Steve Fields, Position 2, "Build Community, not Just Buildings"
Promote a Smart and Sharing City
Our quality of life is good, but as we’ve grown, we’ve been steadily losing ground. Residents have been regularly asked to dig a little deeper to help pay for new parks and new amenities to keep up, but we continuously fall further and further behind while growth happens and developers determine what the look and feel of Redmond is going to be. We should not be a city in retreat. We must turn that around immediately! Our success as a city brings great benefits, also, great challenges. As a former Redmond official said to me recently, “Redmond’s focus over the past five years has been on quantity not quality. The massive downtown buildings lack a creative, innovative architecture design. Getting around Redmond in any mode is stressful. Our open spaces have disappeared.”
We can choose to be smarter and do a better job of managing our growth. This begins with reevaluating how we make our decisions and improve our current approaches and methods to be more inclusive and more comprehensive. Our best city planning resources are the people who live and work in Redmond. If elected, I will be an advocate for community involvement in determining what our city will look like and what amenities we will insist on.
Plan Growth with Innovative Ideas
Our current growth management approach has resulted in unnecessary traffic congestion, urban streets that are difficult for all modes of transportation, and a growing feeling that the worst is still ahead. Our downtown is overwhelmed by unattractive buildings that are poorly placed. We are constantly playing catch-up with infrastructure investment that is sorely needed. Worse yet, we have invested a fortune in the infrastructure currently in place, but we have not budgeted responsibly to maintain it.
Our buildings, streets, public gathering places should be placed to enhance our everyday lives and the beauty of our built and natural environment. We should not be stuck in traffic congestion every time we want to get somewhere. Our city government should be innovative, creative and thoughtful. We need to take the time to plan and understand what is best not just do what is quick and easy. I will ensure that Redmond uses the most advanced analytical tools and information to plan our growth with innovative ideas.
Cities are for People
Our urban centers should make people feel invited, safe and secure. Our public spaces should be fun and convenient for people to gather and strengthen and express our values of diversity and a sense of belonging. Our streets, sidewalks, parking areas, and curb space should be built for people to easily get around town, whether they are drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, or users of public or hired transportation. Innovative design is needed as new travel modes and technologies change. This did not happen in Redmond during our recent chaotic and very rapid growth and that is a clear, missed opportunity. But with new leadership we can begin to fix the problems that have been created. It is not too late to make Redmond a City for People. Let’s not miss any more opportunities!
Listen and Engage
Reach out to all Neighbors
I will be the type of elected leader who connects with the community before big decisions are made, because that’s the job of a council. If council members are not communicating with you, how can we represent you? I knocked on more than 5000 doors during my recent mayor campaign. Spirited conversations with people at their doorsteps greatly broadened my understanding of our resident’s needs. Proactive engagement between the government and the citizens is at the heart of a democratic society. Doorbelling should not stop just because the campaign season is over!
Make it Easy for all to Participate
We must make it easy for people to participate with city government decisions. I will encourage frequent community outreach meetings where key city staff can join council to listen to citizens in their neighborhoods. I will encourage an increase in community matching grants and encourage neighborhood groups to write and submit budget proposals for consideration. I firmly believe the wisdom of the many is greater than the knowledge of the few.
Earn Trust Through Accountability
People deserve to know how things are going and why changes are being made. I will insist that comprehensive and genuine community indicators measure results, not just activities. And that this information is continuously provided to citizens in a format that can be understood and trusted.
Redmond City Government MUST immediately take actions to improve our capability to move in and around our city centers and neighborhoods. We are growing past our capacity to handle the impact of traffic congestion with the current infrastructure and transit capabilities. This is an immediate priority. Our prosperity, health, and well-being greatly depends on the effort and time it takes to get to all those places that make our everyday lives enjoyable and successful.
Our downtown areas are very fragmented. We need to improve our spatial planning and make typical trips more convenient and less spread out.
There are also things we can do immediately to make things better such as investment in information technology to inform commuters on real-time traffic issues and placing better visual cues for drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians to improve traffic flow.
The lack of affordable housing has high costs in health, environmental degradation, transportation, and homelessness. Our goals should be to ensure a strong, mixed-income, diverse community that is economically viable and will support the housing needs for everyone who lives or wants to live here. All potential ways to close the affordability gaps should be considered. Some of these ideas may not have been desirable in the past such as mixed housing across our neighborhoods, public funding and subsidies, or partnering with large employers. But the consequences of not addressing this issue aggressively are too significant to ignore.
Homelessness is a regional issue that will require combined leadership across all levels of government, non-government agencies and businesses to find the locations and services to get people off our streets. The people who live in our community without homes require a variety of different services working together to meet these needs.
Just the availability of a shower and breakfast is the chance to begin a new life. Day centers are a relatively inexpensive way to help those who want a better chance for a new start each day. We need to improve our partnerships with regional jurisdictions and our local charities to further our outreach to people who need help. One of my favorite Redmond non-profits is Open Kitchen. The model and values they use makes everyone feel welcome to share a meal. Dignity is an important element to help people change their lives and their circumstances.
I am a small business owner in Redmond and I am proud of the contributions we make to our city. Small businesses spur growth and innovation, provide employment opportunities, and attract the talent who brings new ideas and new products to the market. They are important to our local economy and create much of our character, charm and unique identity. While it’s exciting to see new business come to Redmond, it’s also sad to see some of the small businesses we have enjoyed over the years get squeezed out. I believe that we can do a better job supporting both and I will champion the needs for small businesses and insist on a stronger focus on the needs of small businesses.
The increase in our crime rate is primarily property crime and fraud. Both types of crime can be reduced by increasing awareness of how these crimes are committed and provide educational outreach on crime prevention methods. For example, bank account or computer fraud can be reduced through outreach programs that educate citizens and help them to be aware of typical scams.
Drug addiction continues to sky rocket in all Western Washington communities and has resulted in large increases in property crime. Redmond needs to better understand the cause and effect relationships of property crime to drug use and identify where preventative methods will work best.
Ensuring that there are enough officers with the latest technology and equipment in our police department is essential to both preventing and solving crimes. Redmond is a relatively safe community but the growing property crime is just not acceptable.