Tillamook County Pioneer’s QUESTIONS FOR CANDIDATES Series – Nov. 2020: City of Wheeler – Mayor and City Council (2 positions)

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#5 – The Tillamook County Pioneer’s Questions for the Candidates – November 2020 series. We will post the candidates answers in all the state and local races. 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 Wheeler: Mayor – Doug Honeycutt and Heidi Stacks; City Councilor – two positions – Gordon Taylor, Dave Bell, Michael Glowa, John Lawrence. All candidates were sent the Pioneer’s Questions for the Candidates, and we are publishing those answers that we received.

City of Wheeler

Mayor
Doug Honeycutt

Why should we vote for you?
I want to unite the citizens of Wheeler and work together constructively. I value listening to all and moving in a positive direction for the town.

What are the community’s core values?
Encourage economic growth while maintaining our quaint village with the million dollar view.

Identify the top 5 issues you think are important to the community right now.
1. Re-establish trust in city government.
2. Revitalize the business district.
3. Follow existing city governing documents.
4. Listen to the citizens.
5. Encourage community events.

What action(s) would you take to address these issues?
Encourage town halls to discuss/prioritize our communities concerns. Work with economic divisions and other community leaders outside of our town to see what could work for us.
Support grants and funding to maintain and keep our governing documents current.

Why did you decide to run for office?
Work on the Planning Commission has made me aware of the educated and impassioned commitment the citizens of Wheeler have shown. I support economic development under the guidelines of the Vision Plan and the City Ordinances. I want to see Wheeler advance in prosperity at the same rate as other coastal towns (sadly we have been behind) but at the same time with a clear intent of working with the town’s established laws, so that growth and changes can benefit all aspects of our community.
I look forward to the work required to build an economically successful town while maintaining the natural beauty of our setting.

How are you actively working to eliminate racism and other biases in your community?
Lead by example, and recognize that racism and bias exists. In my career I have been fortunate to work with a diverse group of people. Experience and training have added to my awareness and ability to communicate and work with our differences.
Thank you.

Heidi Stacks
Mayor of Wheeler

Give us your 30 second “elevator speech” – why should we vote for you?
I have been on the council for 6 years and have had the opportunity to learn the complexity of Wheeler’s issues. I have served as a Counselor, the President of the Council, and now as the Mayor so I am in the unique position of being job ready. I know our ordinances and laws and have actionable strategies to help Wheeler fulfill its Vision and the goals we have set for ourselves as a city. I have proven myself as a leader for Wheeler.
I know the importance of working with community, regional, state, and federal representatives to bring resources to Wheeler. We recently received a FEMA grant award to plan for upgrading our storm water drainage that we have worked on since 2015. I am prepared to continue the work we have been doing as a community. I believe we have a bright future. I believe in Wheeler!

What are the community’s core values?
Wheeler’s Core Values are clearly outlined in our City’s Vision. They are:
1. Protect the Natural Beauty
2. Preserve Small Town Atmosphere
3. Keep Town Safe and Functional
4. Improve Livability of Wheeler
5. Support a Vital Economy
6. Enhance Citizen Enjoyment

Identify the top 5 issues that you think are important to the community right now.
● Land Use and Development that follows the rule of law and also respects property owner rights and responsibilities.
● Reasonable and responsible economic growth and support for our businesses.
● City staff and officials continue to upgrade, manage, and maintain public records as required by law so that they are current and easy for the community to access.
● Governance by the rule of law and communication that is respectful of our community’s diversity and differing views. The citizens see that the City is working on their behalf.
● Staff Retention is a big issue. We must recognize the need for maintaining city staff, decreasing turnover, and ensuring that the staff have a work environment where they are treated respectfully by our leaders and the community at large.

What action(s) would you take to address these issues
1. I will continue to work toward reasonable and responsible economic growth with our businesses, citizens, and outside agencies to promote our Vision.
2. I will work with the City staff to continue to manage and maintain public records to optimize transparency, and accessibility.
3. I will work with ODOT, the NWACT, FEMA, Tillamook County and other groups and agencies to address improving infrastructures that provide Wheeler’s essential services – especially our storm water drainage system, and road stabilization needs.
4. I will continue to actively pursue resources for maintaining the livability in Wheeler through such things as improving our parks, maintaining our docks, working to add trails, and providing opportunities and activities that strengthen our environmentally friendly approach to economic growth and recreation.
5. I will prioritize the need for maintaining city staff to decrease turnover through providing staff with training opportunities and increasing economic bases in the City that allow us to offer more competitive wages to retain staff.
6. I will also continue the tradition of hosting the Mayor’s Town Halls for citizen input and keeping the community updated through the Wheeler Newsletter and Mayor’s column.
7. I will continue working with council, city staff, and Wheeler citizens to initiate strategic plans, develop options, and investigate potential resources to address and fund the above issues.

Why did you decide to run for office?
After spending six years on the Council I feel that I am prepared to take the next step in serving our community. I have served as the Mayor since June of 2020 and have spent that time educating myself and working to continually increase my skills to represent you as your Mayor.
I would be honored to have the opportunity to continue that work through serving a full term as your Mayor. I believe I am prepared and will continue to work with the citizens and council to identify issues, recognize needs, realize opportunities, and optimize resources for the betterment
of our entire community.

How are you actively working to eliminate racism and other biases in your community?
My first thought is your voice doesn’t have a color, creed, or religion. Everyone’s voice is welcome in our city. I do and will continue to make everyone part of the conversation and listen to their concerns. We all have different skills, and knowledge and contributions to offer the city.
It truly takes a village.

