Redmond City Council candidates, from left to right, Steve Fields, Osama Hamdan, Tanika Padhye and Eugene Zakhareyev, along with other candidates, participated in a forum at the First Baptist Church last Thursday. Aaron Kunkler/Redmond Reporter

Redmond City Council candidates discuss homelessness, growth management and more at forum

Redmond City Council candidates for positions 2, 4 and 6 attended a forum on July 6 at the First Baptist Church.

The forum was held by the Education Hill Neighborhood Association and saw the candidates discuss topics ranging from homelessness to growth management.

Steve Fields and Osama Hamdan are running for position 2.

Fields said he brings years of experience in local government at an executive level and he previously campaigned for mayor two years ago.

Hamdan said he would like to bring a holistic approach to dealing with problems the city is facing.

Tanika Padhye is running to defend her position 4 seat, which she was appointed to earlier this year to fill a vacancy and is running against Eugene Zakhareyev, who said he would like to focus on issues that affect locals in Redmond.

Roy Captain and Jeralee Anderson and Jason Antonelli are all running for the position 6 city council seat.

Captain sits on the city’s planning commission and is the vice chair. He said he hopes to be a part of regional solutions for problems that affect Redmond and neighboring communities.

Anderson is the founder of Greenroads, a foundation that advances sustainability for transportation projects. She is an engineer and said she is a problem solver.

Antonelli got involved after becoming dissatisfied with the quality of life in the city over the past few years.

When asked what some of the positive and negative trends they saw in the city were, Antonelli said he liked the high-density neighborhoods and transit-oriented developments he was seeing in the Overlake neighborhood.

He was more skeptical on how these developments were being implemented in the downtown core as he said construction has stretched on for too long.

Anderson said she likes Redmond’s commitment to sustainability and that Redmond receives recognition from the outside often.

Captain said that the fact Redmond attracts people from outside the city is good, but that transition and construction can be a pain for residents. He also said multi-use buildings are a way to reduce transporation loads on roads and that the coming light rail development in 2023 will also help.

Zakhareyev said that he sees a disconnect between residents and the city government. He was also somewhat skeptical of the light rail, questioning how many residents would actually use it to commute.

He said the best trend in the city is its people and diversity.

Padhye said the biggest problem she sees is a lack of affordable housing and would like to see more diverse options and housing at different price points.

She also would like to work on developing more partnerships with groups like A Regional Coalition on Housing, which advocates housing for low-income people.

Overall, Hamden said he likes the direction the city is going but had some adjustments he would like to see.

Fields said the city does not respond to residents’ concerns and said the quality of life has been declining. He said the city needs a strategic plan that identifies a broader array of quality-of-life issues.

On affordable housing, Fields said homelessness and housing affordability are linked and that a comprehensive solution has to address both.

“This, I think, is one of the key issues of today,” he said.

It was an idea that was echoed by the other candidates, who suggested a wide range of solutions such as creating incentives for developers to make more affordable housing, figuring out how to work with high land prices, and opening other styles of housing such as more units and cottage-style homes.

The Reporter will follow up with the candidates and run individual profiles in coming issues.