My husband and I moved to Kirkland 31 years ago. I retired in 1995 after 29 years of teaching in the Lake Washington School District. My civic activities have included being a member of the North Rose Hill Annexation Study Committee, president of the North Rose Hill Neighborhood Association, coordinator of the Kirkland Alliance of Neighborhoods and chair of the Kirkland Planning Commission.
Elected to the city council in 2001, I have served as mayor since 2004, with membership on regional committees for transportation, water, the environment and intercity cooperation. My responsibilities have also included service on the City Council Finance, Public Safety, Legislative and Solid Waste committees as well as chair of the Kirkland Centennial Committee.
Kirkland is a special place and is the envy of other communities for its charm, human scale and excellent park system that give it a small-town character. It is a community whose citizens feel passionately about their city.
I share that passion. During my first four years on the council, we have faced many challenges and engaged in projects that will determine how well we cope with future growth and changes.
I want to be part of that process, protecting our quality of life, creating a multi-model transportation system, conserving our natural resources and promoting a healthy business environment so we will continue to be proud to call Kirkland our home.
Growth will be driven by the influx of nearly a million additional residents to Puget Sound over the next 20 years. Kirkland is currently the densest city on the Eastside, on track to meet our housing targets over the next 20 years.
Careful planning and community involvement are critical if we are to meet this challenge. We will need to work to ensure that growth is fairly distributed and the transportation infrastructure is in place. We will need to ensure that what growth does occur will be balanced, provide a diversity of housing in scale with the neighborhood, economic growth that will provide needed services and tax revenue sufficient to meet our needs.
Kirkland must move cautiously when considering annexation. The county policies and the Growth Management Act envision that all urban unincorporated areas will eventually be absorbed into existing cities. These policies assume that Kirkland will annex the rest of Juanita, Kingsgate and a large portion of Finn Hill. This would have a dramatic impact on our city. There are many issues to carefully consider before moving forward. The wishes of the residents of Kirkland, of the areas to be annexed must be taken into account, and the costs to Kirkland - staffing, services and infrastructure upgrades - must be resolved first.
Protecting and enhancing the quality of life and sense of community that we enjoy is our greatest challenge. This will require that we strengthen our economy, preserve our neighborhoods and preserve and protect a healthy environment. We must also work regionally to achieve a multi-model transportation system.
This will require resisting support for Initiative 912, which will cost Kirkland the 132nd northbound I-405 on-ramp; $186,000 annual funding for transportation enhancements and extension of the additional north and southbound lanes under construction.