WATERLAND BLOG VOTERS’ GUIDE: Q&As with Council Pos. #7 Candidates


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

This is the final post in our series for the 2017 Primary Election.

Of the two candidates running for Position #7, both responded, and here are their answers – published exactly as they sent them – and listed in alphabetical order:

CHAD HARPER

1. How long have you lived in Des Moines and why did you decide to live here?
I have been a resident of Des Moines for nearly 5 years. I chose to live in Des Moines because of its charm, the great people, and the fact that it’s a decent commuting distance from Seattle while still being relatively affordable.

2. What are your primary reasons for seeking election to the Des Moines City Council?
I am running because it’s time for a new voice with a fresh perspective to change the status quo in our city. Des Moines is a city with a lot of potential, and I’m excited to help our community be the best it can be. I’m proud my record of delivering results in our city as a member of the Human Services Commission, Trustee on the Highline Schools Foundation, and leader of last year’s successful school bond effort. For more information, visit my website: ChadforCouncil.org

3. What do you expect to gain personally from serving in a Council position?
I expect to confront new and exciting challenges and to work with a diverse group of colleagues to address our cities most pressing issues.

4. How should Des Moines react to the Port of Seattle’s proposed large and rapid expansion to Sea-Tac Airport and the increased noise and air pollution some say it will produce over the city?
Reducing noise pollution should be a top priority for all members of the city council. As someone who lives right under the flight path, I have first-hand experience with the increase in noise from planes leaving and entering SeaTac Airport. It’s clear we need to site an additional airport in our state. We can’t stop the growth of air travel and our region, but we can hold the FAA and the Port of Seattle accountable for the impacts the noise has on our community. I’m very supportive of the City of Burien’s efforts to sue the FAA to require them to complete an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

5. Do you consider the Marina seawall repair or replacement as a major financial problem facing the city and if not, what is the city’s biggest financial problem?
Repairing the seawall is a challenge, but not the biggest one. The city’s biggest financial problem is finding new revenue to increase the number of police officers in our community to combat increased crime. I’m proud that my commitment to public safety has earned me the distinction of being the only candidate in my race supported by law enforcement.

6. Do you believe paid Marina parking is the best way to finance the huge cost of the repair or replacement of the rapidly deteriorating seawall?
While unpopular, paid Marina is probably the best way to finance the seawall repair. If other solutions are proposed from councilmembers or members of the public, I am happy to consider those.

7. What are your views on further development for downtown Des Moines, the Marina, and the city’s partnership with the Port of Seattle at the Des Moines Creek Business Park?
Creating an environment where businesses can thrive in Des Moines is one of my top priorities. Our marina should be redeveloped with a commercial focus and in such a way that it connects with our downtown business. Our Marina and position along the Puget Sound puts us in a prime position to truly be a destination city. The Des Moines Creek Business Park will create thousands of new job which means more revenue for our city, and I’m very excited to see this development in our community.

8. Do you believe the Des Moines Police Department is doing a good job controlling crime in the city and, if not, what proposals for change would you recommend the Council adopt?
Des Moines has an excellent police department that is doing the best it can, given its current capacity. With new police officers, we can better address crime in the Pac Ridge area, Woodmont, and Redondo neighborhoods.

9. How would you propose Des Moines control increased card room gambling and marijuana sales along Pacific Highway South?
The voters of WA (including myself) voted to legalize marijuana at the ballot box. We can’t stop the sale of marijuana, but we could tax it. Other candidates have suggested this as a way of raising approximately $500,000 of revenue. I would vote in support of this. With that new revenue, we could better enforce local gambling laws.

10. What is your view of the way the city now budgets and spends its money and where would you cut or increase spending?
The city needs to budget based on reliable revenue, not wishful thinking. We need to return to being responsible stewards of taxpayers’ money. I would also like to see an increase in human services funding. I’m proud to serve on the Human Services Commission for our city and see the needs of our fellow residents. Our city’s demographics have changed as more people of modest means leave Seattle and move southward.

MATT MAHONEY

1. How long have you lived in Des Moines and why did you decide to live here?
My wife Bev and I have lived here 3 and ½ years. I grew up in Puyallup and have fond memories of spending time on the beach at Redondo during my childhood. Years ago, as an avid scuba diver, I became reacquainted with Des Moines and soon thereafter introduced Bev to the area. We both loved Des Moines and knew one day we wanted to live here. So after raising our children in Maple Valley, we sold our home with the intention of purchasing a condo at the Marina. We ended up doing a remodel on a property on North Hill and during that process found a community we could call home.

