Tillamook County Pioneer’s QUESTIONS FOR CANDIDATES Series – Nov. 2020: City of Rockaway Beach – City Council Positions

#6 – We are almost there – one week away. And over 50% of Tillamook County’s registered voters have already returned their ballots.
REMINDERS: It’s too late to mail your ballot. Be sure to drop it off at a drop box, located throughout Tillamook County. Here’s the sixth in the series of Tillamook County Pioneer’s Questions for the Candidates – November 2020. We will post the candidates answers in all the state and local races, that are contested. These questions were gathered from a diverse array of Tillamook County citizens, and provides an opportunity for constituents to compare candidates answers directly. Here are the candidates for the City of Rockaway Beach City Council – two positions are contested (Sue Wilson is running unopposed for mayor, and Tom Martine is unopposed for Council Position #2.)
Nathan Beeman and Keith Cantrell are running for Position #1; and Kristine Hayes and Geoffrey Grace are running for Position #3. We reached out to all candidates and are sharing those that responded.

Rockaway Beach City Council Position #1:
Keith Cantrell

Why You Should Vote for Me
People should vote to send me to the city council to represent their interests. I won’t be invisible or shirk my responsibilities to the residents of Rockaway Beach. I will be involved in community events so people will feel confident enough to approach me with their issues.

The Community’s Core Values
The community’s core values are based on the success of all citizens. Students should be successful in school. Parents should be successful in providing for their families. Businesses should be successful in building a viable business to meet the needs of their customers. Employees should expect a living wage for their work. No one should be denied health care because they can’t afford it. Emergency services should have enough resources to protect residents from disasters. Everyone should be encouraged to help anyone in need.

The Top 5 issues in Rockaway Beach
1) Affordable Housing
2) Education
3) Emergency Services
4) Economy
5) Infrastructure

How Would I Address These Issues?
Affordable Housing – I would welcome developers who understand the issue and could provide new apartment complexes for low-income workers.

Education – I would do my best to ensure a continuing, working relationship with the school district so students can have educational experiences that include community involvement.

Emergency Services – Our police, fire department and other emergency services need adequate resources. I’ll work to put their needs high on the budget.

Economy – We have no large industries here. No mills, no marina, no dairy processor. We are a tourist destination, love it or hate it. That’s what drives our economy. So, I will focus on making tourists feel welcome by ensuring their visit is fun and safe. Happy tourists spend money.

Why Did I Decide to Run?
I decided to run because I love this community. I want to give back to the town that has nurtured me for the last five years.

What Am I Actively Doing to Eliminate Racism and Other Biases in Our Community?
In five years I’ve only seen two African American citizens and quite a few Hispanic residents. So, I don’t have firsthand experience of racism and bias here. The best thing I can do is to not discriminate or show bias in everything I do. If we all took responsibility for our attitudes and actions we could eliminate racism and bias in our community.

How Do I Resolve Conflicts?
Conflicts cannot be solved with ridicule, name calling, profanity, vitriol or violence. We should sit down together and discuss the issues and come up with solutions that benefit everybody.

Rockaway Beach City Council Position #3
Kristine Hayes

Give us your 30 second “elevator speech” – why should we vote for you?
I’ve attended City meetings for 20 years, worked in the public and private sector, and held numerous volunteer positions. Giving through grant work at the wayside, and grants to improve the caboose. I support family-based tourism, leading many of our festivals.
Previously a CASA, Lion-Leos Liaison, on our Nature Preserve Committee for years, and volunteered consistently at every school in our district. Advocated for: ADU’s supporting livable housing, which passed, a Public Works Director with an engineering degree, just hired. Inquired about our loans, resulting in a refinance and savings of over $363,000. I asked more questions in our Budget Hearing than all members combined. I have a gift of networking and use this for unity. I work for ALL of our residents. I have positive relationships with neighboring municipalities and officials. I value where we live, I know how special it is. I am passionate about our community.

1.What are the community’s core values?
The values I see in our community that I hope to strengthen and bring to light include cooperation and collaboration, compassion, creativity, and community. To do this, we need to support our small businesses, permanent residents and second homeowners, and encourage community involvement in regards to issues that impact them. In the past, citizens have felt their voice is silenced and refused; I want to hear what they have to say,
how they perceive the state of our city, good and bad, and how they see us improving it. We live in a beautiful location filled with creative and loving individuals who have so much to offer that have not been utilized before.

2. Identify the top 5 issues that you think are important to the community right now.
Our biggest challenge is our finances; the lack of working together in regards to them. We are wasting great deals of money regarding tourism and we have not a plan for the future in regards to the growth. Lack of a plan that protects our community and natural resources and allows for growth that supports economic health. Health and safety to survive the COVID changes and/or a natural disaster. We must work together. We need to focus on fixing our roads and streets, and failing infrastructure. Let’s relieve ourselves of the old beliefs and resentment; by this I mean the discrimination, division within political affiliations, full-time and part-time residents, all of the ideas that isolate us from neighbors and community.

3. What action(s) would you take to address these issues?
My goal is for us to improve and increase services without increasing rates and fees. We can only do that by working together; all of our business community, city staff, and citizens, full-time and part-time. We must allow retired professionals and diverse community members to sit on our citizen committees as the comprehensive plan demands and let them investigate ways to increase revenue. Lets look at ways to save spending,
such as budget and tourism workshops. We need an active tourism committee with members of local business, chamber, merchants, lodging, and restaurant members that live or work in Rockaway. Yet again, I am watching a fantastic emergency service volunteer committee waste away from lack of council support. We need for our PD, FD, and Public Works to work and function together if we have a catastrophe. All of our economic health, happiness, and even our lives could depend on it.

4. Why did you decide to run for office?
Originally, I ran for office because of my volunteer work, our 40-year-old Annual Kite Festival had been moved to a date that would not allow it to financially support itself. I did not, nor do I now believe this was done with proper public notice. Once voted in my seat by the people, I realized that we had many problems on many levels and our Chamber was only a single slice of that unmanageability. Many of the citizens and even some of our staff were not happy with how we were functioning and/or not functioning.
So, I have spent the last few years advocating for us to fix these unmanageability’s; not just our tourism issues, but also our financial health. The short answer is: I want this to be a place our kids and grandkids can live, earn a living, and raise a family as we have.

5. How are you actively working to eliminate racism and other biases in your community?
I have been informing myself of our local police department’s policies and feel much relief regarding the systems they have in place to protect those who may have not felt protected in the past, and their willingness to continue listening and reshaping. As a white woman, I cannot say I know what it is like to be a Black person in America right now. What I do know is that it’s my job to be an empathetic community member, and listen to and uphold the words and experiences of my BIPOC & LGBTQ+ neighbors. As a city council person, it is my duty to represent and address the concerns of our entire community, and work with empathy around issues I don’t personally face or completely understand. In the United States Declaration of Independence, all Americans are guaranteed the security for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, regardless of demographics.

There are many divisive issues facing our communities. How do you resolve conflicts?
I see us letting go of old separation tactics, of entities being pitted against each other of numbered council seats, of citizens being hand-picked for committees, of friends of staff members voting on finances, of married couples voting together. I see us giving clear, open, and timely public notice, offering community workshops. I see our emergency services no longer pitted against each other. We need to stop allowing those with their
own interests in mind to divide us; we need to let go of the divisions in politics, in our business community, in our departments, between our year-round and part-time citizens, our city and its people. We need the feeling of community, of normalcy, understanding and forgiveness, to focus on unity again. I see great change with our new city manager; I have great hope for our future more that I have had in years.