City Council at-large candidate discusses issues facing Blaine

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDOctober 14, 2013 

2013 elections

MCT

BLAINE - Incumbent Harry Robinson is running against a known challenger in John Liebert in the race for the at-large seat on the Blaine City Council.

Liebert, 72, is a former Blaine City Councilman. The two face off in the Nov. 5 election.

Candidates were asked to address issues facing Blaine through a questionnaire from The Bellingham Herald, and Liebert's answers were excerpted from that source.

Robinson didn't submit a response.

What would you do to spark economic development in Blaine?

Liebert: "Both American and Canadian business opportunities need to be cultivated. Small businesses are the key ingredient. We need to break down barriers that may prevent businesses from relocating here.

Working in partnership with our Chamber of Commerce, city departments and economic agencies looking for business sites is necessary. At this point, experts have noted that more people are traveling into Blaine to work than those leaving the area. Let's try to relocate them with housing and small business that invite them to want to move here."

Why are you running?

Liebert: "The 12 years I spent on City Council have given me a good background to help us, as a city, move forward. My focus has been to assist the city of Blaine and its base of small businesses continue to grow and flourish."

What are your views on the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal given that if it is fully built, it is expected to produce about $824,000 annually in taxes for Blaine schools?

Liebert: "I am withholding personal views on this project until the studies have been completed by the EPA and the (U.S.) Army Corps of Engineers. These studies will help give us some direction. Most views expressed by the public are out of emotion, and facts are necessary to help direct action."

What is your vision for Gateway Business Park, the former Blaine Airport site? What kind of businesses would you like to see there?

Liebert: "The former airport property is an important business property opportunity for the city and an avenue for employment opportunities. A partnership with the Economic Development group in the county is another resource we need to partner with.

"Approximately 205,000 trucks, cars and buses travel past this property monthly. Finding ways to divert some of those vehicles to that property are key to developing that property."

Other than the above issues, what do you see as pressing issues in Blaine and how do you plan to address those?

Liebert: "Bringing in more business-related traffic to our downtown is crucial."

MORE CANDIDATE ANSWERS

To see answers to more questions from this candidate plus his biographical information, go to our online Voter Guide. There you can find information and responses from other local candidates on your ballot.

This is one in a series of articles on races in the November general election. Other articles are at our Elections webpage/

Reach KIE RELYEA at kie.relyea@bellinghamherald.com or call 715-2234.

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