Kenmore Apathy vs. Kenmore Pride

Well, the election is over. Congratulations to Laurie Sperry, Alan Van Ness, and Bob Hensel on their elections.

I have to say though, I am disappointed in the apathy of Kenmore voters. According to King County Elections, Kenmore had a voter turnout of 53.4%.

Not only is this a lower turnout than the most recent comparable election in 2005 (56.7% turnout), but it’s even a lower raw number of voters! In 2005 6,831 voted, but in 2009 just 6,823 people voted, despite the fact that every single registered voter was mailed a ballot that they just had to fill out and drop in the mail (or drive down to Lake Forest Park). Pitiful!

But enough about that. Let’s abruptly change the subject.

I spotted this home somewhere up on the hill between 61st and 68th. It intrigued me.

Check out that Kenmore Pride

Yes, that’s a City of Kenmore flag flying in front of that home. Where can you even buy a City of Kenmore flag?

Clearly this is someone that has a lot more allegiance to Kenmore than the average bear. I bet they voted.

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Don’t Forget to Vote!

Kenmore's BallotDon’t forget: Tuesday is “Election Day” (a.k.a. – mail your ballot day).

Here in Kenmore three of our seven city council positions are up for election this year. In the primary, only 29.4% of Kenmore’s registered voters bothered to return their ballots. Flip that around: that means that over 70% of voters in Kenmore did not vote in the primary. I have to say, that is pretty pitiful, especially considering how easy it is to vote now that we have been forcibly switched to an all-mail system.

I’m not interested in making “recommendations” that allow you to abdicate your civic responsibility to make your own informed decision, but I will do what I can to help you get to that point for yourself. In order to help you make an informed decision on the two contested races for Kenmore City Council, here is a collection of relevant links.

Don’t forget that there is also a convenient King County ballot drop box located outside the lower entrance to Third Place Books just down the street in Lake Forest Park.

You have no excuse not to vote other than sheer laziness.

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City Councilmember Laurie Sperry Responds to Our Questions

Laurie SperryAfter earlier declining our invitation, Laurie Sperry, current councilmember running for reelection to Kenmore City Council position #2 (campaign website), has a change of heart and sent over answers to our questionnaire after all. Following are her unedited answers.

  1. Why are you running for Kenmore City Council?

    I am seeking re-election because I feel that we as a city are in the midst of a wonderful revitalization, and I would like to continue to use the experience I have gained as a councilwoman to help guide the city through this important time of transition.

  2. What will be your top priority should you be elected to this position?

    I will continue to focus my efforts on revitalizing “downtown” Kenmore in an affordable, environmentally friendly manner. I also am committed to preserving parks, trails and open space in Kenmore and protecting the character of our single family neighborhoods.

  3. What is your favorite thing about Kenmore?

    My favorite thing about Kenmore is our location near Lake Washington. We are so fortunate to have parks and trails to enjoy the natural beauty around us.

  4. What is your least favorite thing about Kenmore?

    My least favorite thing about Kenmore is the traffic during the SR522 improvements.

  5. Arrange these nearby cities in order from your favorite to your least favorite: Woodinville, Shoreline, Bothell, Kirkland, Brier.

    Kenmore’s elected officials work together with our neighboring cities on regional issues. Kenmore also shares a public works crew with Lake Forest Park. I will leave the rating of neighboring cities to others.

  6. What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing Kenmore in the next 5 years?

    The biggest challenge in the next 5 years will be balancing the needs, wants and desires of the community with the financial resources available.

  7. What’s your favorite restaurant in Kenmore?

    I do not have a particular favorite restaurant in Kenmore. I am excited to see new eateries like the Butcher Shop Café open on Juanita drive.

  8. Why should voters select you over your opponent?

    I have almost four years of experience on the Kenmore City Council. I have a proven record of accomplishments as a councilmember.

