SEATAC BLOG VOTERS’ GUIDE: Q&As with Council Candidates for Pos. #2


On July 6, 2017, we emailed out a list of 10 Questions to all candidates running for SeaTac City Council in the Primary election, which has an Aug. 1 voting deadline.

We will be posting additional responses from candidates who answered our inquiry, grouped by position numbers.

Of the three candidates for Position #2, all responded, and here are their answers – published exactly as they sent them – and listed in alphabetical order using their photos from the King County Elections website:

KATHRYN CAMPBELL

1. How long have you lived in SeaTac and why did you decide to live here?
I was born and raised in SeaTac. This is my home town (go Glacier Grizzlies!). I came home as soon as I retired and now live at the Bow Lake Mobile Home Park.

2. What do you expect to gain personally from serving in a Council position?
I was not blessed with children. Serving my city is my way of giving back, leaving it better than before. I have worked to gain a lot of knowledge since being elected, which has helped me to see the issues facing the city and its residents more clearly. Interacting with other cities’ staffs and Council members in our area offers opportunity to work on common issues, to find solutions to problems. I have represented SeaTac on national and state committees; recently I became a member of King County Flood Control Board.

3. What relevant leadership and business experience would you bring to the Council that will help in your decision-making process?
I have worked in the corporate world, and understand that consensus takes time and relationship-building. I am familiar with the process of getting collaboration among group members and between different groups. This is useful, in service to the “big picture” for our SeaTac residents. Also, as a former Union steward for 20 years, I have helped to resolve complaints through negotiation. Lastly, I have lived in five states, which taught me that there is no “them”—there is only US. We are the ones we have been waiting for.

4. What SeaTac ordinances would you like implemented or removed from the books and why?
The updating of our city codes has been a years-long process, which is not yet done. I would like to see the city more fully live up to what is already in our Comprehensive Plan. I have been very much in favor of solving our parking near the airport issue, by doing a neighborhood permit parking program.

5. Since SeaTac is the home of the massive and growing international airport, do you think the Port of Seattle should strongly increase financial assistance and support to SeaTac citizens?
The relationship between the airport and the city has been rocky at times. However, perceiving it solely on a monetary basis is shortsighted, in my opinion. The airport needs to work with the city on health and safety issues, traffic and stormwater management, even the environmental changes we see happening. Money is not the sole answer. We need to work WITH the airport, not vilify it. The Port of Seattle Commissioners are further away from our issues with the airport. We need to work locally. The airport staff and SeaTac city staff are working hard every day to formulate better outcomes for all our residents, businesses and visitors. I support them.

6. Do you consider traffic and parking a problem for SeaTac residents, and what is your proposed solution?
We are in process of a neighborhood permitted parking program, in the area where airport workers are taking on-street parking, and walking to work. Litter, disturbance and 24-hour shifts make residents uncomfortable, and can be a safety issue. Our city codes address parking all across the city, and our Code Compliance team works hard to handle complaints. I served for two years on the Code Compliance Committee, and was glad of the opportunity to work on traffic and parking issues, as well as others the committee addressed.

7. What conditions would you propose to better handle the large number of people who come through the city to the airport using facilities SeaTac taxpayer paid for?
Clean, attractive streets and parks around the city (especially our Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden) are an amenity that visitors and residents both enjoy. The people who are visiting contribute to the city, via taxes and fees, relieving the residents of shouldering the entire costs involved. I would like to see more things for young people and visitors to do within SeaTac, such as entertainment and shopping. SeaTac can be a walkable, pleasant city for everyone, with some public-private partnerships investing in it.

8. Would your regular job employer expect you to follow their instructions on city legislation even when your knowledge and experience shows that might not be the best decision?
I am retired, so that is not an issue for me. We are fortunate to have a wide range of experience and expertise among the Council members.