2. What are your primary reasons for seeking election to the Des Moines City Council?

  • I love the city and the people of Des Moines and want to give back to the community I’m vested in.
  • To help guide and facilitate the goals of Des Moines; Development, Business, Marina, Public Safety, Financial Sustainability, Airport Concerns
  • To ensure the city maintains a focus on our businesses and residents.
  • To be a voice for the residents of all neighborhoods to create one Des Moines.

3. What do you expect to gain personally from serving in a Council position?
The personal satisfaction that I am making a difference in the Des Moines community. Meeting and getting to know more the residents of the city.

4. How should Des Moines react to the Port of Seattle’s proposed large and rapid expansion to Sea-Tac Airport and the increased noise and air pollution some say it will produce over the city?
The city should address this issue in short and long term goals:

Short Term:

  • Partner with the surrounding cities and join efforts to represent concerns with the airport. Enlist our state and federal elected officials to be part of the process.
  • Encourage reduction of sulfur in fuels right now and switch to bio fuels.
  • Engage in efforts to cap flights and ensure quiet periods are established between midnight and 5 am.
  • Create a dialog with Port of Seattle and FAA Leadership to gain influence, build relationships and bring resolution of the impacts and concerns of our residents.

Long term:

  • 2nd Airport, 2nd Airport, 2nd Airport.
  • Strongly urge our state and federal representatives to support the concerns of communities located around airports with enforceable legislation to regulate operations.
  • Support the studies and monitoring of ultra-fine particles, noise and health issues associated with airports. Ensure state and federal leaders understand the impacts and what options are available to our residents.
  • Continue to find ways to protect our city and environment from impacts of the airport, i.e. tree management plan, quiet times, reduction of pollutants.
  • Push for Port Commission Districts so cities near airport have representation.
  • Insist FAA and Port of Seattle have a legitimate public forum process for open lines of communication to address concerns.
  • Request the Port financially compensate communities around the airport by supporting infrastructure and community projects.

5. Do you consider the Marina seawall repair or replacement as a major financial problem facing the city and if not, what is the city’s biggest financial problem?
Yes, I do! The seawall is estimated to be an 8 to 12-million-dollar repair/replacement and will be a major financial challenge. It is imperative those repairs be made sooner than later if we wish to ensure the Marina’s longevity. Lobbying for State, Federal, Developer and Port dollars in conjunction with bonds will be imperative.

The city budget has finally become sustainable but needs to be more than that. So I see another financial challenge as the need to support the city as it grows. The need to drive forward, development and business growth, while tying the Marina to a denser populated downtown is essential. While simultaneously creating a healthy commercial zone on Pacific Highway. The end game will be a sustainable and honest revenue source to support the city services our residents require long term.

6. Do you believe paid Marina parking is the best way to finance the huge cost of the repair or replacement of the rapidly deteriorating seawall?
I believe it’s a good start. When nearly 80% of visitors are not residents, when passes are offered at very reasonable prices for Des Moines residents and other frequent visitors, when the paid parking will curb misconduct and institute controls during off hours to lessen the burden on our law enforcement officers, when it will fund the interest on bonds to complete some of the work on the North Seawall, when no property taxes fund the marina, I see it as very helpful. I believe lobbying the Federal, State and Port for additional funding will be necessary. Possible funding from investors in development on the marina is an option too. Always willing to hear more ideas.

7. What are your views on further development for downtown Des Moines, the Marina, and the city’s partnership with the Port of Seattle at the Des Moines Creek Business Park?
We need it! I support it! We need sustainable revenue sources and population density to support our city operations, places to provide the businesses our residents want (i.e. grocery store) and ensure our future. I believe we have tremendous assets here and can use our waterside advantages to ensure sustainable revenue to support and improve our city. Tying the Marina to the downtown will be key in making a destination town and a place our residents can enjoy. A healthy business park and business zone on Pacific Highway will provide major benefits to help the city by generating additional revenue streams. However, all must be done effectively and compassionately while honoring the concerns of our residents. We don’t want development just to have development, it must be done wisely and intelligently.

8. Do you believe the Des Moines Police Department is doing a good job controlling crime in the city and, if not, what proposals for change would you recommend the Council adopt?
In general, our law enforcement professionals do a great job with the resources they have. The city council has found ways to hire more officers and purchase equipment/software our law enforcement professionals need despite financial constraints. However, the situation is more difficult than simply controlling crime. On occasion, I have spoken at City Hall meetings that more needs to be done. I do support more officers when we have the funds to do so. But I also believe an opportunity lies in employing our residents and/or neighbors to be watchful and active participants in crime prevention; so providing programs and tools that educate residents on what to look for, a comprehensive website providing info on crime trends for awareness and ease in reporting, and a block watch effort that covers every neighborhood are a good next step.

