I want to get right to the point. I want to get a lot done. My three main goals will be jobs, public safety and rational environmental advocacy. I will work to reduce overregulation of business, assure an optimal emergency response capability and balance the needs and interests of both the economy and our desire to preserve and protect our environment.
The U.S. trade deficit in April rose to $40.3 billion. Real final sales of domestic product increased 1.8 percent in the first quarter of 2013. These are dismal figures. Although Washington is faring slightly better than the nation, we need to look towards states like North Dakota and Texas as examples. Can we really afford to be arbitrary in the way we deal through city government with our business community? Can we really afford to say "Not in my backyard"?
Now to pracical matters. We need to get "unstuck," get things moving. I would formulate cooperative efforts between city agencies and business, possibly using sliding permission fees tied to length of project delay, or as an incentive, formulate a plan to regulate payment of permitting costs as being tied to the sale of a property rather than at its plan inception. This would allow small builders to free up capital and at the same time provide an incentive to the city to see to the timely inspection and plan review of sorely needed business expansion which, in turn, also benefits job growth.
Private property rights need to be honored in order to allow business and private citizens access to the consistent use of their land while relying on good zoning practices.
I understand the concerns of the mayor in sticking to budgetary priorities, and just as we are seeing in the national sequester, all budget items are not created equal. Starting with emergency services, an area that I know well, I would immediately recommend return to strength of the recent reduction in fire department manning of seven full-time employees. This would allow the manning of the aerial ladder and return of the elevated and specialized rescue capabilities which are seldom needed but which the lack of is sorely evident in a crisis. I would work for the update of the Whatcom Medic One fleet vehicles, the newest of which is bearing over 140,000 miles of hard use. Setting priorities is key.
I would also look to adding automatic external defibrillators to all police cars and city vehicles in order to reduce the time to defibrillation in cardiac arrest.
Water is a primary concern to our citizens. I applaud the efforts of the city in exercising housekeeping, education and enforcement of quality lake water standards. I would strongly recommend caution in attempts to trample property rights of those same citizens through poorly thought out policy which is based upon questionable data or environmental zeal. I recognize the need for the continuation of aggressive lake water monitoring.
Deciding to relocate to Bellingham eight years ago after visiting the region on business, I am now retired and would like to use my time and my expertise to serve the citizens of Bellingham in the at-large position on the Bellingham City Council. Following careers in community mental health, public safety and cardiovascular research, I would like to continue to give back to my community.
The training and experience from my past careers would be a strong asset. I believe that it will give me a rational, yet compassionate, approach to government.
I am running as a reluctant citizen who recognizes a pressing need for responsible public service. We are going through the toughest economic times that I and many others have seen. We need strong protections for our environment but we still need to pay for our personal needs such as food and shelter.
If elected, I will serve the people of Bellingham. Bottom line: My intention at this time is to serve for one term, running a simple campaign, focused on what matters.
I would appreciate your vote, your help to get me elected, and your assurance that you will hold me accountable during my term in service to you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Allen Brown is one of three candidates running for the two-year term for the Bellingham City Council at-large seat being vacated by Seth Fleetwood. The top two candidates in the Aug. 6 primary advance to the Nov. 4 general election.