    On the council, I’ve worked hard to preserve Kenmore’s environment and quality of life by improving parks, trails and open space and protecting the character of our single family neighborhoods through height and infill restrictions. I’ve encouraged citizen communication through a new city website, publishing Kenmore Blog.net and meeting with citizens. I’m committed to Kenmore’s continued economic health and prosperity by being fiscally responsible and attracting new stores and businesses to the city. I serve as Kenmore’s representative on the WRI8 Salmon Recovery Council, Northshore Parks and Recreation Service Area, and Kenmore Library Advisory Board.

    Please visit my campaign website: http://lauriesperry.com/ If you have any questions or concerns feel free to contact me by email at laurie@lauriesperry.com or by phone: (206) 817-2260. I look forward to hearing from you.

We appreciate Laurie’s reconsideration. Thanks for joining us, Laurie.

Patrick O’Brien is now the only candidate I have not yet gotten any response from. Hopefully he sends us something soon, so our collection can be a complete guide to Kenmore’s upcoming City Council elections.

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City Council Candidate Bob Hensel Responds to Our Questions

Bob HenselBob Hensel, candidate for Kenmore City Council (email: hen5599@comcast.net), has responded to our questionnaire. Following are his unedited answers. Bob is running unopposed for position #4, which is being vacated by Councilmember Randy Eastwood.

  1. Why are you running for Kenmore City Council?

    I am running for Kenmore City Council because I believe in public service and giving back to the community in which you live. In the past I have given back to my community as a soccer coach, leader of the YMCA Indian guides, treasurer of the PTA, auctioneer (pro bono) for local charity events, head of an ad-hoc citizens group, Kenmore city council member, and most recently Chair of the City of Kenmore Economic Development Advisory Committee.

  2. What will be your top priority should you be elected to this position?

    My top priority if elected will be economic development. The economic development advisory committee recently presented an action plan with goals and strategies to the city council. The plan includes both short term and long term goals and strategies and was accepted unanimously by the city council. Current economic conditions are difficult at best but by planing now we will be ready to take advantage of the recovery when it happens and I wish to be part of that effort.

  3. What is your favorite thing about Kenmore?

    My favorite thing about Kenmore is its people. Their diversity, knowledge, and passion for their causes and the city make Kenmore a truly wonderful place to live.

  4. What is your least favorite thing about Kenmore?

    Right now my least favorite thing about Kenmore is the construction on 522. I just keep telling myself be patient because when it is finished traffic will improve access to local businesses will improve and Kenmore will look a lot better.

  5. Arrange these nearby cities in order from your favorite to your least favorite: Woodinville, Shoreline, Bothell, Kirkland, Brier.

    Rather than rate these cities because they are all good, if elected I would like to talk with the elected officials from these cities and ask them what they think is the best part of their city, Then I would like to ask them what policies and procedures they put in place to make their city better. We can learn from their experiences to help make our city better.

  6. What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing Kenmore in the next 5 years?

    The biggest challenge facing Kenmore is the economic down turn and how we handle it as a city. The down turn is effecting our ability to complete the downtown plan, construct local infrastructure improvements, and obtain funding from other government agencies to improve our city.

  7. What’s your favorite restaurant in Kenmore?

    I do not have a favorite restaurant in Kenmore. Our family visits as many restaurants in Kenmore as we can because it is important to support all the businesses in Kenmore.

  8. Why should voters select you over your opponents?

    Currently I have no opponent. However, as previously stated I believe in public service and the idea that a job worth doing is worth doing well. The learning curve for a council member is steep but I will study and do my best to learn the issues that affect our city. I will listen to everyone in our community to learn and understand their concerns. However, listening does not mean I may come to the same conclusion on the issues at hand. I will commit myself to making Kenmore a better community for everyone now and into the future.

I’d like to thank Bob for participating even though he does not have an opponent in November. Kenmore voters have no practical choice but to elect him, and yet he was still happy to reach out to the community in this online public forum. Kudos.

I have now received some a response from all but one of the folks running for Kenmore City Council in the upcoming election. This includes a change of heart from Laurie Sperry, who decided to participate after all. I will post her responses on Thursday, and will attempt to send another email to Patrick O’Brien this week in case my first message did not go through.

