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Meet the Candidates 2003 - Jonathan Rosen
What do you think are the three biggest problems facing North Bend?
The city has made great strides recently in solving our water problem and I will continue to support those efforts.
Once our water rights are resolved the next major issue facing North Bend will be what to do with all the pent up demand for growth. Our city must be careful to manage this growth in a way that continues to preserve our unique small-town atmosphere, yet lets the city see reasonable growth, allowing us to stabilize our long-term financial health. One of the most important things we can do to manage this is to look toward annexing the area near truck town so that North Bend, instead of King County, can control our future.
One of the most important issues facing North Bend is our long-term financial health. By law our budget must remain balanced, but we must ask at what cost. I am concerned that the city has been forced to cut back or defer important projects recently in order to balance our budget. I want to see the city refocus its priorities so that our streets are paved, our parks are maintained and our traffic situation is dealt with. I would like to see our budget balanced through the growth of revenue from the downtown retail core and the diversification of our local economy to include more professional living-wage jobs and clean industry.
We cannot continue with a "buy now pay later" mentality. This way of doing business concerns me. It makes me wonder whether the need for revenue superseded the need to remain a rural community when the council approved the massive AF Evans apartment complex.
Bringing business to the downtown sector has been a topic of discussion for years within the city. If elected, what will you do, not only to bring new business downtown, but to ensure that the current businesses remain in the area during that renewal process?
In order to bring additional business to downtown, I would like to see North Bend launch a partnership with the chamber and local merchants to recruit a "destination" type of business. For example a small boutique hotel or maybe a brew pub would be befitting. By establishing such a business you will increase the foot traffic in downtown and thus start the revitalization process. By forming a partnership with the merchants, the citizens of North Bend can have a direct say in what kind of business comes to town.
What is your vision for the future development of North Bend?
I would like to see North Bend's future development take it down a path where our downtown develops into a destination for tourists, shoppers and outdoor enthusiasts from around the country. I would like to see downtown more pedestrian friendly with a retail core that stretches from the Tift Haus to Les Schwab. I want North Bend to project the image of a small, quaint community, not another Issaquah. I would like to see greater North Bend move toward diversifying its economy to include more living-wage opportunities for its residents so that more of us can work where we live. Attracting clean industry like Phillips/Sonicare or bio-tech firms to North Bend will allow us to achieve this goal while also establishing a broad, stable tax base.
What qualities do you have that make you the best candidate for the job?
I believe that my greatest strength lies in the fact that I have not spent a lifetime involved in government. My experience lies in both the small business field and nonprofit field. I believe that this type of experience is just the sort of change the city needs. We need to move away from a nonresponsive local government and toward a government of common sense. Decisions need to be made based on what is best for the entire community and not on political motives. North Bend has become a city where even the simplest of things like obtaining a basic business license can take ages. I believe a new way of looking at things is needed. My pragmatic, fiscally conservative background would be well suited for this task.
Resident opposition to the SCTF was a huge rallying point for the city. How are you going to parlay that movement into gaining more involvement from resident participation in city government?
I would like to see this recent movement turned into a greater involvement of citizens in the very decisions that affect their daily lives. In the future I would like to see the advice and involvement of the citizens in transportation issues. A future that asks citizens and businesses whether they want massive double roundabouts with concrete barriers at QFC and Exit 31; or if they need to look for alternate solutions. I would like to see a council that actively seeks your input on issues, unites our community and takes advantage of this new-found willingness of a large number of citizens to get involved.
Anything else you'd like the voters to know?
In closing I would like to say that I believe North Bend is blessed with many great assets, from its beautiful surrounding to its small-town sense of community, and it is these assets that will help North Bend develop into the gem of the Valley, the catalyst for new ideas and the leader in cooperative efforts among citizens and government.