Hastings, Shadko say they will draw on leadership experience

Election: One candidate says controlling debt a priority; other is for maintaining infrastructure

of the HeraldOctober 30, 2013 

Puyallup Planning Commission chair Steve Hastings and Planning Commission member Heather Shadko will run for the Puyallup City Council seat that Mayor Rick Hansen will vacate.

The ballots for the general election are due by Nov. 5. Hastings and Shadko are running for the District 2, Position 2 seat. Hansen will reach his term limit on Dec. 31.

Here are some thoughts from Hastings and Shadko on what they would prioritize, if they’re elected:

Puyallup Herald: What experience do you have that makes you the right choice for Puyallup City Council?

Steve Hastings: It is my experience that differentiates me from my opponent and makes me the right choice for council. I have approximately 25 years of experience working in various forms of management and leadership in my private-sector professional life. I have been hired or promoted into positions managing scores of staff and multi-million-dollar budgets.

I would not expect the citizens of Puyallup to vote me into my first management role, like my opponent. Some of my greatest strengths are the ability to lead teams to work together for the greater good. I have a proven background as an effective leader that eliminates divisive and status-quo thinking, and I bring a highly creative approach in setting the right tone to be the most effective possible.

I believe the truest measure of a person is found in their actions, and I hold myself accountable to the highest standards.

Heather Shadko: I have served on boards and commissions in Puyallup for almost 10 years — Planning and Library concurrently for the past three-plus years. I have worked for a large hospital, a school and most recently at the Port of Tacoma in the contracts department. I have a bachelor of science degree in business administration.

Aside from my experience, I am the right choice for council because I’m not part of the current majority, so I will vote for what is right for our community. Currently, our council only represents half the population; I think the other half should have a voice on council as well.

PH: If elected to the city council, what is one priority you would accomplish, and why?

SH: I’ve visited approximately 2,800 homes during my campaign. Everywhere I went, people talked about traffic. One solution that would make a difference in our traffic is a key difference between my opponent and I. My opponent says build a large parking garage for Sounder riders in our downtown, and I say no. There is a better solution.

Today, only one out of every five riders of the train resides in the city limits, which means four out of five riders live outside the city and commute through our city to the train station every morning and evening. That’s 700 cars a day, each way.

Satellite parking lots located close to where the riders live is the solution. Riders would drive two to five minutes, park and get on a bus that delivers them to the front door of the train, with no hunting for parking or walking in the rain, and save $1,000 a year in fuel.

Each bus equals 60 cars. Visualize what 60 cars lined up on Shaw Road, 9th Street Southwest and Meridian looks like. Twelve bus loops for 700 cars.

Pierce Transit could work with Sound Transit to provide the service. They owe us $4 million a year in service anyway. Build the garage and permanently be stuck with bad traffic, or choose a better idea.

HS: There are several things that rank high on my priorities list, but public safety is always the highest priority. Our citizens deserve to live in a safe community. With strong law enforcement ties and as a member of the Fire Merger Task Force, I have seen how great our police and fire services are. I will continue to support them to enhance our high level public safety protection. I will work collaboratively with South Sound 911 to ensure we have the best emergency services as well.

PH: What is one challenge you think Puyallup is facing during the next five years? What is the best solution to this challenge, and why?

SH: The challenge of getting our city out of debt needs to remain a top priority. Today, our city has about $65 million in debt. The problem is about $6.5 million is required to simply pay the credit card bill on that debt, which leaves little to fund what should be our top priorities.

Our city has suffered from leadership that was more interested in putting their names on the next civic building and failed to put the investment into our city’s infrastructure. We have several areas of our city where, when it rains hard, the city has to send trucks to put pumps down to pump stormwater off streets to prevent flooding of homes, because storm drains are so old they are too small for today’s requirements.

Politicians want to complete projects that are shiny and flashy. Infrastructure simply isn’t. It’s time for leadership to do the right thing and ensure the investment in our infrastructure. I commit that this will be a top priority without raising utility rates.

HS: I think one of the challenges Puyallup will be facing is our aging roads and infrastructure. Currently, we have not maintained the basic maintenance on our roads; we are 30 to 40 miles behind in chip sealing.

Chip sealing extends the life of our roads. If periodic maintenance is completed, this will cost the city far less than complete road replacement.

We need to ensure our water, sewer and stormwater are properly maintained and upgraded to avoid costly failures and to maintain federal and state standards. To help to defer costs, the city should seek out federal and state grants whenever possible.

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