Carlson and Hearing vie for North Bend mayor post

Traffic, water rights and growth are among the biggest problems facing North Bend, but none of our problems will get resolved if our city leaders and civic groups don't team up to find and enact solutions. We must have a City Council and a mayor who will reunite the community, collaborate on win/wins, work together, listen to each other and the citizens and then get things done.

Traffic: We need to fix the two hottest spots: North Bend Way and Exit 31. We need an alternative east-west corridor or an easier route to I-90, which will also alleviate the problems on Cedar Falls Way and the debacle at the QFC/post office. We should re-stripe Exit 31 eastbound to lighten the current jams, but we must look for a bypass to North Bend Way and to 202 to head off problems associated with the Snoqualmie casino opening and the possibility of hundreds of gravel trucks exiting and heading for the Lower Valley via 202.

Water: I will continue the aggressive pursuit of DOE to get the water rights we need.

Growth: Uncontrolled sprawl threatens our quality of life, yet King County is encouraging it east of town. We must gain control of our Urban Growth Area before this happens. I advocate signing an interlocal agreement that will force the county to adopt our standards and allow our staff to process permits in our annexation area. I will also pursue funding that would allow North Bend to run its sewer line all the way to Edgewick, to take advantage of the already planned growth.

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 ensure that the current businesses remain in the area during that renewal process?

Easing traffic on North Bend Way, as well as creating attractive pedestrian corridors between remote parking areas, will enhance our already pedestrian-friendly downtown. Once that atmosphere is in place businesses will invest, and I will work with the EDC and the chamber to ensure that happens.

Right now, some sales tax from the Mountain Valley Center is earmarked for downtown revitalization, but it's not enough. We need to make a substantial urban renewal investment through low interest loans and grants to encourage capital improvements.

What is your vision for the future development of North Bend?

I see tourism dollars as a large part of our economic base, but we also need to meet the needs of our residents through a mixture of businesses and activities that cater to both visitors and citizens.

We don't want to become Issaquah, whose leaders got caught in the annexation issue. While they were arguing, the county allowed build out without infrastructure. Some say we need growth to rebuild our economy and treasury, but residential growth alone is short-lived income; it pays dividends, but not as much as business does. I will work to attract more businesses that will provide more living-wage careers to North Bend.

What qualities do you have that make you the best candidate for the job?

I can reunite the community and make differences become compromises. I have common sense, I'm active in the community, I'm visible and approachable and I show up. I listen to the issues and concerns of the citizens, and I have a unique gift for gaining consensus and implementing changes.

I am a local restaurant owner who understands budgets, team management and customer service. I am a public servant, having been on the Planning Commission for five years. I have a military background and was a union negotiator.

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 want to maintain the sense of empowerment and pride that the SKTF gave to our community. Under my leadership, government will always listen and communicate; not just when we're in crisis mode. I will work with the SKTF and other groups so we can leverage that willingness to voice opinions and tackle issues with a unified approach.

Anything else you would like the voters to know?

If you have questions for me, pick up the phone and call (888-4429). I am truly available.

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