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City Councilmember Allan Van Ness Responds to Our Questions

Allan Van NessAllan Van Ness, current councilmember running for reelection to Kenmore City Council position #6 (campaign website), has responded to our questionnaire. Following are his unedited answers.

  1. Why are you running for Kenmore City Council?

    It has been an honor to serve the Citizens of Kenmore on the City Council. After years of planning, improvements are being implemented. We are completing the first phases of SR522 improvements, and our new City Hall is underway. We need more park improvements, more sidewalks and better flood control. The downtown revitalization is on hold due to the national economic problems, but ready to go once things turn around. We’ve just begun. I hope to continue being a part of the civic process and seeing to completion the many plans that are underway.

  2. What will be your top priority should you be elected to this position?

    My top priorities in Kenmore: continuing to improve our parks, improve the traffic flow, citizen access to a green waterfront, revitalization of downtown, etc.

  3. What is your favorite thing about Kenmore?

    My favorite “thing” about Kenmore is the citizens who make our city one of the “Ten Best Towns for Families” in the country. Kenmore is a great city in which to live, play, raise a family and to retire, and it is getting better.

  4. What is your least favorite thing about Kenmore?

    The industrial waterfront, except for the marinas and air harbor.

  5. Arrange these nearby cities in order from your favorite to your least favorite: Woodinville, Shoreline, Bothell, Kirkland, Brier.

    I’d add Lake Forest Park to the list. I don’t think it is appropriate to rank them. They all have their assets and all six are great neighbors.

  6. What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing Kenmore in the next 5 years?

    The biggest challenge will be to obtain funding for all the projects we would like to complete. Hopefully we can continue to progress without an increase in property taxes. The City has not raised property taxes for the last five years.

  7. What’s your favorite restaurant in Kenmore?

    They are all my favorites. We have a good selection of the Asian restaurants and Teos and Mazatlan are good. However, I would like to see some additional moderately priced restaurants like Anthony’s, Olive Garden, Marie Callender’s, etc.

  8. Why should voters select you over your opponents?

    As your Councilmember, I’ve worked to upgrade our parks, pass a critical areas ordinance, establish infill and height regulations, improve safety and traffic on SR-522, and ensure that the new City Hall is environmentally friendly and affordable.

    I’m running for reelection to see to completion the revitalization of Kenmore. I envision a vibrant mixed-use community that’s easy to access and pedestrian friendly while maintaining single-family neighborhoods. As development proceeds, we must safeguard our environmental resources. Our parks are a rich asset that we must improve for all ages and interests.

    City projects must be accomplished with fiscal responsibility, transparency, and citizen participation. My goal is for Kenmore to remain affordable without increasing the tax burden.

    With four years experience on the Council and regional committees, I’ve gained the skills and knowledge to best serve our city. I’m excited about Kenmore’s future and humbly request your continued trust, support and vote.

    For more detailed information on the above and other subjects please go to: www.vannessforcouncil.com, and/or contact me by email or phone: allan@vannessforcouncil.com, (425) 398-1040

Thanks for joining in the discussion, Allan. I requested short answers from the candidates to my questions in order to keep these posts from being too long, but if you would like to read more about where Allan stands on local issues, be sure to check out his campaign website, where he has written up his thoughts on just about any local issue you can think of.

FYI, I have also sent a request to Patrick O’Brien, Allan’s November opponent for position #6, but have not yet received a reply (however, he has responded to a similar request over at James Lupori’s “Kenmore Undressed”).

P.S. – Allan had one more issue that he wanted to speak on: council / citizen communications. Here are his thoughts on this.

The Council has recently added a town hall meeting format to the first regular council meeting of each quarter. This is a big step toward better communication with the citizens, however I think we can do a better job publicizing these meetings. I’d like to see more opportunities for two way discussions between the Council and the citizens. To that end I have proposed additional meetings dedicated to the town hall meeting format that are well publicized and hopefully better attended.

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