Ensuring public safety with our Police, Fire, and Ambulance services
Public safety is something that is not an option for me to undercut. Funding for the departments that put our community at ease in an emergency is something as a councilmember I will always find a way to come up with. There are promising tax dollars coming into our city and through those dollars it has allowed funding for 64 new officers. This is a temporary fix and there need to be long-term funding solutions in place to assure our citizens their safety services are never in jeopardy. As your city councilmember, I will work diligently to find that long term budget solution.
I want to build stronger partnerships with Clark County and our neighboring cities, so when the best resolution for both our city and its citizens would require a multi-agency agreement, the partnership is already effective and firm.
As City Councilmember, I feel a stronger partnership with Clark County would benefit both city and county. The city and county have a decent relationship, but there are many joint ventures we can be working toward to build a better partnership. Ventures like current annexations, C-tran and public transportation, and solving the homeless crisis, mental illness issues and the horrific opioid epidemic.
The homeless crisis, mental illness issues and the opioid epidemic aren’t just a City issue and aren’t just a County issue. They are horrible issues that need to be addressed immediately and not just from one agency. Working together with our renewed and now effective partnership with the County, that as a City Councilmember I commit to establishing, we may be able to come up with at least a place to start providing relief.
Vancouver has current high profile projects such as the waterfront development that everyone knows about, which is great and offers a multitude of opportunity to our city.
However, east of 205 is where our economic growth and development has been taking shape over the past few years and should be recognized as well. It has been said 192nd AVE is the hottest road out there and the growth over the past few years has confirmed that. The ongoing progress and multiple projects along SE Mill Plain from 136th AVE down to SE 192nd AVE show this. Columbia Tech Center, the Vancouver Clinic, Peacehealth, Providence medical group, and the Clark College campus are all now available on the east side. Businesses like Banfield Pet Hospital, Costco, Lowes, Home Depot, Target, JC Penny’s, Wal-mart, and several others are offering economic earning and spending in our community. Continuing development in this part of our city should be included as an economic staple and standard for Vancouver. Let’s continue the development on the east side.
As a resident in the east side, I am proud of what we have grown into and become over the past decade. As your city councilmember, I would make it my duty to proudly represent the east side of our city.
Access to open and transparent government
Communication with citizens and making sure everyone has access to ALL areas of government is essential to a relationship with openness and transparency. As a city councilmember, I support city council meetings being published on YouTube or live streaming them on Facebook making them more accessible. Citizens should be able to watch and follow their elected officials through each step of their decision-making process.
I have attended C-Tran board meetings. I am aware there are a few projects in progress that are going to help provide access to reliable transportation for commuters and the general population. One project the city is looking at is the “bus on shoulder” project. This will allow city buses to drive along the shoulder of SR-14 to bypass congestion between I-205 and I-5. This is a very successful program in cities such as Miami, Orlando, and San Diego that are congested with traffic during the heavy commute hours. As someone who has used public transportation, I can say with experience one of the biggest frustrations is the time it takes to get from one side of the city to the other side. The bus on shoulder project will allow public transportation to become a more feasible option.
Access to healthcare
OHSU Knight Cancer Institute and Legacy Health are partnering up with the Vancouver Clinic to expand their cancer collaborative into Southwest Washington. In addition to accessing clinical trials, residents will now be able to take advantage of the latest chemotherapy regimens offered through the Knight Cancer Institute at a local Vancouver medical office. This will allow for better coordinated care for patients, who will now have access to world-class cancer care without having to travel far from home, keeping people in the community. Having personally gone through a traumatic health issue I understand the significance of support and keeping patients local. Recovery is not only physical with surgeries, chemo, and rehab. It is also emotional and requires the support of family and friends. This will allow a person to access the necessary physical care while keeping them in their local support area. This collaboration will more closely integrate adult cancer care treatment options for patients and ensure efficient utilization of health care resources.
Access to education
Every child has the right to access a free education K-12. Our youth and education here in Vancouver is an important element to a successful future. Education is knowledge and knowledge is power. The bond measure that passed in February 2017 will replace eight schools, modernize four schools and the Kiggins Bowl, improve 24 campuses and build three new schools to accommodate anticipated enrollment growth. As a Councilmember I will work diligently with the Vancouver School District to secure ideal locations for the new schools and insure the facilities are barrier free and accessible to all children.
Barrier free access for the physically disabled
In 2007, after several attempts to work directly with the city, I brought Federal litigation against the City of Vancouver for violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The violation created access barriers that resulted in me having to go several extra blocks to get my wheelchair on a sidewalk. This hindered my ability to ride the bus which was my means of transportation at the time. I didn’t sue for money or damages, I sued for access and change…..and I won! I forced change: there became access to roads and sidewalks via curb cuts, parks and city buildings are now updated and accessible, and the city has created an in depth ADA transition plan that they are following. It was a bold move on my part but it was the most rewarding challenge I have ever taken on. Other disabled people, some in wheelchairs some not, have gone out of their way to thank me. Not only had my life become easier from something as simple as barrier free access, but the quality of life for so many others in the community changed that day as well.
12.6 percent of the United States population is reported to have a disability of some sort. That is over 54 million Americans or 1 out of 5 people; and people with physical disabilities make up the largest minority group in the US.
The Columbian states that the city of Vancouver’s growth last year alone was 2% or 3100 residents. With the growth that is predicted moving forward, the amount of physically disabled people will increase as well. Having barrier free access for the physically disabled opens accessibility for a considerable amount of other frequent activities such as bikes, strollers, skateboards, and pedestrians. Barrier free access for the physically disabled equals universal access for all.
Access to parks
The city of Vancouver has approximately 15,000 acres of land within roughly 75 parks and only 15 employees to maintain all of these. City parks are a beautiful place for a multitude of activities for children and adults. In attendance at neighborhood association meetings I continue to hear a high demand for general maintenance to neighborhood parks. As a councilmember I will take the opportunity to look into the cost effectiveness of the current maintenance and see if we can more effectively use our resources in order to provide equal access to each and every park in the city.
Access to city programs and opportunities
The City is doing a good job of providing programs like the Apple pass which is a bus pass that allows unlimited travel within most of Clark County for “at need” students. There is the Teen Late Night activities program which is a free safe space for youth ages 11-18 to enjoy recreational activities with their peers every Friday evening instead of spending time out on the streets.
The H2O program is a program for assistance with water bills that helps customers who are behind on their water/sewer bill or have had their services shut off. The city has worked well with local foundations such as the Kuni Foundation providing amazing opportunities like Stephens Place for people who are on the Autism spectrum or live with Downs Syndrome.
It is programs like these that make the city of Vancouver as a community such a great and amazing place to live. However, if our citizens are unaware of the assistance available to them these programs will not be utilized and therefore become ineffective.
Communication is key to a great city. Accessibility is vital to growth. Let's make our great city greater!