This is the second in an interview series by Don Mann with challengers running for Woodinville City Council
Al Taylor — Council position No. 4
Resident of Woodinville since: My family and I have resided in our Woodinville home for 15 years.
Employment: I am currently employed at the Boeing Company as an engineer working on the 787 Dreamliner project. In 25 years at Boeing, AT&T Wireless, Microsoft and Rockwell Automation I have led technical teams, have led projects from conceptual design through implementation and have returned sizeable cost savings to my employers.
Education: Bachelor of science, industrial engineering at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Masters of business administration (MBA) at University of Phoenix.
Personal: Wife Debbie. Our two children Alexandra and Andrew attend Woodinville HS and Leota JHS.
Local government experience: I’ve been a council appointed commissioner on Woodinville’s Emergency Preparedness and Safety Commission since 2007.
Why are you running for office? I am running for office to provide a fresh alternative to a 16-year, four term incumbent who has a track record for saying good things in election pamphlets and not delivering. During the incumbent’s long tenure, our residents have received new taxes, higher taxes, unfavorable zoning, bloated staffing and no pedestrian access to downtown. I seek to lead long-overdue corrective actions to make Woodinville an attractive place to live, work and play.
What are the most important issues? The most important issues are trimming Woodinville’s budget to include only essential spending, returning some of the previously assessed taxes to families and businesses, completing plans for our city that tie all neighborhoods into a common theme, improving road and pedestrian safety, and working with residents, volunteers and businesses to enhance the tourist destination called Woodinville.
Your vision for Woodinville? I envision Woodinville as one neighborhood with common unifying interests and themes across all 5.5 square miles — a Woodinville that mutually values its business community and its residential rural uniqueness.
Thoughts on growth? Growth happens and must be planned to enhance the Woodinville theme. Much of the growth will come from our children and young professionals beginning their careers and we must assure that housing options are available for entry-level buyers. I would seek to satisfy the growth for entry-level housing through integrating residential spaces interspersed with smaller retail commercial buildings in a village-like setting within the downtown area close to small service businesses, transportation hubs and burgeoning entertainment locales. By meeting demands for entry-level housing downtown we will have a win-win scenario that satisfies county assigned growth goals, as well as the needs for creating diverse housing options in the city.
What’s the best thing about Woodinville? The best thing about Woodinville is that it is small and provides that Northwest woods ‘get-away-from-the-bustle’ charm while being surrounded by big city amenities.
What can be improved? Although city government transparency has improved much since the election of newer council members Boundy-Sanders, Talmas and Bauman, we still need improvement. City Hall does not set the agenda for the community; we must elect leaders who represent the community in directing the agenda for City Hall. I plan to serve respectfully as your community representative.
What separates you from your opponent (incumbent Scott Hageman)? I come to the council race prepared to lead and contribute. Prior to running, I have done my due diligence by attending council meetings since 2005, speaking and writing letters delivered to the council on numerous subjects, and researching historical archives and positions for issues. My education and technical problem-solving experience are complementary to working on the council without presenting any undue bias. My opponent has not achieved the goals he states, not now or in past voter pamphlets and we cannot afford a return to the same style of government that exploded our staff count and raised our taxes. In the last four years our city has finally become a leaner, more productive organization. We need to continue that trend and not go back to the easy solutions of higher staff levels, higher taxes and lower productivity.