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Meet your Kirkland Council candidate M. Larry McKinney
After Bob Sternoff resigned from his Position 2 seat on the Kirkland City Council in March, the council was forced to make a quick decision to appoint a new council member by April 16.
M. Larry McKinney is one of 17 candidates vying for the seat.
Background: McKinney has lived in Kirkland for three years. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science and a Masters of Business Administration from Seattle Pacific University.
Experience: McKinney is currently an information technology leader with X-Factor Consulting in Kirkland.
He was also an electrician’s mate at the Naval Nuclear Power Command in Orlando, Fla.
Reason for running: McKinney said he has a “desire to make a difference and believe my skills, experience, and aptitude will mesh well with the council and its role,” according to his application. “I am passionate about working through tough problems and finding solutions, compromises, or alternatives that provide the highest level of satisfaction to the greatest number of people.”
He added he believes the council’s role is to serve the people, businesses, and environment of Kirkland by acting as its steward locally and champion regionally.
“I feel that Kirkland is leading the way as far as cities go and would like to be part of the team that sets the standard for other cities to follow,” he added.
Top issues facing the city: He said the biggest issue facing the city is the council’s preparation for the Comprehensive Plan, while still acting on Private Amendment Requests (PARs). He said the council must balance the need to review PARs with the Comprehensive Plan review to maximize efficiency for city staff.
“While there is a need to review PARs and continue to afford its citizens this opportunity, there is an impending Comprehensive Plan review, which will include the review of all zoning codes,” said McKinney on his application. “I would strongly encourage the reviews of PARs to be tabled until the Comprehensive Plan is completed, provided there are no extraordinary circumstances surrounding the PARs.”
He said the council also faces many transportation issues and has a limited source of funding to address those issues. From the Cross Kirkland Corridor to the ongoing street improvement projects around 85th and 124th streets, “the council must judiciously apply the resources to accommodate the safety of children, the thoroughfares throughout the city, and the feasibility of increased mass transit while decreasing single occupancy vehicles,” he said, noting the council should use the Transportation Planning Committee’s recommendations to deliberate on an action plan.
He said the city should prioritize fixing existing crosswalks in disrepair, sidewalks that need maintenance, street maintenance, as well as traffic light timing issues and current congestion areas.
He said as a council member, he would also include all neighborhoods - especially the newly annexed neighborhoods of Finn Hill, Juanita and Evergreen Hill (formerly Kingsgate) - in the Comprehensive Plan process.
“Many neighborhoods in Kirkland feel that it has been too long since they have had a plan review,” he said. “They feel left out of the process and desperately would like to participate. While they are included to some degree in the process already, most neighborhoods would like to do more.”
He said he would leverage the willingness of the neighborhoods to participate in the planning process by creating a neighborhood committee or commission, which would include one member from each of the neighborhoods.