9. How would you propose Des Moines control increased card room gambling and marijuana sales along Pacific Highway South?
Communication with these businesses is and will be essential. We cannot turn a blind eye to this issue. The city is zoned for another marijuana store south of the Kent-Des Moines Highway. From what I understand, other card rooms under the zoning can occur if they meet certain criteria. Both the Sheraton Four Point and Greenside Recreational have demonstrated efforts to clean up and reduce crime on their portions of Pacific Highway. Our police on multiple occasions have affirmed that fact. Also both are and will continue to be large contributors to the city revenue, with the Casino potentially contributing nearly one million dollars annually four years from now based on the graduated rate the city negotiated. I would use these two operations as the template that any other enterprise of this nature would be expected to model.

10. What is your view of the way the city now budgets and spends its money and where would you cut or increase spending?
I think the current City Council budgets very effectively and little to no excess is prevalent. I believe they have found a few additional creative ways to generate revenue to just support base level city operations. Amazing considering the city faced bankruptcy only 18 months ago.

I’ve attended the many public budget forums and reviews along with personally reviewing and analyzing our budget and I see no significant areas to cut without impacting and creating ripple effects to city and other services we all count on. I do see a need for more officers, infrastructure improvements and additional funding for parks and recreation but those can only be supported through revenue generated by healthy sustainable business growth and development.


Comments

8 Responses to “WATERLAND BLOG VOTERS’ GUIDE: Q&As with Council Pos. #7 Candidates”
  1. Marty says:

    at first i was like “harper has only lived here 5 years….hm… we need someone more embeded in the communuty!”

    and then i saw that mahoney has only been here 3 and a half years…

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 10

    • Matt Mahoney says:

      Hey Marty

      I would be honored to meet you and introduce myself.

      I think you’ll find that for the short time I’ve been here you’d be impressed how embedded I’ve become.

      Email me if you would like that.

      Matt

      Well-liked. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 8

  2. Mac McGlynn says:

    MATT MAHONEY is a great leader with Matt there are always two sides to anything.
    as for CHAD HARPER I have never seen the young man at any meeting at Noth Hill or at Des Moines Council Meetings. Chad might be great in 20 years after he has paid his fair share of Taxes with his views maybe Chad should move to Seattle he would fit right in there .Yes Matt has lived here a short time but his views are Des Moines he has from day one worked for the betterment of North Hill and Des Moines .I wish I could list all the great things Matt has worked on ,this was all before he was talked into running for City Council ,we need people that pay taxes and understands fixed income people .

    Well-liked. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 5

  3. Pat Nardo says:

    Having known Matt Mahoney for a short time, I am inordinately impressed with his ability to estimate and articulate his view of what, we in Des Moines, need in a councilman. Matt brings a discipline learned in the military, management skills from his position at Nordstrom’s, and his constant presence at our council meetings, absorbing the methodology required to run the engine of this great city. Even his fund raising is outstanding with 63% donations from Des Moines residents. By contrast there is no real evident accomplishment attributable to his opponent; Chad Harper, who has nearly twice the funds of Matt Mahoney. and 99% of his funds from people who do not even live in Des Moines. So with all this and my feeling that Des Moines council position #07 is not for sale. We will support and vote for Matt Mahoney without hesitation.

    Well-liked. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 5

  4. That Guy says:

    Just by looking at the amount of effort put forth in the 2 candidates answers, I think it’s obvious who is better suited for the position. Mr. Harper seems to have very vague, short answers that don’t really address what he plans to do. Mr. Mahoney has obviously put a lot of thought into his answers, and provides detail into his thoughts and steps he would take. I definitely know who I am voting for!

    Well-liked. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 3

  5. Pat Nardo says:

    Sitting her with time on hands, observing and reading re: Matt Mahoney and Traci Buxton, and the up coming primary is a real treat. My thorough study of all candidates, reinforces my strong support for only four; 05 Traci Buxton, and 01 Matt Pina for this primary and then, 07 Matt Mahoney, along with 07 Vic Pennington for the other two positions. While we wish all, good luck, I can’t help wondering why this, seemingly weak candidate, Harper is even running, He appears to be out of touch with Des Moines. Finally his campaign funds, though dwarfing all ten candidates in its amount, is entirely from people who do not even live in Des Moines !

    Rate: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

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