Editor’s Note: This is Part 2 of a three part in-paper Enumclaw mayoral debate between Jan Molinaro and Kim Lauk. Both are first time candidates for mayor. The incumbent, Mayor Liz Reynolds, chose not to seek a third term. Lauk and Molinaro are current members of the City Council. You can read Part 1 here.
Rebuttal Part 1, Question No. 1
Give an overview of your qualifications to be the mayor of Enumclaw and why you are the best candidate to lead the executive branch for the next four years.
A team effort in obtaining the $300,000 funding for the Hwy 410 study was successful when in January 2017, three Enumclaw City Council members, of which I was one, and one person from city administration all went to Olympia to lobby District 31 legislators, Washington Department of Transportation officials and Transportation Committee Chairpersons for support. The driving forces were 31st District state Sen. (Phil) Fortunato and state Rep. (Morgan) Irwin who shepherded this bill through the budget process and were able to get approval from Chair Clibborn and Senate Chair King in keeping the funding in the state budget.
After the Hwy 410 study has been completed and analyzed, it will provide guidance on suggested remedies to be taken in alleviating this build up of traffic through state assistance. The long term solution will involve many government officials.
Rebuttal Part 1, Question No. 2
Many of the cities surrounding Enumclaw are experiencing large residential developments. How should the city of Enumclaw view residential development over the next four years? Specifically how should a city encourage or discourage development with consideration given to the Growth Management Act?
One responsibility of a council member is to minimize legal liability for our city. When making decisions the issue must be studied. When someone has followed city codes and makes a request to council, members need to consider; could this become a legal issue for the city? This permit did not expire or it would have not been scheduled on the council’s agenda. Council acted per City Code, “body charged with granting the permit may extend the date of permit expiration” EMC section 15.30.060(C).
Additionally, these development ordinances were approved by all seven City Council members since January 2016: Plateau Estates Ordinance # 2581, Liberty Meadows Ordinance # 1565, Person Plat Ordinance #2611. No transportation concerns with these developments?
Rebuttal Part 1, Question No. 3
Tourism has been raised as a way to increase revenue for the city. Is tourism in Enumclaw a viable issue for the administration to pursue? Explain why or why not. Estimate the cost for the administration to pursue this issue and the potential revenue.
What better way to support local businesses than to build up their sales through tourism. This can result in higher sales tax revenue for the city. Tax revenue paid by local businesses increases the city budget which benefits 100 percent of the citizens, not just the business owners, through city services such as our police department. Increased sales through tourism may also provide citizens with increased employment opportunities. Imagine a local business hiring additional help because their business is healthy. That is a win-win for both the owner and individual needing income to support themselves or their family. Why shouldn’t a business owner, such as the many espresso stands in town, reap some additional rewards from the risks, hard work and long hours they put into their business? These are not ongoing funds, just modest help to give a worthy program a good start.
Kim Lauk: Rebuttal statement
My opponent’s inability to commit to clear answers is troublesome. A leader must be able to bring forward ideas and solutions. This is impossible to accomplish without a clearly established vision of where they intend to lead our city. One of the biggest issues that our region is experiencing is runaway development. During the past two years on council, I have voted against development without proper infrastructure. Although I respect my opponent, this is a clear contrast between us. Enumclaw’s next mayor must make this issue a top priority and a take a firm stance now.
PART 2: QUESTION NO 1.
The city of Buckley has welcomed the marijuana industry and seen a financial benefit. Bonney Lake is considering allowing retail sellers. Enumclaw has, through zoning, prohibited such establishments. Is it time for a change?
Kim Lauk: Although cities that allow marijuana businesses to open shop see financial benefits through sales tax revenue, I believe it is our obligation to the citizens to put people before profits which is why I oppose marijuana shops in Enumclaw. From the legal and planning standpoint, I do not support bringing an industry to town that is illegal at a federal level. While marijuana businesses are heavily regulated to keep underage people from entering their establishments, I am very concerned about the social impacts that this industry brings. Drugs are in every community but I do not agree with normalizing and condoning the use of marijuana in Enumclaw. I don’t think we should allow a legal place to purchase a federally illegal substance. This sends a very convoluted message to our children on drug use and makes this more difficult for families and our community.
Jan Molinaro: Today’s marijuana is more potent in its effect on a developing teenager than 40 years ago. Yes it is legal in the state’s view, however I believe that marijuana and other drugs have negatively impacted a vast majority of families. In a 2009 California Environment Protection Agency study titled “Evidence on the Carcinogenicity of Marijuana Smoke” it was found that direct marijuana smoke had a significant association with five different categories of cancer. With this in mind why would local governments encourage the use of a known product with carcinogens that causes harm to our youth and adults? Allowing marijuana stores in Enumclaw defeats council’s support of the Rainier Foothills Wellness Foundation Drug Prevention Week. I feel that these recreational marijuana stores should not be located in our community.
At the Aug. 28, 2017 council meeting I presented a resolution to oppose King County’s Safe Injection Site which Council passed unanimously.
QUESTION NO 2
During the annual budget process, the City Council traditionally provides money to agencies that serve the public, but are not part of city government. Is this good policy, or should the city use taxpayer money only for city functions?
Jan Molinaro: Our citizens are extremely generous when it comes to time and money donated for the many nonprofit organizations in Enumclaw. Recipients of this generosity run the gambit of seniors to youth through many local programs. Numerous citizens have worked quietly and effortlessly to provide for those that need a hand up. Sometimes donations and grant money do not generate all the funds needed in providing critical services that are requested and additional money is required. Local government cannot be all to end all, but it can bridge a small gap to those in need.
Kim Lauk: Budget season is always a challenging time. Enumclaw has limited funds to maintain the balancing act of wants and needs within the community vs. core services. Groups such as Plateau Outreach Ministries or The Rainier Foothills Wellness Foundation come forward asking for assistance with programs that aid families and elderly who are down on their luck to be able to remain in their homes and keep their utilities connected or send food home with children in our school district who would otherwise go without. I am in favor of helping these groups fill their budget shortfalls. We can see the benefits ripple throughout our community. These asks have traditionally been granted to them through a voucher system for accurate accounting purposes. In the last budget cycle however, my opponent brought forward a motion to give an outside agency $40,000 for advertising with no agreement to provide any accounting or record of how the money was spent. I voted “no” on this action as I believe that ANY money being given to an outside agency should only be allowed on a voucher system with a strict written agreement to make all accounting and records available to full council and administration. We need accountability and transparency when using tax dollars, this is something I feel very strongly about.