9. Is the city police department doing a good job in your view or are changes needed. Would you be willing to vote for additional tax income to pay for added members of the police officers that are contracted by the city from the King County Sheriff’s office?
I strongly advocate using some of the funds generated by visitors’ taxes and fees to increase our law enforcement team. We are a 27 thousand resident city but over 150 thousand people are here every day. The size of our current force is limited and needs to be increased. Considering we have three police patrol officers on shift any time of day (not counting support and management), the training and expertise of our force is a credit to their professionalism. I am very proud of our law enforcement team; it just needs to grow to match the size of our daily population.

10. Do you consider the current city staff is effectively managing the city and guiding the needed changes and fixes to city problems?
Yes. There have in recent years been a lot of changes and updates to city codes, fees, procedures and customer service improvements. Our staff has worked with developers, Sound Transit, the airport and our residents to improve efficiency and get the best use of the revenues that support SeaTac. On several occasions, the Council has voted not to increase property tax by the 1% allowed. Yet the residents benefit greatly from the taxes and fees paid by our visitors, and the staff’s efforts to make SeaTac the best it can be.

TERRY L. FARDEN

1. How long have you lived in SeaTac and why did you decide to live here?
Have have been a resident of SeaTac since 1985, before that I basically grew up two miles North in the City of Tukwila.

2. What do you expect to gain personally from serving in a Council position?
I expect to gain nothing personally, my hope is that the citizens of SeaTac will be the ones that gain from the knowledge and understanding I have of City government.

3. What relevant leadership and business experience would you bring to the Council that will help in your decision-making process?
My leadership, business experience, decision making skills go back to the 1980’s when I was one of the managers that worked for the largest grocery wholesaler in the state of Washington, I managed a several million dollar budget as well as leading 38, sometimes up to 50 people at any given time. I ran a successful construction company in the City of SeaTac for 12 years before actually working for the City of SeaTac for a short time. I have served on the King County Regional Domestic Violence board, volunteered with the King County Sheriff’s department for the last 17 years, as well as a founding member of the City of SeaTac Citizens Patrol.

4. What SeaTac ordinances would you like implemented or removed from the books and why?
I would like to see a change to a few of the Code Enforcement ordinances, making penalties stiffer and accountable. I would also like to see a mandatory garage ordinance written and enforced.

5. Since SeaTac is the home of the massive and growing international airport, do you think the Port of Seattle should strongly increase financial assistance and support to SeaTac citizens?
Yes I think the Port of Seattle needs to be assisting the City of SeaTac in many ways, the airport is one of the busiest in the nation yet I don’t see enough assistance with traffic control, paving of roads, road maintenance and surface water management.

6. Do you consider traffic and parking a problem for SeaTac residents, and what is your proposed solution?
Traffic has definitely increased and will continue as Seattle and the surrounding areas grow. Parking, mainly around the airport and hotels used mainly by the service workers needs to addressed, a resident should be able to get in their own driveway. There needs to be a parking facility where service workers park and shuttle buses are owned and operated by their employers, a very common practice in the Midwest.

7. What conditions would you propose to better handle the large number of people who come through the city to the airport using facilities SeaTac taxpayer paid for?
I think the City of SeaTac has a pretty good handle on this by renting space at our local parks and fields, which in turn pays the maintenance and administrative staff as well as help curb the costs to keep them in running order.

8. Would your regular job employer expect you to follow their instructions on city legislation even when your knowledge and experience shows that might not be the best decision?
You are being paid by your employer, there are standard operating procedures that need to be followed, I would not cross the line if anything was illegal.

9. Is the city police department doing a good job in your view or are changes needed. Would you be willing to vote for additional tax income to pay for added members of the police officers that are contracted by the city from the King County Sheriff’s office?
I would not ask to raise taxes for any additional Police Services. We are very lucky to have a very effective Police Chief that provides excellent service and support, our officers and Detectives are some of the best around, at this point I would not changes anything with our outstanding Police force.

10. Do you consider the current city staff is effectively managing the city and guiding the needed changes and fixes to city problems?
The City staff works very hard for the residents of our fine city, effectively managing the day to day functions, with any City or business there is always room for streamlining and cost cutting measures. Our new City manager has done a terrific job getting things back on track and moving things forward in a positive direction in such a short amount of time, I would look forward working with staff to continue improving our City. Thank you for your time and would appreciate your vote.

