As your King County Council member, I represent you on regional issues such as improving our transportation problems and election reform.
My philosophy is to work in a bipartisan manner with my council colleagues. Just as importantly, we also must work with our regional partners, particularly suburban cities, to help resolve the many challenges our region faces.
This is my first column for the North Seattle Herald-Outlook, and I plan to update you occasionally on regional and local issues.
I am energized for 2005 and ready, with your help, to tackle the challenges we face in King County. Here is a sample of issues for 2005:
We need election reform in King County. One example is a move to an exclusive vote-by-mail system. Such a system would reduce election costs in King County by up to $1.4 million each year and allow the county to streamline the election process by operating only one system.
State law largely dictates how counties administer elections. The Legislature will be responsible for passing necessary election reforms this year.
Next week, I am meeting with Secretary of State Sam Reed and other legislators on this issue, and I will report back to you on those conversations.
I am holding a town meeting with Director of Elections Dean Logan on this issue. It will take place Jan. 27, at 7 p.m. at Maple Leaf Lutheran Church, 10005 32nd Ave. N.E. I hope you can attend.
As a member of the council's Transportation Committee, my goal is to use public transportation dollars wisely to ensure efficient transportation options that meet the needs of our community and ease congestion.
I will work to place a ballot measure for regional transportation projects, including the replacement of state Route 520 and the Alaskan Way Viaduct.
These projects will cost money. I support tolls and gas taxes rather than sales and property taxes as a means to raise these funds.
I am a strong advocate of funding human services. With the King County budget in crisis, we must find dedicated revenue streams for programs that are proven to save the county dollars in the long term.
As chair of the Regional Policy Committee, I am working with regional leaders to find solutions to the human services funding crisis in King County.
The Sound Transit board of directors is scheduled to decide where to place the Roosevelt North Link stop on Jan. 27 at 1 p.m. at Union Station, 401 S. Jackson St.
There are two options for the North Link light-rail route to serve the Roosevelt neighborhood near Northeast 65th Street, following either Eighth or 12th avenue Northeast. The 12th Avenue location has strong community support.
Although, I do not serve on the Sound Transit board, I support the 12th Avenue site. This location will better serve the Roosevelt neighborhood in the long term for spurring continued economic vitality.
The other proposal, unfortunately, includes the condemnation of many homes.
While the 12th Avenue stop is more expensive, I believe, in the long run, it makes good economic sense, assuming the extra cost is not prohibitive.
To get involved, please contact North Link Neighborhoods for 12th at 718-9005 or visit www.NLN 12.org. They will host a community meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 25, at 7 p.m. at Calvary Temple Church, 6801 Eighth Ave. N.E.
I am dedicated to being your most accessible public official. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a half-hour constituent coffee to discuss these issues, please contact my office at 296-1002 or bob.ferguson@ metrokc.gov.
Bob Ferguson lives in Maple Leaf with his wife, Colleen. He represents District 2 (North Seattle) on the Metropolitan King County Council.
For more information, visit www.metrokc.gov/ferguson.
His next column will appear in Herald-Outlook in the spring.