City Council applicants present themselves for consideration
January 28, 2014
By Peter Clark
Fred Butler’s election to mayor left a vacancy on the Issaquah City Council and seven people want the job.
The candidates introduced themselves during 10-minute presentations at the Jan. 21 council meeting. The varied field offered far-ranging experience from the worlds of engineering, real estate, software development and communications.
The City Council expects to make a final decision to fill the vacancy at its Feb. 3 meeting. The chosen candidate will serve until the November 2015 election, when he or she can opt to run for election.
Terry Davis, Bill Ramos, Joan Probala, Bryan Weinstein, Nina Milligan, Tim Flood and Cyrus Krohn answered the call for the open seat after the city requested applications in early January. Ramos and Flood applied for a previous vacancy in January 2013, when Mark Mullet left to join the state Senate. The council chose Joe Forkner to fill that seat.
Terry Davis, a retired engineer who has lived in Issaquah for 30 years, wants to make a difference in his community.
“I’ve got an extensive background in a whole lot of areas,” he said in his presentation.
The Squak Mountain resident has served on the local Rivers and Streams Board, the Planning Commission, the Cable TV Commission and was the first chairman of the Urban Village Commission. Because of that experience, he has concerns about how the city has grown.
“Issaquah has lost a little of our influence in shaping how King County develops,” Davis said. “I’d like to see that regained. I’d like to find a way to improve our regional influence, make smart decisions on our expansions and make the ones that work for us.”
He said his technical background gives him experience in explaining complex details and he wanted to use that to bring more economic equity to the city.
“I would like to see balanced development across the entire city,” Davis said. “We’ve seen almost nothing go on south of (Interstate) 90 since the 1990s. I think that part has been left out.”
An Issaquah resident since 2005, Bill Ramos presented himself to the council as experienced in project management and awarded in community service.
“Having served in the federal government, I find local government as the best reminder of civic participation,” Ramos said. “I’m mission-driven for both my work and my personal life. I’ve always tried to be a positive influence.”
Ramos serves as the vice chairman of the Human Services Commission and is a member on the Economic Vitality Commission. He believes 16 years as a dance instructor and entrepreneur has left him with an appreciation for the economic importance of small businesses.
“Small businesses are a critical element for the internal economic development of our community,” he said. “I will bring excellent community listening skills.”
Like most other applicants, he said traffic is Issaquah’s biggest problem. He said his background in that area would greatly assist the city.
“I’m considered an expert at transit and transit planning,” Ramos said. “The current transit situation is a threat to our community and our community’s future.”
Current Issaquah Highlands resident Joan Probala presented her fair share of leadership experience to the council. She has been a member of the Planning Policy Commission for eight years and for 12 years of the Arts Commission.
“I believe it is an honor to be on the council, but I also know it comes with huge responsibilities,” Probala said. “I don’t take those responsibilities lightly.”
As the president of the South Cove Homeowners Association, she said she took a big role in spreading information before the annexation vote to Issaquah. She has also served as president of the Kiwanis Club of Issaquah and president of the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce.
“I want to serve on the council to utilize all of my training for the city’s future,” Probala said. “I’ve studied extensively on what it takes to build a dynamic community and I have a reputation for thinking out of the box.”
She has worked 20 years as a real estate agent and believes she can bring skills learned there to transform the community into a continued destination for visitors and new homeowners alike.
“There will always be issues with water, pot, bags and fire, but these issues do not define a community,” she said. “We all know that Issaquah is a special place and the Central Issaquah Plan is really integral to maintaining it’s reputation as a desirable place to live.”
Olde Town resident Bryan Weinstein gave a more narrative presentation about his 13-year history in Issaquah. His career as a software development engineer led him around the Pacific Northwest until he settled in the city.
He said the Southeast Bypass got him involved in local politics and serving on the Planning Policy Commission.
“I ran in 2003 for City Council — I didn’t win, but I still got involved,” Weinstein said in his presentation. “I can’t tell you what it’s like to go knocking on doors and have your neighbors tell you what it’s like to live in Issaquah.”
