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Carlson and Hearing vie for North Bend mayor post

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1. Water rights. The urgency to obtain water rights is about lifting the development moratorium. The moratorium affects not just the development revenues, which any city is dependent upon, but also people who have had the value of their property locked up.

2. A resolution to the problem of blighted buildings in our downtown historic district.

This problem has gone on long enough. They have water. They have sewer. If I am elected, all options are on the table. I believe the work we're doing to generate an economic development element for our comp plan will go a long way toward taking care of the problem.

3. Industrial development on septic in our UGA. In King County's 2001 comp plan amendments, they exempted North Bend from the county-wide requirement that industrial development be on sewer. Nowhere else in King County is this allowed! North Bend needs an inter-local agreement with King County to govern development in our UGA.

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?

We need policies which recognize we all have a stake in what happens downtown. We need tourist-based policies to take advantage of the natural wonders to which we are the gateway. If North Bend wants to profit from our position as the "Gateway to the Cascades," visitors can't dread the traffic backups caused by the medians. It may be that we need to remove the medians. North Bend needs a mayor who can't be threatened or ostracized by other businesses if he starts changing the status quo.

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

J.W. Nordstrom became wealthy outfitting the miners heading for Alaska. We can do the same for people accessing our mountain trails, ski slopes and rivers. Add bus service to the local train and we can bring Salish visitors to our downtown to visit art galleries, restaurants, an annual music festival and more.

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

Experience! Whether discussing water rights, sex-offender sites or gravel mines, the answers to our problems are determined regionally. Whether or not the next mayor was born in North Bend is not going to make any difference when he is face to face with the county executive or governor. I have been working with regional leaders for the entire six years I've been on the City Council, Eastside Fire and Rescue Board of Directors, the Snoqualmie Watershed Forum and more.

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?

In the 19th century, the French writer Alexis de Tocqueville traveled around the United States and wrote a book called "Democracy in America." He wrote that the defining nature of Americans was their ability to come together in ad hoc, voluntary organizations to work for the greater good. The Safe Kids Task Force is a perfect example. I don't believe any "parlaying" is necessary. The task force's president is running for my council position, another member is already on the council and the vice president was appointed to the city's park board. The SKTF has set a wonderful example for all of us.

Anything else you'd like the voters to know?

Probably my major weakness is that I do what I think is right, whether it's politically smart or not. I have values and principles and I stick to them. Often it's not always in my best interests politically to do so but whether you agree or disagree with me, you know where I stand. Some say that is my major strength.

I don't have my opponent's long family history in the Valley. I've gotten my name recognition the hard way - I earned it, meeting after meeting, year after year. Hundreds of hours spent working on city business. My opponent's parents appear to have been pioneers here in the Valley. In my family, I'm the pioneer. The voters get to decide whether they prefer a pioneer or the son of pioneers for their next mayor.

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