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Survey says: Jim Sundberg offers views on Langley issues
The Record is surveying candidates for the city council in the 2011 election. Jim Sundberg responds to the Record's candidate survey with his take on economic development, hearing examiner appeals, the amount of time he'll devote to council work, an ethics ordinance and more.
Jim Sundberg Bio
Seeking Position 3 (four-year short and full term) against Robin Adams and Kathleen Waters. The top two will advance to the General Election in November.
Education: Master's degree in City and Regional Planning, UC-Berkeley.
Occupation: Retired after 20-plus years working in computing and medical research, most recently at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/
Volunteer work: Three years as chairman, Langley Planning Advisory Board.
Campaign website: Email email@example.com, or contact via LinkedIn or Facebook.
What specific ideas do you have for improving Langley's economy?
"We all agree that the city should do everything possible to retain and attract desirable businesses. Specific ideas which I will actively pursue include:
1. Support creative local markets, like the Friday afternoon market, which benefit both the local economy and our sense of community.
2. Continue the Langley Main Street Program organizational efforts, as they set priorities for their local developmental activities.
3. Cooperate with the chamber of commerce to survey recent new businesses, recording factors which attracted them to Langley, and departing businesses, to find out specifically why they are closing or departing.
4. Help maintain a web page detailing the benefits of moving a business to Langley.
5. Enhance accessibility to Langley: continue to promote the Langley Loop concept which connects us to Highway 525; explore possibilities for Sunday and holiday bus connections to the ferry; support Port of South Whidbey expansion of our marina for more boat access; support needed additions for downtown parking.
6. Implement over time the seven goals for economic development in the current City of Langley Comprehensive Plan - they are carefully thought out and focus on Langley's unique environment and artistic and cultural advantages, as well as the future knowledge economy.
Should decisions of Langley's hearing examiner be subject to appeal to the city council?
"No, appeal to the city council would contradict the main reasons given by city council for changing to the hearing examiner process: the desire to employ the best legal experience for complex land-use cases and the desire of the council members to be free to be part of the dialog within the community, which they cannot do if they are also the court of appeal."
Should the city council revisit the issue of the mayor's salary? How much should the mayor be paid?
"Assuming a directly elected mayor is retained after Aug. 16, then there are several ways to make the salary reflect the level of city administration and public outreach provided by the person filling this important responsibility. I favor making the salary and benefits sufficient to support as close to full time as possible, since this would bring the most benefit to the city of Langley."
How many hours a week do you expect to devote to your work on the council?
"10 - 20 hours per week: attending meetings, workshops and serving on committees, meeting with local citizens and businesses, doing background research on projects and innovative ideas, working on the budget and finding efficiencies."
Langley's Parks and Open Space Commission has pushed for a network of walking trails through Langley, and there has also been support for biking lanes in the village. Which should be a greater priority for the city — installing sidewalks in neighborhoods that currently lack sidewalks, or establishing new walking trails and bike lanes?
"For residents and visitors alike, a strong attraction of the village of Langley is its walkability. A survey done by the Langley Parks and Open Space Commission 'identified walking trails and beach walks as the most desired activities of the potential responses.' But this is not an either/or situation: It is a practical question of obtaining the necessary funding for both, and is already part of the city's six-year capital projects plan. As to making Langley safe and attractive to bicycle riders, I recommend the simple addition of 'share the road' signage, which alerts both bicyclists and motorists to their mutual obligations on existing roadways.
During the council's review of the 2011 budget, one council member said the city should consider contracting out for police services. Should Langley contract with Island County to provide police services, and decommission its police department?
"This important question immediately brings up the level of service which Langley residents expect and enjoy. Our local police know both adults and youth; they know who are visitors and who works here; they know how to supervise local events, and they do outreach at the local schools; they are already doing emergency response planning; they are effective and a real value-added city resource. Outsourcing this local government activity is not a practical or desirable option, since it is clear that county sheriff resources could not provide the same level of service."
How many council meetings do you think you will not attend in person?
"My attendance at council meetings has already begun, and I have a good record of attendance. If elected, I will continue this good record."
Should building heights be increased where water views will not be impacted?
"Only in accordance with appropriate zoning and careful design review. I am fully aware that territorial views as well as water views are vitally important in Langley."
Does the city need an ethics ordinance/policy that covers elected/appointed city officials?
"Avoiding conflicts of interest and full disclosure of potential conflicts are an important part of maintaining trust in local government. City council already has an active subcommittee reviewing the existing ethics policies and considering their expansion. If elected to city council, I will support this review of existing policy and its application."