Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Eugene Zakhareyev, Council Candidate Position 4

Eugene Zakharevev

Balance Urban Growth
The Eastside is growing, and Redmond must accept its share of growth. Yet, this growth does not have to change our city into Seattle. In the last few years, we have seen family businesses in Downtown Redmond give way to rental apartment buildings; the majority of capital investment projects are also located it this area. The cost of Downtown two-way conversion project is over $20 million, total cost for the two-acre park in Downtown Redmond is over $40 million - but all the while, the needs of our city are not limited to Downtown and Overlake neighborhoods.

It is time to review current policies to balance development in designated urban centers with the needs of other neighborhoods, as we all are affected by growth in Downtown and Overlake. We need a proactive approach to address traffic congestion and population growth across the city, with solutions implemented before the approval process of development projects and not afterwards.

Empower Community in Land Use Development

The city staff works for all city residents, and the citizens should not require an attorney for fair land use decisions. We can implement inclusive processes that let the residents influence the city growth directions.
Community involvement was a recurring theme during the last mayoral election, yet current city processes still put the residents at a distinct disadvantage when participating in planning decisions. The community’s feedback is garnered late in the process when the projects are well under way and the developers are at no obligation to address it. City Council members are instrumental in ensuring the residents are properly represented in city planning and when elected, I will make it my foremost priority.

Support Small Local Businesses
Our city is home to many multi-billion-dollar corporations, yet many of our city’s small local businesses are experiencing more than just growing pains. With recent development in urban centers, smaller local businesses are finding themselves moving out of Redmond or closing altogether, especially with lease prices are on the rise. There are ways to support existing local businesses during urban change. Small local businesses are vital to the city’s character, and need our support during rapid urban growth.

Invest into smart traffic planning and monitoring
Today our transportation planning is reactive, and frequently it takes years for improvements to be implemented. When new developments are complete, we do not verify the assumptions made during its approval as well as cumulative effects of multiple projects. 
Using today's technology, we can implement real time monitoring solutions for major arterials. That way we can review our traffic forecasts on time and adjust our planning as needed.

Fiscal Responsibility and Accountability
The City of Redmond budget is driven by priorities identified via public survey. For the 2015-2016 budget, the residents identified parks and green spaces, transportation and emergency services as major budgeting priorities. And yet, in 2015 the city ran multi-million-dollar levy propositions for parks and public services. The propositions failed, but the proposed community center construction may well be the target of the future levy. Our city budget priorities should not be based on levies; we can budget for future capital investment projects without tax increases and bonds.

-- Eugene Z.

WEBSITE:  Eugene Zakhareev, Position 4


Anonymous said...


Thanks for sharing the information! I'd be happy to talk about those here, on my website at www.EugeneForRedmond.us or on FB www.fb.me/EugeneForRedmond.


Council Candidate Eugene Z said...

Did you get out of the house today? If you did, it will be a safe bet that you spent at least some time in traffic (and yes, that includes riding a bus - you still sit in traffic).

Spending time that way is certainly not a desirable outcome for most. No wonder that traffic is #1 issue in local elections this season - in Redmond, Sammamish, Kirkland and everywhere on Eastside.

In Redmond, our elected leaders like to blame surrounding cities, the county or the state for the cars on our roads. While this is certainly a factor, thousands of new apartments being built in our city no doubt contribute to traffic spilling out of urban growth areas.
Instead of accepting the facts and addressing the issue, our city downplays the impacts; and when pressed for answers, the administration tells us that light rail coming "real soon" will alleviate the growth pains.

As a community, our residents are the best judges of how well we as a city handle transportation infrastructure. When your commute time doubles in five years, you don't need traffic engineer to tell you the problem exists. The changes to 166th Street on Education Hill is a good example of the city forcing a solution on the community; the solution was not optimal, based on years old data and yet we are not getting the community involved in resolving the issues; instead, the city is engaged in proving to the residents that their commute is actually getting better.

I have lived first half of my life in urban centers. And surely I'd prefer taking public transit over driving, however true multi-modal transportation requires more than light rail. How would the residents of North Redmond benefit from light rail station Downtown, if the bus service is sketchy and park-and-ride capacity is not sufficient? Like it or not, cars still the main transportation choice for many of our existing residents.
As a Redmond resident, I feel that Redmond of today excels at building rental apartments fast. Transportation infrastructure severely lags behind, and relies on somewhat religious belief in light rail solving everything.

