JC Harris announces candidacy for Des Moines City Council, Position #2

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Waterland Blog allows residents running for office one free post to announce their candidacy:


My name is JC Harris and I’m running for Des Moines City Council, Position #2. I’d like to give you a quick take on who I am, why I’m running, and the direction I would like to help take Des Moines if I am fortunate enough to be elected.

I’ve been an active member of this community since my family moved to Puget Sound almost 25 years ago. I fish and sail from the Marina, attend St. Philomena’s and volunteer with many local groups. I liked the area so much that fifteen years ago I purchased a house here, moving over from Burien.

I’m mostly retired now, but my career has been as a professional musician and a licensed professional engineer. I’ve managed very large projects for Fortune 500 companies as well as hundreds of small businesses.

I’m running because I want to help restore and improve the city we all love. This city has changed so much since the Great Recession. Our once thriving small business community was devastated, many long-term residents had to leave, our city government ran into terrible financial straits, and to add insult to injury, it was at that moment that Sea-Tac Airport began its exponential growth–going from a tolerable 750 flights per day to the current 1300+ with no end in sight!

Now the current Council has turned our city’s finances around and that’s important. But in those other areas, the areas that probably matter more to you personally, we have not made the progress we should towards the kind of future many of you have told me you want.

We need to really focus on small businesses throughout the entire city. Despite all the recent building, the downtown still hasn’t changed much and other areas also stagnate. What is puzzling is that our neighbor cities now all have thriving small businesses communities. But after ten years we still do not. So that’s Job #1.

Increasingly, many people throughout Des Moines do not feel as safe as they once did. Let’s be clear: this is not a Des Moines problem, it is a regional issue. And to solve it, we need much better partnerships with surrounding communities to address the root causes of these problems now.

The City Of Des Moines needs to be far more transparent. The City needs to come to you! I want to make it easier to find out what’s going on, report problems, get help when you need it, and obtain permits. On a personal level, I will host regular get-togethers so we can talk things over. And I will make sure you can easily reach me with your suggestions and concerns.

We can do a lot better to reduce the increases in air traffic and mitigate the noise and pollution. Many of you know that I have worked tirelessly on this issue for several years and I will be the first council member to give this issue the attention it demands. It’s not just annoying. It impacts your health, your business, and in fact our entire future.

Last but certainly not least, our stretch of Puget Sound is our most valuable resource. I will be the first council member in memory working hard for the Marina community and Poverty Bay. As stewards of this place, we need to do more to ensure that our Waterfront remains a functioning marina and that the water quality off of Des Moines is significantly improved.

To learn more, please go to https://voteforjc.org. And look for me in your neighborhood: I am currently knocking on every registered voter’s door and if I haven’t made it to your home yet, I will certainly do so in the coming weeks. (If you haven’t registered, please do so today. Every vote does count.) I hope you will consider giving me your support and your vote on Tuesday, August 6th, 2019.



8 Responses to “JC Harris announces candidacy for Des Moines City Council, Position #2”
  1. Patrick Nardo says:

    Democracy is dependent on citizens like you, Mr. Harris, and it is good, healthy and constructive to see you produce your platform. As a constituent voter and analyst of our cities woes and joys, your words parallel some of my own thoughts, with variations, of course. Your entry with one other will create the need for a primary run and will cause, also, a little more scrutiny on all candidates, and incumbents alike. Some of your comments are not ringing clear where security and “people leaving” remark, as we see people actually arriving and more building occurring. I “carry” less than I once did too. Our police give the strong feeling of security. We presently have a council, the best in decades and my question to all candidates is, how will you fit in as a member of this well geared and functioning team? You are to be commended for your civic pride, and we can only hope you have a truly thick skin, remembering that many will fault you., In any case, sir, good luck. We do share the love of Des Moines.

    • JC Harris says:

      Sir, you appear to refer to quotes that are not present in the above letter so I can’t really comment.

      As far as all the development and ‘people leaving’ my general comment is this: Development per se is not always a good thing. Some of the recent building is great and some not so much.

      As far as ‘people leaving’, Des Moines has been undergoing some of the most rapid real estate ‘churn’ in the region. Some of this is a natural generational shift but a -lot- of it is not. In short, people are buying here, but they are not -staying- here as they once did. And that’s a huge problem because great communities can exist only when neighborhoods are stable.

