The Reporter sits down with Pos. 5 candidates | Part 2 of series

The Kirkland Reporter sat down with all three candidates for City Council Position No. 5

The Kirkland Reporter sat down with all three candidates for City Council Position No. 5 for a Q&A concerning issues that surround the council. This is the second of a three-part series.

Where do you stand on development in Kirkland?

Tennyson: I support development in Kirkland. If you don’t support it, Kirkland will die economically. So we need to have development, but we just need to have assurity in what is developed and how it’s developed.

As part of the Planning Commission, I worked on a lot of zoning codes that allowed development and we were generous on Totem Lake Mall, to make that so that it could support redevelopment, though they never did it. We also did the 85th Street Corridor zoning and tried to add as many incentives into that to spark redevelopment on 85th Street.

I know downtown has been everybody’s topic, but we have other businesses in Kirkland that produce a lot more than downtown and are capable of producing a lot more than downtown and I would like to focus on those areas and get those to redevelop get them to be even better engines than they are now. Even Totem Lake, as broken as it is, still does over 30 percent of the city’s revenue and little 85th Street, which is not glamorous by any means, does almost 20 percent.

Walen: Development in Kirkland has been a really hot issue. I think I come at it with a different perspective than my opponents cause I don’t have a planning background. I respect them very much and the work they have done on those boards. But there are some other people on the council that have that background. I think we need to focus on redeveloping Totem Lake and make heroic measures to get something going at Totem Lake to create an economic engine for our town. People need to be able to work, shop, go to school, everything they want to do in their life. We need to make it happen in Kirkland. And we need to make their kids want to live in Kirkland, too. So, a beautiful mall at Totem Lake, like University Village style, but with affordable housing up above. Bike paths connecting to the hospital buildings. It would be great for seniors, close to medical. People who work in the medical field could live there. I see that as our biggest opportunity for development, but downtown needs to be developed too. It is just so sensitive right now. But since we have focused on developing the downtown and fighting over that, we’ve let some bad things happen to our budget.

Gregory: That is kind of a general question. There is residential development. I think it needs to continue to happen. There is still an affordability issue. We still have a problem with being able to house the people who are in the service industries — the city, the hospital, food service, teaching. We need more housing development.

In terms of retail development, we’re way behind. People don’t shop in Kirkland, they go outside. For certain specialty things they do. But I go up to Woodinville for many things or even Redmond or Issaquah or Bellevue because there are necessarily the right type of stores. Totem Lake is right for development, we just approved a project (Parkplace) downtown for development and it is retail. And that needs to happen.

Office development: This is a pendulum, it swings back and forth with the market. Maybe a year ago you would have heard there isn’t enough. Not enough critical mass in terms of office space for some of these firms to have a big enough space. They are waiting for a project like the one downtown so that they can house all of their people. Then on the other hand the economy takes a dive. Something like Google they build that big building and don’t even occupy the whole thing. So now it is the opposite and people aren’t willing to jump. Development is always going to swing. But we have areas that can develop and can accommodate our needs and it depends on our economy.

What do you think of your opponents and why are you a better choice?

Tennyson: I’m the only one that comes with neighborhood experience. Matt and I have been on the Planning Commission together. I like Matt a lot; I like Amy, she’s very nice. There’s really been no acrimony in the campaign so far.

Walen: I respect people who seek public service. These folks have been incredibly active in their community. Not only have they had successful careers but they have been community activists, neighborhood activists, involved on boards and commissions and I have nothing but respect for them. What is different about me is that I am relatively new and I have a fresh perspective. I can come in and look at things with a fresh perspective and a fresh approach. I am a leader and a team builder. I am a proven commodity as far as that goes and I think that is what the city needs right now.

Gregory: I have know Karen since she came to Kirkland, we used to workout at Bailey’s together. Used to see each other at the gym. I have served on the Planning Commission with her. Amy, I know very little about except the two times when I have met her, what I have read and what I have heard people describe. She hasn’t been in Kirkland very long. She doesn’t have the board and commission work. She has a little bit of volunteer work. She brings some legal and financial management with her business. But in terms of the assets they have, I have the same ones and beyond. I ran my own business, two, one downtown and one at Totem Lake with a partner. I was the treasurer for my downtown firm and a half-a-million dollar business. I have been involved with neighborhoods, projects, one was the remodel of Juanita High School and Kamiakin in the annexation area. Like Mary Alyce-Burleigh and Doug Eglington with the School District all three of us were Vista volunteers with Americore back in the 1970s. And I think we have some unique training and background. I have lived in Bridal Trails and Norkirk I have had businesses in downtown and Totem Lake, I worship in North Rose Hill so I have a large involvement all around the city. I have been involved with the public sector not only as a school district person but I did k-12 work for full-time 14 years and part-time another six, which has multimillion dollar budgets, strict schedules and all that work was done one time, one schedule, on budget. I know how to do a budget and stick to it.

Kirkland Reporter Editor Carrie Wood contributed to this report.