Briarcrest - Ridgecrest forum focus on Shoreline city council candidates

Friday, October 4, 2019

The second candidate forum of the season went off without a hitch on Thursday, October 3, 2019 at the Prince of Peace Church Fellowship Hall.

Moderated by Sarah Kaye of the Briarcrest Neighborhood Association, Timekeeping by Dustin McIntyre of the Ridgecrest Neighborhood Association, it was cosponsored by Briarcrest, Ridgecrest, and the Shoreline Area News.

School Board candidates talked to people one on one from 6 -7pm. The forum ran from 7 - 8:30pm with the six candidates for Shoreline city council.

City of Shoreline, Council Position 2
Keith Patrick Scully
Vivian Collica
City of Shoreline, Council Position 4
David Chen
Doris McConnell
City of Shoreline, Council Position 6
Betsy Robertson
Luis Berbesi

Opening statements:

Doris - A 2nd and 3rd generation Japanese-American, she has been a councilmember since 2008. She stated that we need a balance of new councilmembers and those with more experience, i.e. those with more than one term on the council.

Luis - He started attending council meetings, then decided to run for the council. He's learning a lot. He said that even if he loses he wins, because now the whole council is listening to him.

Betsy - Lives in a Ridgecrest neighborhood that has block parties once a month. She was a KING TV journalist for 20 years, now works full time at the American Red Cross. She's on the board of City Club and Ridgecrest PTA. She had to give up her seat on the Parks Board to run for office.

Vivian - We give 12 year tax breaks to developers yet our cost of living and taxes rise. Where is the money going? We are not a shopping destination. Town center is not a good location for a pool. The east side of Shoreline is not well represented. We have zoning issues - 15th has zoning but three pot shops.

Keith - He loves the civil discourse in Shoreline and among the candidates. Tree protection and sidewalks are common concerns from citizens. It's the job of the council to balance concerns. Every issue has residents advocating for both sides. Council has to figure out what works. Said he would be happy to dive into the policy issues raised by his opponent.

David - He is the son of Chinese immigrants who started a business on Aurora and put their children through school. We need to develop a vision for the city based on equity that we can build on together.

What are the funding sources for your campaign?
  • All but Luis mentioned family, friends, and coworkers.
  • Luis said he hadn't asked for or spent any money.
  • Betsy - family, friends, coworkers.
  • Vivian said she does her own design work and is very frugal.
  • Keith said that he also has donations from the fire guild and police guild.
  • David said that he has donations from state and county leaders, all three 32nd district legislators, realtors, small business owners.
  • Doris said that it takes money to run a campaign. In addition to friends and family, she loaned $6000 to her own campaign.
Do you favor little houses for homeless people? What new programs would you propose? How can we keep from having street dwelling heroin addicts like Seattle?

  • Betsy does support tiny houses. A tent is not a home - you need a roof over your head. Opioid use is a major problem and people need access to services. Yet we need to patrol our parks and keep people from camping there.
  • Vivian would support tiny houses on private property or giving tax breaks to people who rent out spare bedrooms to people - instead of giving tax breaks to the developers. Opioids - we need to separate out the different problems and focus on individual needs.
  • Keith is on the fence about tiny houses - we don't need to create a shantytown. As a former paramedic and deputy prosecutor he is very aware that there are multiple issues in opioid use.
  • David said that these are our neighbors who are unhoused and experiencing problems. We need compassion. There are more people coming in to homelessness and addiction than are leaving. This is a regional problem and state conversation.
  • Doris said that proposals from council have run in to neighborhood opposition. Need resources for mental health and job issues or people will fail again. Important to hear what the community says and address their concerns. Tent cities were resisted at first and now are supported by the community.
  • Luis has a homeless friend. He wanted to sell his art on the street but Seattle required a permit that cost $250.
How would you mitigate negative impacts on rezoned homeowners

  • Vivian - Control where the growth is coming from. We are losing housing to students and groups that are here temporarily. It's not fair to long term residents. Zoning is an issue. Businesses are one story but apartments are six stories. We're changing rapidly without any control.
  • Keith - the Council has reduced the tolerable noise level to control construction noise. We are working on neighborhood parking. Tree preservation and parks mitigate some of the noise.
  • David - lives nine blocks from the station. Short term parking needs to be balanced with people who live here. We need to integrate greenery, and courtyards, and things that make it feel like a community into the building codes.
  • Doris - on the council we listen to people. She didn't support all the density around the stations. Need adequate parking for residents.
  • Luis - homeowners are being replaced by renters.
  • Betsy - neighbors are concerned about parking and 70 foot buildings next to their homes. We should collect the maximum impact fees to support parkland and traffic control. We need ground level retail and businesses. We need the things that benefit us.
Do you support Prop 1

  • Keith - Yes. If it fails it means closing the pool and not making other investments.
  • David - Yes. It's a matter of community and equity. What about our other community partners - Arts Council, Chamber of Commerce?
  • Doris - It's on the ballot for the community to decide. It's a community gathering place, a pool that is affordable.
  • Luis - No. He loves to swim but says that with all that money we could train teachers to prepare kids for the future.
  • Betsy - Yes. Space for seniors, kitchen, walking track, competitive swimming. Briarcrest will get a new park.
  • Vivian - No. Property should make money. We could have built a multi level structure.
Is the planning commission too heavy on the development side?