JOEL WACHTEL

1. How long have you lived in SeaTac and why did you decide to live here?
My wife and I have been coming to Washington to visit our daughter and son-in-law and grandchildren since 2001. My son-in-law got me into salmon fishing in crabbing during those visits. My wife and I decided to retire late in 2011 and during our annual trip; the kids approached us separately about retiring in Washington. The offer was too good to refuse because they phrased it as, “if you move out here, we can keep an eye on you!” And then April of 2013, we purchased our home in SeaTac, we sold our house in New York and moved coast-to-coast.

2. What do you expect to gain personally from serving in a Council position?
I have had a very interesting life. I’ve been a licensed private investigator, a first Mate on a charter boat, a regional manager handling nine states, an entrepreneur who has started and sold three businesses. I have always seen life is an adventure. And so the best answer to this question is that I expect to personally gain a new and unique adventure in my life while helping a city I’ve become rather attached too.

3. What relevant leadership and business experience would you bring to the Council that will help in your decision-making process?
I have 45 years of various business experiences. I have worked for Fortune 500 companies and have been in charge of hundreds of millions of dollars in assets. I possess significant spreadsheet skills and I have done projection modeling for decades. In my most successful entrepreneurial venture, I created a program that accumulated and analyzed data used to purchase portfolios of receivables from the FDIC and RTC. I was president of that company for five years and made all the
day-to-day operational, management and hiring decisions. That business went from a $5000 venture and turned into a company with assets of $60 million and no debt. I possess high quality management skills, analytical skills, investigative skills and a strong determination to succeed in whatever I do. I believe these skills qualified me to hold the seat on the SeaTac city Council.

4. What SeaTac ordinances would you like implemented or removed from the books and why?
I would like to see an ordinance that would identify the responsibilities of landlord’s doing business within the city as to the minimal acceptable living conditions required to rent along with an identification of what repairs and/or maintenance are the responsibility of the landlord versus those of the tenant.
Also, because the airport brings so much transportation traffic into the city, I would like to see an ordinance that gives the city some control of the behavior of these vehicles. Also, since the POS has contracts and gets paid by some of these taxi companies, maybe we should seek a fee from them!

5. Since SeaTac is the home of a fast-growing airport, do you think the Port of Seattle should increase financial assistance and support to SeaTac citizens?
Absolutely! The impact that the airport has on our community is undisputable. The population of the city without the airport is approximately 28,000 people. The airport brings approximately 171,000 people into the city each day, which drops to 40,000 each night. So the true population of the city is greater than just the residents! The airport handles 45 million passengers a year. The airport directly impacts our residents’ health and quality of life. It brings constant traffic, noise and pollution into our city and our lives. It is a nuisance in many ways and negatively impacts our property values. It is my opinion that King County should be adjusting the manner in which they assess property taxes in the city in light of living next to such a nuisance. The port has maintained that because of the way it was created by the state, it is not responsible for the impact it has on this community. That is just not true or fair. It is the unbridled growth of the airport without appropriate concerns for its impact on the city or offer of any mitigation that is the real problem.

6. Do you consider traffic and parking a problem for SeaTac residents, and what is your proposed solution?
Yes. SeaTac has grown from a rural part of King County into a thriving urban community. As such, because of the encroachment on areas the residents use to park their vehicles by both airport employees and travelers and given the limited space available for this purpose, it is only logical that the city get involved in protecting the resident’s right to park near their homes and their property. I am in favor of creating and identification sticker and providing it to residents and property owners so that the police can enforce laws that allow the residents who live in this city to have availability for reasonable parking, while prohibiting nonresidents from abusing these resources. These residents have paid city taxes for years and have the right to enjoy reasonable use of the roads and not be pushed out by employees of the airport or travelers seeking to park for free.