He has worked with Issaquah High School, teaching classes in technological development and serving as a Junior Achievement mentor.
His largest concern deals with the city’s lack of leverage with developers.
“Many wonder why our huge growth has not paid for road improvement, park improvement, a new pool, maybe two new pools,” he said. “I think there is a systemic lack of bargaining power. We are on the short end of the stick. Where is the city being benefitted? How are we going to not get the short end of the stick any more?”
He wants to work for continued community involvement and continued community improvement, using his history of service as background for that goal.
“We’re all looking for the same thing,” Weinstein said, gesturing to the other applicants. “I’m sure you’ll hear the same from each of these qualified individuals. The only thing that’s different is our point of view.”
Nina Milligan, a lifelong Washingtonian and nine-year resident of Issaquah, spoke to the council about her continued desire to serve the people of the city. After spending eight years on the Urban Village Development Commission, the highlands resident looks for new challenges.
“I’m ready and eager to jump out and look at bigger pictures,” Milligan said. “This is a great opportunity for me to get to know my neighbors. You get to discuss and work on such a variety of things. That’s one of the reasons I would like to be on the council.”
She said living in the highlands affords her a different perspective on the council.
“We moved there as a vote for what Issaquah could be,” she said. “I love it for both these things, the old and the new. I would continue a broad understanding of broad wide-ranging topics.”
She said she understands what the future of Issaquah may bring as she assisted with the development of the Central Issaquah Plan. Her deep respect for the working of government and the rule of law drew her to want to serve on the council. She hopes to help Issaquah use its natural beauty as an advantage.
“Our biggest opportunity is our greatest treasure, it’s our location and our natural surroundings,” Milligan said. “Our brain power is going out of Issaquah. I want to balance residential growth with commercial growth, and create a city where people live, work and play here. We know they live and play here.”
As the youngest applicant presenting to the council, two-year South Cove resident Tim Flood used that to his advantage, and said he wants to give young families in the area a representative.
“I look at the position as an opportunity to give voice to the citizens I would represent,” Flood said. “I’ve spent my time volunteering for issues and groups that I believe in. On the business side, I have two business degrees. And I’ve also got some ideas right off the bat.”
He said he served with the Washington Conservation Voters, was elected as a precinct community officer in his neighborhood and is a founding member of the Friends of Lake Sammamish State Park.
“The biggest issue facing the city is traffic,” Flood said. “As the city continues to grow, it’s not surprising that traffic is the biggest problem we face. I would advocate traffic policy that would improve transportation for residents as well as for visitors coming in to shop.”
Currently working as an account director, he said he believed those skills would work well on the council. Additionally, he said his demographic could use a greater role in decision-making.
“As a resident of South Cove, I would certainly serve as a voice for my friends and neighbors,” he said. “I represent the interest of young families, which are also the types of families we would want to appeal to as the city grows.”
Cyrus Krohn has lived in Olde Town for 11 years. He had a career in large-scale politics before deciding to take a role closer to home to be with his family and community.
“I’ve been involved in national and state politics, and made a decision to give that up,” Krohn said during his presentation. “I have served in the White House under two presidents. I’ve been getting my hands and feet dirty instead of joining committees.”
He said he has involved himself in many hands-on activities to assist his neighbors. He said during the 2012 high school shooting, he directed traffic while officers responded at the scene. He said he has helped pick up needles and trash from the area around the skate park.
As a supporter of the Southeast Bypass, he said he felt deep concern for the transportation situation in town.
“The traffic problem is severe and I don’t know exactly how you solve it,” he said. “And I want to address the energy grid and digital divide, and find affordable access to the Internet.”
As a father of three, he said he wanted to focus on the needs of children in Issaquah. Additionally, he said his time in journalism would help the council hear residents’ concerns.
“I’m focused on how we continue to communicate with our citizens so they get the information they need,” Krohn said. “And not only make sure they get the information they need, but make sure their voices are heard as well.”