Ben Stuckart position on Priorities
The conversation should never be between two bad choices: either cutting services or raising taxes. That is a false comparison and stifles our ability to move forward as a community. It also shows a lack of imagination when developing public policy.
- At a time when public safety is of paramount concern, cutting policeman and firefighters is not the right answer!
- At a time when our streets are filled with potholes, cutting the street maintenance budget is not the right answer!
- At a time when we want to maintain the things that make our city a special place, cutting the arts, the parks, and the youth department is not the right answer!
The answer is to grow the overall economy of the City of Spokane. The answer is not to accomplish this by raising taxes.
The City of Spokane should join in a partnership with everyone to create jobs and economic growth. The City Council President, as leader of the legislative branch, should provide leadership for this effort!
The City has done this before! “Expo ’74 World’s Fair” created thousands of jobs and huge momentum in the 1970’s. Later, downtown revitalization in the 1990’s led to renewed retail and an arts environment that rejuvenated the core of the City!
City Government has a vital role to play in this process:
- The City can create a vision for moving our city forward
- The City can eliminate or change development codes that create artificial barriers to growth
- The City can proactively encourage economic growth
- The City can bring people together to push projects forward
Here are just two examples of how we can jump start this city-wide effort to renew our City and our neighborhoods.
Urban and Neighborhood Development
Our current city planning structure was developed at a time when suburban growth was encouraged. Now, however, we need to focus as a city on growth in our urban core and create neighborhoods that develop similarly to what has happened in the Perry, Hillyard and Garland Districts. The Perry, Hillyard and Garland neighborhoods have a vibrant mix of unique small businesses and restaurants. As these neighborhoods have developed, housing prices have increased and safety has improved. .
We must not let artificial barriers to growth stop us from developing those areas that will benefit the city as a whole!
We need to reevaluate the way planning works the people of our city. There are many codes that are not working for our city and may be outdated and stifling
- Parking Requirements. We need to determine if the number of parking spots per business and residential unit are reasonable and encourage urban growth.
- Minimum lot size. When the goal is to create more growth in the densest neighborhoods does it make sense to enforce suburban lot sizes in urban areas?
- Transition zones. Current building sizes are determined by the size of adjacent residential homes. We should instead switch to allow development that aligns with the Centers & Corridors plan.
Government regulations make sense when they protect citizens from developers harming the common good. Regulations and requirements should not impede growth that will benefit all of Spokane.
If we are going to improve the way we are doing business, we need to remove artificial barriers to growth!
Successful, vibrant cities are those that create development strategies based on the resources available to them. Spokane’s University District is strategically poised to provide a platform for the future growth of the health science and medical technology industries. The collaboration among the five universities (Gonzaga University, WSU Spokane, EWU Spokane, Whitworth University, and Community College of Spokane) and the medical community can spur significant economic growth for Spokane if coordinated effectively. We need to look at a variety of non-traditional techniques to support the private sector growth in the University District that will secure long term benefits for the citizens of Spokane. Public/Private partnerships, development authorities, and targeted marketing campaigns are all tools other successful communities have used to encourage development.
Neighborhood and Citizen Involvement
The current way the City communicates with citizens is broken. You should not have to be an expert in government intricacies to understand what is happening. As City Council President I support:
- Proper notification to neighbors when issues are affecting where they live
- Clear communication from the city on agendas a
s well as minutes and agendas being posted in a timely manner
- Reforms to citizen input. These include examining placement of comment period during meetings and potential monthly press conferences
The role of government is not to pit development and business against our neighborhoods. We should strive to create complete neighborhoods that include the city, business and neighbors working together towards a common goal of making Spokane the best it can possibly be!
Police Oversight- Press Release
Ben Stuckart’s positions on State, County and City initiatives and propositions
State of Washington
Initiative Measure 1125 Concerning state expenditures on transportation.
Oppose – 1125 would kill jobs and cause gridlock. I-1125 would block funding for transportation projects across the state, eliminating thousands construction and manufacturing jobs. At a time when Washington’s economic recovery is on shaky ground, we shouldn’t be taking money out of public investments. I-1125 would sink funding for the 520 bridge, the Columbia River Crossing in Vancouver, and dozens of other projects. Grinding these important projects to a halt would increase gridlock from Seattle to Spokane.
Initiative Measure 1163 Concerning long-term care workers and services for elderly and disabled people.
Support - Thousands of seniors in Washington receive care in the comfort and privacy of their own home. It’s less expensive than a nursing home, but workers are not as fully trained as nursing home assistants. I-1163 requires more training hours, certification, and increased background checks for in-home care workers to keep our seniors healthy and safe. Washington voters already passed this measure in 2009 (I-1029), but the legislature delayed its implementation. This initiative reinstates what the voters already made clear: our seniors deserve quality in-home care.
Initiative Measure 1183 Concerning Liquor: beer, wine, and spirits (hard liquor)
Support – The state does not necessarily belong in the liquor distribution business. The concerns brought forth last year about revenue losses and convenience stores selling liquor have been addressed. I 1183 would increase revenue to local governments by $279 million over the current baseline. In times where revenue is getting cut by city, state and local governments we need to find all the efficiencies we can.
Proposition No. 1 Levy to Replace the Spokane Regional Animal Protection Shelter ($.058 per $1,000)
Approve – This is an excellent example of regionalism in action. This modest levy will allow the county to replace aging, existing facilities and meet the needs of the entire community. We like to talk about regionalism as a County a lot but rarely do we find common ground. This is a move in the right direction.
City of Spokane
Proposition No. 1 A City Charter Amendment Establishing a Community Bill of Rights
I oppose this for three main reasons:
It would drive development from Spokane. By requiring a majority of property owners in a neighborhood to sign paper if a developer wants a variance you are raising the bar so high that no one will invest in land to develop projects.
It would result in a onslaught of new lawsuits. If I littered in the river a citizen of Spokane could file suit against me personally.
The corporate citizenship ruling by the US Supreme Court in the Santa Clara case in 1885 guides current legal frameworks. A municipality cannot overturn a supreme court ruling.