7. What conditions would you propose to better handle the large number of people who come through the city to the airport using facilities SeaTac taxpayers paid for?
I believe it would be reasonable to enter into an agreement with the port that required them to pay a fee for every passenger that use the airport. Also, I would require that the port pay the city a fee on every ton of cargo, based on the fact that it needs to be transported in and out of the city on roads we maintain. I also support a study analyzing whether the current method of calculating storm water fees is reasonable and accurate given the size of the airport and the chemical nature of its runoff contaminants’. Also, The King County city health profile clearly identified that the leading causes of death; cancer, heart disease, CLRD, and liver disease are higher in the SeaTac/Tukwila corridor than the average for the state of Washington. That study can be found at this link: http://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/health/data/~/media/depts/health/data/documents/city-health-profiles/City-Health-Profile-Seatac-2016.ashx
It is reasonable to believe that the airport is the cause of these health issues and based on that, I believe that the port should be providing healthcare support services to the residents of the city at its own cost.

8. Would your regular job employer expect you to follow their instructions on city legislation, even when your knowledge and experience shows that might not be the best decision?
Because I’m retired I have no employer to be concerned about.

9. Is the city police department doing a good job in your view or are changes needed? Would you be willing to vote for additional tax income to pay for added members of the police officers that are contracted by the city from the King County Sheriff’s Office?
It is my belief that our police department is doing the best they can with the assets they’re given by the County. I believe that the County is not providing enough resources, outside of the police personnel we contract for, based on the taxes we pay to the County. It is a known fact that King County has been struggling with the budget for the Sheriff’s office and fails to provide regular services, such as traffic enforcement that are part of its responsibility. We need to have a discussion about what is being done within the city by the police and find a way for the County to fill that gap. This also may be another area with the port may be required to pay some of the cost.

10. Do you consider the current city staff is effectively managing the city and guiding the needed changes and fixes to city problems?
Overall, the current city staff seems to be effectively managing the city. However, understanding that the city was run by one party for 25 years that created the reality that caused the city to be considered one of the most dangerous cities in Washington, clearly proves the management has not been perfect. However, this could very well be attributable to the actions of the Council verses the action of the staff. A number of incidents clearly highlight what I am describing.

First, there is the case of a loss of $24 million in parking taxes over five years. While the city had the right to modify the parking tax rate, the issue was never addressed by the Council. The question of how the city could lose sight of one of its largest revenue streams granted by the port of Seattle by not monitoring to ensure that it achieved the guaranteed amount contractually promised is a question that needs to be answered.

Next, in a lawsuit involving K&S Developments LLC, a case which was decided against the city and in which a significant judgment was awarded, and serious allegations were raised against various departments and individuals. It is not unrealistic to believe that there should be a system of checks and balances in place to prevent this kind of behavior from being able to occur within the city, but that is obviously not the case. Was the staff responsible for the behavior that created this lawsuit or was it the failure of the Council to oversee the manner in which the city was doing business? And how can we avoid situations like this in the future?

Since the election of 2015, which installed a Council majority comprised of independent members, the city has modified many of its procedures regarding salaries in the way in which services and materials are purchased. The methodology embraced on these changes is in line with common business practices and will serve the city by assuring that it is not overpaying for employees, services or materials. In my opinion, we need to understand how these significant issues were allowed to occur if we want to be sure that our management and council actions do not have the ability to negatively impact the city this way in the future.


Comments

2 Responses to “SEATAC BLOG VOTERS’ GUIDE: Q&As with Council Candidates for Pos. #2”
  1. Kent Palosaari says:

    I appreciate your questions and the candidates’ responses. I would like a similar questionare sent out to POS candidates that is solely related to the airport’s impact on Seatac and surrounding communities. I have already generated about 20 questions and have a panel of people to ask more. I would love to talk about collaborative efforts with you.

    Rate: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  2. chuck darielli says:

    Question three Kathryn says (I am familiar with the process of collaboration among group members and between different groups) Must be why she Refused to be on the airport committee and can’t get enough people to fill out the sidewalk committee.

    Rate: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0