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Issues...

Public Safety - 

People in Everett say they don't feel safe. It's not about the crime statistics but about how you feel in your neighborhood. Do you let your kids play in the park? Are you uneasy going to the fast food restaurant or the grocery store? Do you hear gunfire in your neighborhood on a regular basis? The number one priority of local government is the safety and security of its people.

For more than two years the Everett Police Department has been understaffed between 15 - 20 officers. The city has hired more than 35 officers in two years and yet we currently have 18 slots to fill with more retirements looming. We need to make sure the police department has the resources available to fill these slots.

The Everett Fire Department is having serious morale issues and is also facing multiple retirements. In addition conditions at some of the fire stations are substandard and equipment is outdated. Meanwhile the city keeps growing with new industrial buildings to protect on the southwest side and residential development happening along the river and waterfront. Now is not the time to close fire stations and extend response times.

City Spending -

By law Everett has to have a balanced budget each year. But when you look at the budget four and five years down the road there is a substantial gap between predicted revenues and expenses with a structural deficit still looming. While the 1% cap in property taxes does limit the amount of money the city can take in from that source there also needs to be the consideration that raising taxes on the people who can least afford it through property and sales tax increases isn't fair. Tax breaks for large manufacturing businesses have got to be re-examined. The same for developers.

The city has to re-examine our priorities and find ways to say no. Do we need two golf courses in a city our size? Do we keep spending money on a pool when the YMCA is about to build a new facility a mile away and there's a chance for partnership? Between cutbacks in State funds due to the McCleary decision and the Federal government making large scale cuts across multiple areas Everett has some very tough decisions to make.

 

City Council Districts -

Right now all seven seats on the Everett City Council are at-large. Right now six out of the seven people serving on the Everett City Council live north of 41st street. There seem to be two Everetts. The north end and the south end divided at 41st street. The majority of elected leaders live in the north. While I live in the southern half of the city I agree with those who think the people should decide representation by districts. I support  the proposal to have 5 council districts and 2 at-large members on the Everett City Council.

 

Term Limits - 

Currently there are no term limits for the city council or mayor. I'd like to see term limits such as at Snohomish County. Three 4-year terms should be enough. If you want to diversify the city leadership this is a great way to do that. People have told me that they don't wish to run as they don't believe they can successfully challenge a person who has been in office for 12 years. Look what happened with this year's Mayoral race. What would the field for mayor look like if people knew well ahead of time that there would be an open seat? 12 years is long enough for one person to be in a local city office. Term limits would encourage more participation and diversity.

 

Homelessness -

People experiencing homelessness is a huge problem in Everett. There are almost as many different reasons people find themselves without a stable home as there are people experiencing homelessness. That means mental health, drug addiction, alcoholism, high rental costs, low wages and lack of opportunity all have a role. Somewhere however personal responsibility also has to play a part. 

Low Barrier Housing - 

I am for the low barrier housing project slated for city-owned property at Berkshire and Evergreen Way. (for the record I live one block away from the proposed site) I do however have some concerns. Apart from the poor way the city went about announcing the site I am worried about the selection criteria for people who will be living there. If we are going to have such facilities in Everett than at least 80 percent of the occupants should be from the Everett city limits.

Everett should not be expected to have people brought from all over the county when the need is so great right here. We have the jail, we have Compass Health, we have two hospital facilities that contain mental health wings, we're looking at detox and mental health beds co-located at the Denny Youth Center. All of which I support but these same types of facilities must also be built in South, East and North Snohomish County so that people who are facing issues in those areas are treated in those areas. Everett can't keep absorbing these facilities and expect to make progress on our city streets.

Behavioral Health  -

There is no getting around the fact that were are in an extreme crisis. I support the expansion or remodeling of Denny Youth Center into more adult beds for housing people with mental illness and behavioral health issues. There simply is not enough room for people who need the help and jail can't be the alternative holding area. That perpetuates a vicious cycle. 

Drug Addiction -

Everett is facing the same issues as other cities large and small across the country. It is an epidemic and I don't pretend to have an easy answer. While I support the Safe Streets initiative and the use of embedded social workers within the police department to address the street-level issues I also know we can neither arrest or spend our way out of the problem. The city has finite resources and our response has to be measured and used in the most effective way. 

Economic Development -

Everett is not Bellevue or Seattle and shouldn't try to be. We are a blue collar town and that's okay. The arena did not re-vitalize downtown Everett. Look at the number of places downtown that have had revolving tenants. There are a large number of vacancies downtown at this very moment. Even the new Marriott Hotel has an empty commercial restaurant space right in the heart of downtown. The city needs to focus on all of Everett and lessen the focus downtown. How many new districts can Everett reasonably support at the same time? Downtown, Metro Everett, Waterfront Place, The Riverfront, Gateway at Pacific, Educational Hub on North Broadway?

There needs to be some priorities set. The addition of companies like Funko to the downtown is great but so is the development and build out of the warehousing and manufacturing area of southwest Everett. It is time to focus on our urban growth boundaries in the south end and begin annexing and filling in those islands of county property between Paine Field and Mill Creek. 

 

 

 

 



Paid for by: Elect Lee Dart 6315 Fleming Street Everett, WA  98203
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