On Tuesday morning, Kirkland City Council candidate Toby Nixon spoke before a group of enthusiastic supporters gathered for a campaign breakfast held in the gymnasium of the Kirkland Boys and Girls Club. Nixon, a former State Representative for the 45th District and former Commissioner for Fire Protection District 41, is challenging incumbent Jessica Greenway for her seat on the Kirkland City Council.
After introductory comments by several local and regional politicians including King County Councilmember Jane Hague, Nixon first thanked his family and friends for their support before addressing the audience. In speech, Nixon discussed several issues facing the citizens of Kirkland.
On Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Sustainability
I love Kirkland so much that I wanted my whole neighborhood to be a part of it! In the process of bringing Kirkland’s new neighborhoods into the city, we nearly doubled both the area and the population of our city. That expansion brings along with it some big challenges, not the least of which is how we afford to provide the level of services to which Kirkland has become accustomed, to the entire larger city.
How do we get on a sustainable budget path? Governor Gary Locke set the example with his Priorities of Government principles. Using an open and public process, we need to do a top-to-bottom review, looking at all the services we expect the city to provide, and prioritize them to be sure that we’re focusing on the right things. We need to look at all the work the city does, and learn how to work smarter.
On Economic Development and Business Friendly Environment
A key to making our city budget sustainable, ensuring that we have the services we want for ourselves and our families, is economic development – a city that is welcoming to new businesses and the jobs and tax revenue they bring.
We need to stop imposing onerous traffic impact fees and taxes based on the number of jobs a business provides, which are very burdensome on and discouraging, especially to new businesses and small businesses.
We must unleash the creativity, ingenuity, diversity, and innovation of our residents and business community, attract new businesses and encourage existing businesses to expand in Kirkland, provide more and diverse housing, and encourage the economic growth that will bring in the resources to provide the services that the families and businesses of Kirkland need and expect.
On Ethics, Transparency, and Accountability
I love Kirkland’s long history of cooperation and collaboration, of participation by citizens in government, of a city government that is open and listens and works toward consensus, both on our own issues and with King County and other cities on regional issues. I’m committed to continuing and strengthening that open and collaborative culture.
I chaired the Kirkland Ethics Task Force, who drafted a Code of Ethics for members of the city council and boards and commissions, including a process for resolving ethics complaints. The task force finished our work and submitted it to the city council over six months ago, and I’m disappointed that the council still has not acted on it. We should not be in the position of waiting until an ethics concern is raised and then making up the process on the fly, as we’re seeing happen right now in Bellevue. Kirkland needs an ethics code now, and to be committed to implementing it.
In his closing remarks, Nixon focused on the future saying, "Friends, our city is now at a crossroads. To build the community we want for tomorrow, we need city government today that is fiscally responsible, encouraging to local businesses, and open and accountable to our citizens. I’m committed to these principles, and as your next city council member I’ll work hard to build Kirkland’s tomorrow."