As a candidate, I believe that we can work towards improving our quality of life and spend less time in traffic, starting locally and working with our neighbors to improve the global picture. Light rail is an important component, but cannot be the only solution we entertain.

Most importantly, we need to require concurrency of new developments with transportation infrastructure demands. Simply put, if new building adversely affects levels of service on adjacent roads, the impacts will have to be mitigated today. The parking also has to fulfill the needs of today, not the far future. And that requires flexing our engineering muscle to guide the projects. Transportation engineering is an engineering discipline, the effects can be predicted and once the projects are built, the impacts can be measured to ensure they are aligned with initial assumptions.

We can set up realistic metrics for throughput, levels of service and commute times and ensure that our growth is mitigated within those limits. Our city hosts multiple hi-tech businesses, and yet we still rely on decades old practices when measuring traffic. We need to invest into modern, real-time traffic monitoring systems so we do not have to rely on years old data in decision making.

And lastly, there is the question of financing. Planning for additional capacity on our streets should be integral part of growth, and part of our budgeting. We may need to be more frugal with our spending on "signature" projects, and ensure that development impact fees are sufficient and go toward mitigation of transportation impacts.

Redmond is not the first city in the world to encounter traffic as a consequence of optimistically planned growth. We need to stop postponing the needs of existing residents and get current on our transportation infrastructure investments. Ultimately, both new and existing residents will become hostages of our lagging infrastructure if we do not get real about it now.

Council Candidate Eugene Z said...

In continuing with recreational pot stores conversation, let me make my position clear regarding safe injection sites.

In 2016 King County Board of Health has voted to establish two safe injection sites in King County. Later this year, King County Council voted to place the sites only in the cities where they are supported. Thus far, many cities in King County voted against locating such injection site in their boundaries; our city did not issue any resolutions so far.
Safe injection site is the location where heroin users can inject their drugs (**not** provided by the staff) safely; that is without fear of apprehension by police and under medical supervision, so the assistance can be rendered in case of overdose.

I did not follow the topic too closely and by no means am an expert on drug addiction and treatment, but I wanted to discuss that a bit from a personal experience. When I was in my teens, hard drugs become widely used in post-Soviet Russia. Following break-up of USSR in 90s, many of my friends found drugs a very attractive alternative to uncertainties of everyday life. Couple of things I learned from the experience seem to be pertinent in context of heroin injection sites.

Firstly, when a person is addicted, he/she does not look for a treatment; all they look for is the next fix. Logic and persuasion do not work, and only cases where the addicts went for treatment were the cases where they were forced to. Same goes for remission after the treatment - it may require even more work as this period lasts for much longer than the treatment.

Secondly, drug addiction changes the person's perspective on what's important. Hygiene and common sense cease to exist, and even food becomes somewhat optional. The whole existence starts to get centered around getting next dose of a drug, and means of getting it become immaterial (which back in 90s led to wave of drug-related crime).

How this is germane to proposed heroin injection sites? The stated goal of the sites is to save lives; but a drug addict getting no treatment is not going to beat the affliction. And the schemas to introduce the addicts to treatment at the site are not clear; it is not clear what persuasion the staff can use to convince grown adults to undertake long, painful treatment when alternative (a dose of drug) is readily available.

And unless the site is not located right next to the drug dispensary why would one travel? What could the injection sites offer to someone who must have next injection right now and right then?

I heard the motto "we have to do something now" applied to the problem at hand, which is spreading use of heroine. But doing "something" that is not helping is worse than doing naught, as it creates that false smugness and feeling of achievement where there is none.
Every person with addiction needs help. However, the heroin injection sites will not help in establishing treatment, whereas education and treatment are the only ways to address the issue. Two proposed injection sites in King County will not amount to "something" in weaning people off heroin.

It is a shame that the most coverage the measure gets is in context of initiative to ban the sites in King County and the lawsuit to throw the initiative out. As a resident and a voter of the King County, I would have expected the elected leadership to engage the citizens before enacting the measure.

And it is also important to have that discussion locally. Few days ago, our mayor issued a statement on FB and Twitter, calling the issue a "phony topic" and saying that the city is not considering the site in Redmond at all.

Perhaps I am naive, but I have expected our City Council to consider and discuss that topic in a public meeting, including the reasons to allow or ban injection sites in Redmond. A clear resolution from the body representing the residents would be much preferable to a Twitter from the mayor.

The problem does exist and is real. And we need real measures to address it that have buy-in from the voters.