  • David would like to see more diversity. We need to plan for climate change because it affects everything.
  • Doris - Planning has women and an Asian. Remember that council makes the final decision.
  • Luis - Planning commission needs a Venezuelan-American with an accent.
  • Betsy - There's more concern now for development than climate. What's lacking is geographic diversity. Most members are from the west side of Shoreline.
  • Vivian - Overdevelopment is affecting the environment. We need trees to handle the rain. Opiates are going into Puget Sound and contaminating the shellfish.
  • Keith - The water is full of antidepressants. There are wonderful people on the Planning Commission but it's too focused on tech issues. Need voices that think about impacts on the community.

David Chen - comment on why you left CRISTA and other candidates affirm or deny LGBTQ rights

  • Doris - I'm pro diversity. Sad about King's but not surprised.
  • Luis - I'm Catholic - but I respect everyone. We live in a polarized society.
  • Betsy - Happy to live in this bubble of acceptance. CRISTA values don't represent our city.
  • Vivian - We're lucky to live in an area that is not discriminatory.
  • Keith - I'm baffled as to why some people are so concerned about who other people love. The City does have policies in place to protect rights. We flew the Pride flag. We need to affirm that Shoreline is open and welcoming.

David Chen - There was a change in the status quo at CRISTA. In December the board chair assured me that they were open and welcoming. When the memo came out in the spring which stated otherwise I started looking for a job. I am the sole support of a family of five. A transgender friend wrote a letter thanking me for what I did. I'm happy to be in a position to advocate.

How can the city empower neighborhoods to be part of the decision making process

  • Luis - Dog owners are unhappy about the dog park closing. I'm going to start a dog owners group and find out what happened.
  • Betsy - ShoreDog folded about four years ago but Luis could restart it. Neighborhoods already have the power - look at the changes in Prop 1 - seniors, swim teams, parks.
  • Vivian - Associations are vital and potentially powerful but I don't know if the council has been listening to them for even small things like restaurants - zoning - pot shops.
  • Keith - You can't just order people to build a restaurant. We can incentivize. The community opposed the maintenance facility in Hamlin Park and the "road diet" on 175th so both ideas were dropped. We should round table ideas instead of just giving them to staff.
  • David - I'm part of the Echo Lake Neighborhood and am building a community park. As a councilmember I will hold regular office hours and will make sure that stakeholders are involved. We need to leverage CoN activity.
  • Doris - Monthly a councilmember comes to CoN.

Closing statements

Betsy - On the parks board we did months of interviews and neighborhood meetings to create Prop 1. Support Prop 1.

Vivian - Community first. Residents above developers. Don't always tax homeowners. Prevention and cure for homelessness. Parks are a jewel but you still have to have something to eat when you get there.

Keith - Doorbelling, he is so impressed with how nice people are. They make the city a better place.

David - I ask for your vote, support, ideas, and visions. Growth is already here and we need to deal with it. We need to focus on infrastructure. Buy land for parks. Make it easy to convert single homes into businesses.

Doris - I've been in the community for 30 years - 20 years as a volunteer. I left PTA with two Golden Acorns. I have collaborative skills and ties in the community.

Luis - I want to give back. We need to invest in community and the next generation.

--Diane Hettrick

The Ridgecrest Neighborhood videotaped the forum. You can view it here.


herrbrahms October 4, 2019 at 3:29 AM  

"Do you support Prop 1?

Keith - Yes. If it fails it means closing the pool and not making other investments."

Wow. What Keith Scully is essentially saying here is, "Nice pool you've got there. It would be a shame if something happened to it..."

I for one do not appreciate a Shoreline City Council member issuing a public ultimatum like this. Either we can approve their $103 million bond, or they're going to take that as a sign that the community doesn't value a pool. If we don't approve the flashy vanity project, they wouldn't dream of appropriating $5M to perform a comprehensive renovation of our existing pool.

I'll be voting for Vivian Collica on November 5th.

Dan Adams

anonymous October 4, 2019 at 12:09 PM  

Thanks so much for publicizing the answers to the questions asked at this forum! Very helpful for those who were not in attendance.

Anonymous,  October 8, 2019 at 9:47 PM  

I attended the forum and appreciated the thoughtful answers provided by the candidates.

A few highlights:

The pool seems a little too costly and yields very little on the return on investment. I align with the ideas that Shoreline should have a more thriving downtown and a place where people can hang out like a Seattle Center. I don't believe hoarding public property and providing it just for working out or a pool is the idea. I can envision places where outdoor cafes are available. Places where we can attract tourists.

I may not agree with all the candidates ideals and views on bigger National items on the political forum. I think having a well seasoned and someone who has been living in Shoreline and has experience with Development should be our city representative.

I don't necessarily always trust politicians, but if we were to choose someone for Shoreline, I think Vivian is a smart way to go for Position #2.

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