  2. Patrick Nardo says:

    As strong supporters of all three incumbents for re-election, we attended a large group of fellow supporters of Luisa Bangs, at the home of Councilman Matt Mahoney. Among the many speakers, including Mayor Pina, and Senator Karen Keiser. Please note here, that we always vote for Sen, Keiser (Democrat), though we are staunch Republicans, because she is outstandingly good for our jurisdiction. Sen. Keiser spoke with high praise and confidence in the accomplishments of Councilwoman Bangs, and the hope that she would continue with her hopes for an even better Des Moines. Our council is, and must remain non-partisan, so it should be note here, that Karen Keiser spoke, not as a Senator, or a Democrat, but as a regular citizen of Des Moines, sharing her inordinate satisfaction with, especially Luisa’s performance in office, echoing our very own sentiments. So, we are further encouraged to keep the good we have as opposed to the unknown quantity of opposition, though good they may be.

  3. carri litowitz says:

    JC, thanks for caring enough to run! There are too many times when we hear “our council is fine where it is at”. They are a well-functioning council right now and I praise them for that but people should never be discouraged to run for any office no matter how “well-functioning” that office might be. It doesn’t take long with that attitude to go back to the “good ol’ boys club”. I wish you luck on your campaign and once again thank you for being courageous and caring enough to run.

    Carri Litowitz

    • JC Harris says:

      Thank you for your kind words. However I must disagree with you. The current council is not a well-functioning body in many ways. If it were, I would not expend the considerable resources and energy necessary to run. 🙂

      I have attended virtually every council meeting for the last three years so I believe I know of what I speak. As one example, close to 100% of all council votes during that time have been 7-0. That alone should tell citizens that the the council is not independently researching and debating the issues.

      I hope to help improve this state of affairs.

  4. Patrick Nardo says:

    Mr. Harris; Your constant attendance at council meetings is a welcome enhancement to your resume, and well received by this voter; thank you. You appear to have a good “platform” and there is one area that hits between the eyes; that of our stagnant small business community. If you could become the catalyst, turning this around, words would not amply describe the effort. You share a love of this community and are willing to become a focal point for improvement, prosperity and just overall community pride. We are hampered, somewhat by “slum lords” “who do not maintain or improve rental property so that many of our storefronts look unloved, and shabby. Sometimes, code enforcement and permitting appear to be unreasonable in the welcoming of a new business.( I would be happy to exemplify this.) Our Des Moines is a potential gold mine for becoming a major, local tourist attraction, with an inordinately friendly population, just waiting to “show you around”, and this should be an incentive for office seekers, as well as holders to pursue. So, now that you have overcome the hurdles presented by our PDC, congratulations. Your commentary will surely make a difference, so let’s hear more.

  5. Patrick Nardo says:

    JC Harris:
    Our City of Des Moines is being “recovered’ and restored at a rapid pace, thanks to the due diligence of our last two council’s membership.
    Small businesses that remain, and couple of new ones are doing well.
    “Long-term” residents leaving is normal, as more arrive, overall, increasing our population by 1000 in the last decade.
    As one of “many people” (How many?) who do feel extra safety in the present manning of our Des Moines Police contingent. This voter is confident in the safety, not only of our citizenry, but we even have a uniformed police monitor assigned to our local high school.
    If our council members were more transparent than what we now have, they would need to be in our living rooms! See them weekly at our Farmer’s Market, at the marina. They sit, openly inviting our questions, suggestions, and concerns, promising, where appropriate, to “get back to you”, and they do.
    The “first person to address ground, traffic and the mitigation of aircraft over flights, sits on council now. This also applies to the incredible improvements made at our marina, with more planned by our present, and previous council members, negotiating with the port authority. As for the question of 7 -0 voting on measures affecting favorability to our city, if you “look again”, and do your homework, you will find nearly all were votes that you, yourself would have promoted, and, yes, voted with the other six, had you been that one member you wish to be.! This, then cements our vote for Luisa Bangs. Rob Back, and Jeremy Nutting. Caveat: We do believe in term limitations, so continue your pursuit, sir.

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