Kirkland City Council Position 5 - James Lauinger

I have lived in Kirkland since 1992 and reside in North Rose Hill. I became involved in city issues when I simultaneously joined the boards of the Kirkland Chamber of Commerce and of Hopelink. I was also the owner and operator of Woods Lakeshore Pharmacy and an owner more recently of Parkplace Books, both in Kirkland Parkplace.

I was appointed to Kirkland's Planning Commission in 1996 and served until my election to the city council in 2001. Throughout this period I served on many task forces, committees, dealing with specific concerns of the community: housing, downtown development, Totem Lake, the NE 85th St. corridor, economic development and, in particular, issues dealing with critical human services.

First and on the lighter side, it is, surprisingly a totally enjoyable and positive endeavor in which I feel quite comfortable! More seriously, my decisive election four years ago was due to the community investing time, money and hope in my candidacy. During the past four years the community continued to "invest" their time and support with me while I helped to shape the issues important to Kirkland citizens. We have had many, many successes, and there have been a few moments on the downside of some votes! That investment in my work has added to my ability to effectively represent Kirkland and it now demands a return for a second four-year term.

Kirkland must respond to growth using an anticipatory approach rather than reactive approach. The work we do today with the Comprehensive Plan, our neighborhood plans and private amendment requests must not just solve a property owners' concern for today, but instead, set the tone of what we want Kirkland to look like tomorrow. Kirkland is a community coveted by developers. We value what they bring to Kirkland, yet, we value more the community characteristics we set down in the visionary writing of our Comprehensive Plan. Vision becomes paramount in Kirkland. The pace of development is rapid. We cannot allow our response to be slow.

The latest study on annexation indicates a significant gap in revenues to expenditure of about $5 million. Additionally, our recent survey of the Planned Annexation Area (PAA) residents indicates a positive attitude towards being part of Kirkland but far less enthusiastic in helping to pay to close the gap. Clearly the county needs to be out of the business of managing towns and cities. However, unless we can craft a package of generous, annual county subsidies over a decade; receive tax support from the PAA; and plan for reduced or contracted services to the PAA, then we need to slow the pace toward annexation and ultimately avoid this city assuming that burden.

The potential of development to change the character of our community, the potential to alter our "small town" appeal...why most of us have decided to put roots in to Kirkland or have moved here in the first place! This issue is closely linked to the need for additional city revenue and in particular, the city's appetite for sales tax revenue that, in turn, may affect decisions made for future commercial growth. Again, we cannot avoid development. But what we can do is to shape it to our vision and to the needs of our community.

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