Q&A with the candidates | Bainbridge Island City Council: Joe Deets

Joe Deets is running for the Bainbridge Island City Council, District 7 North Ward, against Kevin Fetterly.

Name: Joe Deets

Campaign website: joedeetsforcouncil.com

Education:

Antioch University Seattle, MA Environment and Community

Seattle University, MBA

University of Montana, BS Finance

Professional experience:

Solar energy consultant with Sunergy Systems, Seattle

Executive Director for the non-profit organization Community Energy Solutions, Bainbridge Island

International financial regulator with the Securities and Futures Commission, Hong Kong

Public service:

Ethics Board Chair, City of Bainbridge Island

Volunteer for Bainbridge Island School District

Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity of Kitsap County

Volunteer for Hospice of Kitsap County

Q&A with Joe Deets

Bainbridge Island City Council, District 7 North Ward

1. Should building height restrictions be loosened in downtown Winslow to provide for greater density and affordable housing units?

Creating affordable housing is not dependent upon raising height restrictions. Solutions which show better promise include having mix-use buildings that are close to shopping, transportation and schools that contain affordable housing, and creating a mandatory requirement for developers. To be a sustainable, resilient community we need affordable housing that is permanent and income-qualified, and as a council member I will work diligently to make that a reality.

2. Do you support the construction of a parking garage for downtown visitors, shoppers and workers? How should it be financed?

What is needed are solutions enabling people to get to downtown. A garage is but one option. Let’s consider first lower cost solutions, such as utilizing public transit in ways people find convenient. In respect to garage financing, it should be done via a combination of voter approved bonds and support from the Winslow business community. Importantly, the garage would need to be voted on its own merits, and not combined with non-motorized transportation improvements.

3. The scope and cost of the new police station have increased since it last went to a public vote. Should the newest proposal again go before voters for approval?

Yes, voters deserve to have a say on the new police station. For financing, there are advantages to using a strategically determined combination of voter approved bonds, which are paid by tax revenues, and councilmanic bonds, which are paid out of general fund revenues. With a cost estimate of approximately $28 million I will insist that significant reductions be made, all the while ensuring that the community receives an improved, wholly adequate, police station.

4. Many islanders have been shocked and saddened by the loss of trees, animal habitat and vegetation in the Highway 305 scenic corridor as construction has started on the first leg of the Sound to Olympics Trail. A growing number of islanders are concerned about future phases. Should the extension of the trail along the highway to Agate Passage go to a public vote?

I am a strong supporter of more bike lanes, paths and trails, but the City must do a better job in planning and communicating for future phases of the STO. The public deserves an early say in the planning of what a complete route from High School Road to the Agate Pass Bridge should look like. I believe that a dedicated public outreach effort will be more effective and less costly than a public vote.

5. Many council committee meetings are not open to the public. Should they be? Explain.

As Chair of the City’s Ethics Board my work focused on government accountability and transparency. The City must comply with the Open Public Meetings Act, or suffer the consequences. There are relevant exemptions to the Act; topics allowed in executive session (e.g. litigation, land acquisition) and collective bargaining sessions. In neither does it serve the best interests of the community to have them open to the public. The City no longer holds council committee meetings.

6. Complete this sentence: I will consider myself an effective council member if I …

…helped ensure that young people who were raised on the island are drawn to return, and can afford to do so. That working together with my fellow council members we preserved the island’s small town and rural character for future generations. That our open spaces, forests and trees are protected, our water resources more than adequate, and free of pollution. And that the policy we enacted for reducing the island’s carbon footprint is showing results.

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