David Linn is a candidate for OS City Council Position #7, battling Rich Hartman and Patric Hayes; the top two vote getters in the Aug. 3 primary move on to the general election. Linn’s answers to the NBN questions:
-What, if any, do you assess to be major areas of concern in OS — and what if any are your plans to fix them?
A fundamental area of concern is the lack of long term planning. The city is bumbling along day-to-day with no sense of direction. This leads to short-term actions in response to the crisis of the moment. While work is underway on a Comprehensive Plan, I feel that it is a very general concept and that specific plans need to be put in place to guide our growth. Growth will occur and it must be managed to ensure a quality outcome.
We need better, and more specific, budgeting. It seems that almost everything goes into the general account where it can too easily be moved around from one area to another. The council must require more specifics on how every dollar is budgeted and spent. The council needs to have more oversight of spending and conduct audits when there are cost overruns on any project.
We must focus on environmental stewardship to save that which brought most of us here. In a mad rush to develop, we are losing the green space and wildlife that make Ocean Shores a special place. We need to insist on responsible and sustainable development.
-OS looks to be on pace for record revenues — what should the money be spent on?
The money should be carefully budgeted and spent on those things that have the highest priority. One immediate need is to fully staff all of the city’s departments to that they can carry out their responsibilities. Currently we are understaffed in numerous areas which is leading to a decline in the quality of life for all of our citizens. We have been operating with this deficit in staffing for too long and the negative effects are showing all around town.
-What are your thoughts on the firing and subsequent lawsuit of former OS Fire Chief David Bathke?
This is an irrelevant question; it is old news. I am focused on the future of Ocean Shores and its citizens. I have no interest in gratuitous personal attacks on anyone.
-What “fresh” ideas do you have to tackle the weed/algae problem on the city’s fresh water system?
Rather that react to crises that require immediate action, I believe that we need to step back and take a holistic view of our fresh waterways and decide how best to re-develop them. It will be a major task since the city has devoted too few resources to maintaining them over the years. We must first recognize the common ownership, common responsibility and common use of this asset.
We need to solicit public input to determine the optimal balance of – from boating, fishing, swimming and other uses. We need to utilize the advice from the people who have worked so hard to maintain the current situation and augment that with information from the Department of Ecology and the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The city needs to establish a permanent Parks and Waterways Department that is fully staffed and properly resourced. This Department must develop a long-term maintenance program that will ensure the health of the waterways to see that they do not return to their current condition. The Department must find ways of keeping the waters clean and healthy without the use of toxic chemicals.
The shorelines must be kept in proper condition as described in the Shoreline Master Program and restored where they have been degraded.
The public must be educated about the risks of fertilizers and herbicides that they may be using on their property and the impact they are having on the waterways. Resources need to be made available about alternative methods.
-What is your track record as far as listening to and responding to complaints from citizens (and/or customers)?
I worked for more than 25 years in the pension fund world, including teachers’, public employees’ and trade unions’ retirement plans. I was responsible for investing billions of dollars of their investments and dealt directly with their staff and board members. In the course of those activities, I continually had to address their needs, questions and concerns. I can say unequivocally that I was successful in those efforts.
-What are your thoughts on the golf course?
I don’t think that this is a topic of great concern to anyone who is familiar with the current council members and any of this years’ candidates. The golf course is operating successfully and will continue to do so. I am not aware of any threats to its operation.
The golf course is city property which the city holds in trust for all its citizens. The city government has a fiduciary responsibility to maximize the value of the property over time. I have read the lease and all of its amendments, so I am knowledgeable about the various rights and responsibilities.
-With a strong field of candidates — why should someone vote for you?
I have broad financial experience, I am thoughtful and articulate, and I can bring my diversity of experience to deal with city council issues both financial and operational. We need to get away from the notion of “It’s always been done that way” and I will bring fresh ideas to solving complex city problems. I am completely independent and will work only for the best interests of the city and its citizens. I have no alliances and I can work with anyone who wishes to deal in good faith efforts to make Ocean Shores a better place.
As a member of city council, I will continue my involvement in the community and utilize my skills and experience to help move Ocean Shores toward a better future.
-How would you communicate with residents especially in times of crisis like the pandemic?
I would communicate through whatever means are available and relevant to the public. This would include telephone, email, on-line videos, Zoom meetings and radio conversation. I would respond in such ways that fit the situation.
-What is your vision for the town? Another Seabrook? Add marina like Westport? What do you picture the future to be?
I would like to see Ocean Shores develop into a city that emphasizes health and wellness as well as an environmentally conscious destination. Being so close to the Olympic National Park, this is a natural stop for those who travel to the Park to enjoy the beauty and spirituality that it possesses. We have the natural resources here to complement those in the Park and we should enhance them for our visitors.
I do not see Seabrook as a good model for Ocean Shores – it does not have the same “natural” feel. A marina is something to consider, but we would need to understand the economics of developing and maintaining such a facility and how it might work with the Quinault Nation.
-How do you feel about dumpsters on the beach and affordable housing?
I don’t see how dumpsters on the beach relates to affordable housing. Perhaps this question should have been reworded.
It depends upon what “dumpsters on the beach” means. If that means big, ugly containers in the middle of the beach, then no. We do need to provide ample trash disposal receptacles in easily accessible locations and encourage people to use them.
There is a need for affordable housing and the council should consider ways to help make it available. This would include utilizing federal and state programs, considering potential subsidies, and requiring affordable housing development as part of granting development permits.
What do you think about more crosswalks in the business area?
I think we all agree that sidewalks and crosswalks are badly needed. We just need to put together a reasonable plan that is affordable. It shouldn’t be this hard to do.
-How do you feel about off-leash dog parks?
I think that off-leash dog parks are a fine idea so long as those who use them have complete control over their dogs. We do not need any incidents where a large aggressive dog attacks another dog (or person) causing injuries.