MAKE RENTON A BETTER PLACE

District 11 GOP Candidate Speech

October 17, 2017

 

Thank you for the opportunity to speak before you tonight and share a little more about myself.

I have worked for 28 years in our family law firm downtown Renton as a paralegal reading, reviewing and drafting legal documents, conducting legal research, advocating on behalf of clients and recognized by the court for court presentation. We specialize in real estate, property laws, civil litigation contract work, estate planning and probate work. My grandfather John, great uncle Dave and father Wyman were partners in the over 80 year firm - my father still practicing after 57 years.
 

I’m a 3rd generation, 20 year member of the Renton Lions Club – serving as President twice and Zone Chairmain once (my family has volunteered over 190 years of service in the Lions Club alone). I’ve worked with the Renton Clothes Bank, an international delegate with the Renton Nishiwaki Sister City Association (which my father co-founded almost 50 years ago), founding secretary of the Renton Cualtla Sister City Association, a founding member of the Renton Downtown Partnership, and recently hosted 2 urban markets where we’ve brought vacant downtown storefronts to life with outside vendors, artisan crafters and 100s of shoppers.
 

I’ve been involved with Habitat for Humanity – including grant writing, builds and helping to secure funding for a local build for a grandmother with MS who was raising her young grandchildren; volunteered with Birthday Dream and with Communities in Schools of Renton; traveled on philanthropic missions with Lions in Sight – providing screenings & eyeglasses in 3rd world countries; worked with Special Olympics – both with the athletes and providing the medical screening; deliver food regularly to homeless shelters and the food bank; ring bells for Salvation Army, and participate in community clean ups (including recently tracking down the out-of-area property owner of the old Denny’s on Rainier & 2nd Ave clearing out over 1200 gallons of trash, debris, human waste and 100’s of used needles – thank you again to Fire Station 11 for taking those sharps).
 

I’ve been active in our North Renton Neighborhood in strengthening our community and cleaning things up – now working on our 5th civil eviction of crime & drug houses --- houses the City told us their hands were tied on and there was little more they could do. I recently pushed for a new City “vicious animal ordinance” to hold owners accountable for the actions of their pets and the City is revising the dangerous dog ordinance as well (due to a nuisance owner of an untrained pitbull which attacked 3 dogs and killed yet another this past year). Stayed steadfast with pressure on the City Attorney and Renton Police Department until a new ordinance was put in place allowing the use of cameras for trespass enforcement of vehicles in particular (when our vehicle break in and prowl rate seemed at an all-time high in our neighborhood and the police response would be “I can’t do anything about the individual you have on camera getting into your car because I didn’t see them trespass or get in the vehicle myself”).
 

I coached the swim teams at Hazen High School, where I tripled the program sizes up to 75-80 kids, offered 12 practices a week so we didn’t have to cut and all kids had an opportunity to participate ….. including special needs & handicap students and students who had never been involved with athletics or even knew how to swim. We implemented team study tables and goal setting and one year achieved the highest team g.p.a. in the state with a 3.74 gpa average among 54 varsity athletes. When the School District was proposing to close the high school pools, we encouraged the kids & their parents to show up at public meetings and become a part of the process – which they did in mass – and the pools still remain open today.
 

I’ve worked with the Board of Directors at my parents hotel, a 59 until hotel that successfully operates on a multi-million dollar annual budget, have served on the board and in officer positions with most of the organizations I’ve been in, secured 501(c)3 recognition for multiple organizations, am a member of the Mayor’s Appointed City Center Community Plan Advisory Board and was honored by the City of Renton in 2003 as the youngest ever recognized Citizen of the Year for the City of Renton (still the youngest citizen ever to receive this distinction).
 

I was born and raised in Renton and spent all of my life living and working in Renton. My pioneer family followed coal here in the 1870s - the Piazza Park in downtown Renton bears a plaque as the original location of our Dobson family homestead. My great grandfather Tom was the 8th Mayor of Renton, a State Legislator and King County Commissioner. My family has been involved in Renton with coal mining, mens wear, hardware store, restaurants, owners with Maplewood Golf Course, affordable rental properties, downtown office buildings, real estate, insurance and law.
 

I advocated for my first park to be built in the community when I was 9 since some neighborhood kids in North Renton couldn’t go to Liberty Park because of the busy Bronson street and the transient activity at the park and under the bridge. So, together with another neighbor who was 10, we had petitions signed and approached the City with a plan to install a playground at Jones Park. We attended City Council Meetings, public hearings, worked with the EPA, the parks department and the army corps and ultimately were successful in our efforts – a newspaper article from that time was captioned “Kids Take on City Hall and Win!”
 

I raised my daughter, now 25, in the same culture of community give back and she has received countless awards for her community service.

My platform is public safety, strengthening our communities & neighborhoods and giving a voice to the people. I don’t want to be the voice for the people – I want to give people a voice. I want to be the ears for the people – encouraging transparency and accountability in our municipal leadership, letting our residents know when issues will impact them – like zoning or ordinance changes – or how matters like Sound Transit will really impact our residents. I want to be involved with solutions to challenges we face as a community like a shortage in our police force, ever rising property taxes & housing expenses that are displacing our residents, reducing the impacts on our resources, promoting small businesses & our local economy, encouraging accountability and proactive actions in our war against the opioid epidemic …. including an emphasis on the mental health component.
 

My father is retiring this year from our family law firm – which means I am “retiring” too. My daughter is grown and I have nothing but time, opportunity and desire to give back to my community.
 

I want to be your council member. I want to use my knowledge & experience to make a lasting impact in the development of our community but more so – I want to use my true love for our City and my passion for helping others to not just be a policy maker who reviews the policies and procedures in Renton, but a citizen who uses that platform to reach the most people and make the biggest difference in the lives of the people who live and work here.
 

I want to make Renton a Better Place for everyone.