With city council elections over, I would like to thank Redmond citizens for being active and voting. Having competitive elections is essential to proper operation of the city government.
I am a political newbie, so it was not entirely clear to me whether the candidate is to concentrate on frequenting city functions, getting messages across via paid advertising or going door to door. I decided on making doorbelling a central piece of my campaign and walked most areas of our city, from Bellevue to Woodinville to the border with Kirkland. Not only that did wonders to my physical health but also allowed me to gain more perspective on what’s important to our community. I found that many Redmond residents are keenly interested in city planning, how budget money is spent or how transportation improvements are designed. And yet many felt that the city public outreach is perfunctory and does not go beyond formal requirements.
The inclusion of the residents into the city planning, and making planning truly a community activity, is of utmost importance to me. This is something that continues to be missing in our neighborhood of Overlake and other parts of the city, and is the ultimate reason that caused me to run for the city council.
On election night of Nov. 7, the city council held a public hearing to obtain a testimony on three separate topics — with virtually no public present. And the topics for discussion ranged from a six-year transportation improvement plan to a Capstone development zoning change, potentially affecting thousands of residents of our city in the next few years.
Unfortunately, this is representative of how business is conducted at our city council, and that needs to change. Our community can deal with most anything — urban growth pains, traffic issues and housing affordability, but any plans that the city makes need buy-in from the residents of Redmond and there are more than 60,000 of us. Public hearings with no public should become a thing of the past.
I would like to wish best of luck to our newly elected council members Jeralee Anderson, Steve Fields and Tanika Padhye. Here is to hope that their work will ensure the community is included in the future vision of Redmond.