam. Our commitment to public safety and maintaining our infrastructure will be beneficial for years to come.

As a Council, I am proud of several positions we took that will promote democracy and the welfare of our residents. Our legislative priorities include support for automatic voter registration in Washington to reduce the barriers to voting. We also called upon the state legislature to pass the capital budget, which includes funding for some surface water utility projects in our City. We expressed our recommitment to meeting the sustainability goals of the Paris Climate Accord and signed onto a brief that supports endorsement of anti-discrimination laws.

This year we saw the beginnings of some notable construction projects that will shape our City for years to come. Our new police station at city hall will open in the middle of next year. The School District started construction of a new early learning center, the first of four new schools that will be built. The Community College is starting work on its first dormitory, and Sound Transit is starting construction of two light rail stations, and we will see significant private investment across the City.

Next year we will have a continued discussion of sidewalk maintenance and construction, as well as how to fund pedestrian infrastructure.

We will also see changes in both the Council and School Board in 2018. I am very thankful for the work that Shari Winstead has done for our community, especially her invaluable contributions to expanding and renovating our parks. While she will no longer be serving as a member of the council, our community will reap the benefits of Shari’s efforts on behalf of our community well into the future.

Debi Ehrlichman has been and will continue to be a tireless advocate for our children. During her tenure as a Shoreline Director, among countless other important contributions, Debi oversaw the construction of new high schools and the passage of a bond that will lead to the construction of new middle schools. I am looking forward to working with our new Councilmember, Susan Chang, and the newest member of our School Board, Heather Fralick.

As the snow was falling earlier this week, I instinctively stuck out my tongue, hoping to catch a snowflake, and later on, I grabbed a sled and found myself speed down the hill. Snow has magical powers - an ability to bring out our sense of wonder and provides that glimpse of a blank canvas, full of unlimited possibilities and opportunities.

Happy New Years!


Deborah Todd, Shoreline,  December 28, 2017 at 11:30 AM  

Thank you, Mayor Roberts and the Shoreline City Council, for a job well done! On to 2018. Best wishes to all.

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