Brad Walker’s priorities for Woodinville are simple: make Woodinville a livable city, without getting caught up in the "soap-opera-esque drama" of politics.
Walker, who’s lived in Woodinville since 2006 and works for a commercial subcontractor doing business development, is running for position 7 on the City Council against incumbent Bernie Talmas.
Walker’s experience in local government has been one year on the Parks and Recreation Commission.
That experience, he said, "ignited a desire to understand more about the city and government ... I love what [Woodinville] is and love what I feel like it’s going to become."
... He wants to reduce traffic by improving infrastructure, bring more living options and local businesses to downtown, and create more community parks.
"I never want to take away the look and feel that I’ve grown to love," he said of Woodinville’s mix of urban and rural atmosphere.
He also wants to "revitalize" Woodinville’s industrial areas. Although he understand that the industrial district’s low rents have made it possible for wineries to open tasting rooms there, he’d like to allow restaurants and hotels in the industrial district as well.
"There’s a certain beautiful essence to that gritty industrial feel," he acknowledged. "But at the same time, we can’t just fill [visitors] up with wine and not give them a place to eat and a place to crash."
Walker elaborated on his positions on several topics the city has dealt with this year that may come up again in the future.
Vision of Downtown
Downtown Woodinville is "underdeveloped," Walker said. He wants to see more "craft" or "artisan" businesses, including restaurants and bakeries, and more affordable living options, such as apartments and condos.
"I’d love to see more energy in our downtown," Walker said, adding that he wants as many people to visit downtown at night as during the day.
He didn’t express a strong opinion about some of the permitted uses in downtown that the Council amended this year, such as gas stations and car dealerships. He said he wouldn’t immediately say no to a certain type of business, but he would want to make sure it blends in with the city. For a gun range, for example, that would mean not hearing it or smelling it, he said.
City Council Ethics
"Clearly, ethics are extremely important," he said of the council’s discussion of adding rules to formally reprimand council members and remove the mayor and deputy mayor. "That being said, it seems like an incredible amount of time has been consumed ... It needs to be decided."
Walker said he agrees there’s been behavior this year that merits a sanction — "where a council member poorly referenced a citizen of the area."
In January 2014, the council will decide whether or not to create procedures for removing the mayor and deputy mayor. Walker said he would support a procedure to remove the mayor and deputy mayor, but only with an absolute majority of the council voting for their removal.
"If something isn’t working the way it’s intended to work, there needs to be a fix," he said, citing the city of Pacific, Wash., in which the mayor "was destroying the town from within."
The anonymous website EthicalWoodinville.com has sprung up to — according to its own description — combat cyberbullying and promote civility in Woodinville’s government.
"I have absolutely no involvement with that group or understanding of who they are," Walker said. He added that he understands why citizens are upset with the group, since he felt the group’s last mailing was inappropriate for including a swear word.
Wellington Hills County Park
Walker lives in the West Wellington neighborhood, so the park that’s been proposed at the site of Wellington Hills Golf Course would affect him directly. Snohomish County has planned a park with seven soccer fields that many residents of unincorporated Woodinville believe will bring more traffic than local roads can handle.
"I would like to see both sides working to come to the middle," Walker said.
Snohomish County is "dead set that this is going to be a regional sports complex," Walker said, but the area isn’t suited to that. "I would very much love for that to become the community park that is it supposed to be ... a beautiful, usable, simple neighborhood park."
He wants the park to have fewer soccer fields and more facilities for other sports (such as baseball and tennis) and a larger play structure.
Requiring a business license to gather information about businesses "seems like a sound program," Walker said. But "it’s dangerous if you go outside of a flat fee," because he doesn’t want to put pressure on large businesses.
He thinks a business license program should charge only enough to cover the costs of administration, with perhaps a bit extra, such as 5 percent more than the costs of administration, going toward expenditures that would help businesses, such as traffic, infrastructure repairs and marketing for the city.