There are many divisive issues facing our communities. How do you resolve conflicts?
We are faced with conflicts in Wheeler that people feel strongly about. We have some who believe one way, others who believe another way. We at the council table must obey the rule of law so that everyone has a level playing field and can express their concerns and opinions. That is why we conduct all of our business in public meetings that follow the public meetings laws.
There is always a place on the agenda that is reserved to hear community concerns that may not have come to our attention yet. I believe in bringing people together to discuss, plan for, and address issues as they arise. I have been working diligently with city staff and others to understand all of the differing viewpoints and clarifying the issues through the public meeting process and to inform the citizens of what the Council is working on and to reinforce all of the progress and tasks that are moving us forward. The Council’s job is to take in the information and vote on the solutions they believe best fit the issue at hand. While the Mayor does not vote unless there is a tie I will strive to facilitate a solution focused approach that will allow the Council to make well informed and objective decisions. I believe in communication, honesty, respect, and accessibility to be the best strategies to work through conflicts as a community.

Wheeler City Council – 2 positions open – Candidates – Gordon Taylor, Dave Bell, Michael Glowa, John Lawrence

Dave Bell

1. Why should we vote for you?
I have always been known as the “middle of the road guy”. I pride myself on identifying obstacles and finding a middle ground to reach a compromise and move on. I believe that now, more than ever, our community needs that.

2. Core Values – This is a more difficult question to answer. Wheeler’s residents do not have a single set of “core values”. We are a very diverse population. That’s why I believe it is so important to reach a consensus with the majority rather than a vocal minority.

3. Top 5 issues – In no particular order, A. roads. Including one that is in danger of collapse. B. runoff water control. C. shoreline restoration. D. The development of the Ulbricht property adjacent to Bott’s Marsh on the north end of the city. E. Lack of an adequate city hall.

4. Actions – Roads. We have a good dialogue going with FEMA to solve the problem of Zimmerman Creek threatening to wash away a portion of Hemlock Street. We do not need to Interrupt that process at this time. We also have a city manager that is adept at securing grants for maintenance of our roads. Runoff water control. Wheeler is built on a hillside. All of the water from the top of the hill winds up at the bottom and that has been a problem for us. Years ago, a culvert was run below some of the businesses in town and those buildings suffer from periodic flooding. I support elimination of that culvert by “daylighting” Gervais Creek, allowing it to flow free to the bay and also creating a centerpiece attraction similar to what has been done in Ashland. A city hall that will not only address ADA concerns but that can also serve as a community center. Shoreline restoration. Wheeler’s shoreline needs dredging. The Wheeler Marina’s docks are high and dry at low tide. We must continue our efforts to alleviate that problem. We have a good dialogue going with the Port of Nehalem that I believe will be the solution. Development of the Ulbricht property. The council has addressed that issue although there is little I can add at this time because the decision is under appeal to LUBA. City Hall. Although our city hall is of adequate size to meet the needs of the community, it is neither seismically sound nor ADA compliant. I am in favor of working to temporarily address the ADA situation while we continue to pursue funding to allow us to build a city hall that can also serve as a community center for the entire town. I believe that part of what divides our community is lack of a proper location to meet and socialize.

5. Why did you decide to run? When I looked at those who had filed for election to this office, I did not see anyone who had more than a single issue as their platform. As indicated above, I believe our city council needs to be dedicated to working to alleviate all of the issues facing our community, not just a single issue.

6. I deplore racism and bias of any kind and will not tolerate it in my presence.

7. Resolving conflict – See #1 above.


John Lawrence
Give us your 30 second “elevator speech” – why should we vote for you?

I am John Lawrence; I am asking you, the citizens of Wheeler, to allow me to serve you as a City Councilman.

I am currently an interim Councilman, a board member of the Wheeler Emergency Team, and I serve on the Tillamook Board of Realtors.

I have only lived in Wheeler for three years: I feel like I have come home.

I know what Wheeler has to offer is incredibly special and exceedingly rare. We have the good fortune to live in a town of natural beauty without being overrun by commercialism.

If elected, I have two goals I would like to see accomplished. The first is to rebuild trust and confidence that the city government will serve the people of Wheeler. My second goal is to achieve full occupancy of the business district of our town.

Let us work together to preserve the town we are all so passionate about.

Wheeler truly is a special place.

I believe the only thing one has in life that really makes you who you are is your word.

What are the community’s core values?

Wheeler’s core values are to protect natural beauty, preserve our small town atmosphere, to live in a safe and well-functioning town, strive to improve the livability of Wheeler, support a vital economy and have an enjoyable town to live in.

Identify the top 5 issues that you think are important to the community right now.

1 Trust needs to be rebuilt.

2 We have vacant retail space that needs to be filled.

3 There is a need to improve the access to the Nehalem Bay for Kayaks.

4 There are some vacant structures that need to be removed.

5 We need more speed control.

What action(s) would you take to address these issues?

1 We need to make public meetings easier to access in the age of Covid-19. I was instrumental in resolving the problems the City of Wheeler was having with Zoom meetings.

2 I have researched and developed a list of the top business small towns should have. If elected I will help with the incubation of these businesses.

3 There are launch systems designed for canoes and kayaks to easily access the water.

4 I will help enforce the codes that we have in place.

5 I believe with a radar system we can slow the in-town traffic down.

Why did you decide to run for office?

First, I was asked by several people if I would run for City Council and secondly, I believe I can be a positive influence for our town.

How are you actively working to eliminate racism and other biases in your community?

I look for common ground amongst different groups of people and I highlight people’s strengths.

There are many divisive issues facing our communities. How do you resolve conflicts?

We do have some divisive issues. The best way I know how to resolve them is first truly listen to find the common ground. Then we can make the compromises needed to resolve the issue.