Q: What type of corporate and economic growth opportunities do you feel are the best for our community and should be supported by our local government?
Corporations are certainly a plus to most communities, in Liberty Lake, they add to the revenue base, mostly by way of property taxes.
Small businesses are a bit more flexible and amenable to the local community. They tend to be locally owned and operated, they hire from the local community base and tend to be more able to move, change, expand, and adapt to the changes in the economy a bit better. Although they too can become unstable if they have not been appropriately developed— municipalities can aid new and small businesses with their growth plan making them more likely to succeed.
Small companies grow from the inside out, which allows them to focus on the communities bottom line—generating revenue that is derived domestically—leveraging the ability for those dollars to remain in the city where produced. The money stays in the community.
I would support and recommend that our local government maintain that both types of business entities remain an integral part of this small bedroom community, where both corporations and small business enterprises support the sustainability of our local economy.
The revenue generated from both corporate and small business enterprises will allow Liberty Lake to be more diverse. Providing technology, and computer-based businesses, manufacturing, and product development to health and healing, coffee and car washes, restaurants, fast food, lawn care, automotive, to insurance, and eldercare. A healthy economy needs all and more.
Q: The importance of the conversations relating to traffic in Liberty Lake centers on the impact and overall health of the community, and the foreseeable adverse effects on our quality of life, should nothing change.
It is essential to note that various issues affecting the community are experienced differently by its citizens and while someone may not have a current issue that is traffic related, there may be other areas that impact them depending on their personal view. However, what impacts one individual today during their commute may eventually have an impact on someone else who has not yet considered the consequences. That is why citizen input is essential to every policy decision.
In the case of traffic gridlock and congestion, we become frustrated while waiting in our cars to move on to our destination. Sometimes that frustration filters its way into our personal lives and the lives of others. Eliminating stress by improving our traffic infrastructure, is critical to a vibrant and robust community. Our quality of life is always at stake when traffic infrastructure cannot keep up with efforts that increase our community's footprint, which must keep pace with growth.
Liberty Lake has several traffic-related issues in its pipeline. For instance, widening areas, roundabouts, frontage improvements, modifications, surfacing, traffic signals, road restriping, and other buildouts in the region that contribute to the conversations. What was once an enjoyable drive can turn into a nightmare in some areas of the city.
Liberty Lake's policy-makers, staff, engineers, and expert consultants are working towards practical ways to improve the traffic infrastructure conditions. But these things take time.
Q: What action will you take as councilmember/mayor to help address growing concerns about traffic in Liberty Lake?
I most certainly would:
Q: How do you feel about the current Liberty Lake utility tax? Should it be removed, decreased, or increased?
I believe that the current 3% reduction in the utility tax was the appropriate decision for the leadership to make in 2012, having levied an initial 6% tax during the great recession. Looking back at the original imposed 6% tax, in October 2010, I recognize that it was a tough decision, and the discussions with the stakeholders were probably some of the hardest. Sometimes the most challenging choice to make is the only choice available. In the end, the decision-makers made the right decision for the city based on the financial position the city faced at the time—the unforeseen financial crisis was unavoidable.
To educate me and others who may not have been a part of Liberty Lake during that time and to remind those who were initially affected by the negative impact of the imposed tax; our economic sustainability takes on many facets. Decision-makers are required to be knowledgeable and work alongside the professional staff of finance experts to determine, the how, when, and why of our city's spending requirements.
Fortunately, the city has recovered from the previous crisis of 2010 and has built somewhat of a financial cushion, placing us on par with growing and developing cities, protecting our standing and viability. I consider that a plus in the overall scheme of things and would neither remove or decrease the current utility tax, for that reason. There should be no reason to increase taxes. However, we must all consider the importance of having diversified funding sources, if we are to have learned anything at all, especially during unpredictable times. Even with the best professionals and conscientious financial stewards, Liberty Lake was still not immune in 2010.
However, nothing shall be decided without the input of our community stakeholders—in the end relative to how we acquire and spend the city funds, ultimately impacts our entire community's quality of life.
We are in a comfortable position of financial security at the moment. I promise to work diligently with the other members and our entire community if elected. We must keep our eyes on the prize, by continuing to ensure that new revenue funding sources flow into the city. The efforts of our leadership to ensure that our resources are used wisely and that our coffers are more than adequate to meet our everyday and unforeseen needs, in the future, is required. I want to be part of that stewardship moving forward—a considerable responsibility but an opportunity I am ready to take on.
Published on October 7, 2019 ~ in Candidate Corner/Government and Politics/In Their Own Words by Dg Garcia Liberty Lake Gazette
As you have read, the Spokesman Review article was delivered to our doors on Thursday, October 3, 2019, and described me as saying I was a military-brat. Yes, and proud of it! Being a military brat is a term of endearment shared in the culture of a military member's family lifestyle as representing a child with a full-time military parent. So, at a very young age, I was one of five military-brats running around the family's backyard. I enjoyed every moment of my childhood, young adulthood, and now I am enjoying my senior-hood experiences.
So, what is it I really want you to know?
I spend much of my retired time finding ways to support my community while not abandoning the comfort of my family—my two adult children, their spouses, the four wonderful grandchildren they have escorted into the world, and as the icing on the cake, my wonderful, most affectionate and caring dog Luce. Each continue to exemplify a strong testament to what love and support really means to me. They are the wind at my back, encouraging me all the time to continue to focus on the community we belong to and have grown to appreciate—they know that success is a family trait that takes a strong foundation to sustain. They have confidence in me.
If you believe that you have confidence in my representation of your voice, I would welcome and be honored for you to loan me your vote on November 5, 2019.
It is truly during the living of our lives—decided long before we utter our first words—that make all the difference in the legacies we help build for ourselves, our families and our communities. – Dg
Q: Would you support the implementation of an electronic roll call voting system similar to State and Federal legislatures for Liberty Lake City Council votes?
I would support the implementation of an electronic roll call voting system similar to the system currently being utilized by the City of Spokane's municipality. The City of Spokane uses a simplified version of the State and Federal roll call system.
Spokane's system makes it very easy for an individual to track the votes of each member and it provides for a higher degree of transparency. It is a way that the council would remain accountable to their constituents. The importance of having an electronic roll call system is that their constituents do not have to rely on their memory on how the City Council Member voted on any given issue. It would provide constituents with immediate access to the voting record.
Q: What aspect of the City of Liberty Lake could benefit most from enhanced transparency? What specific actions would you take to improve transparency?
The constituents would no doubt benefit most from increased transparency. Why? Because they are the stakeholders. The constituents are the primary contributing factors by way of taxes (property, sales, utility, etc.), increasing the sustainability of our community as a whole. They are affected both directly and indirectly by any positive or negative development, spending, or policy decision our government makes.
Who are the constituents I am referring to, and why are they so important that I am confident they would benefit most from enhanced transparency?
We are the constituents, all of us, and whether a community status changes from resident to mayor or city council member, transparency is relevant to everyone, individually and collectively. Transparency is not a privilege; it is a right. The lack of it jeopardizes what is approved or denied and undermines success no matter the subject.
An empty council chamber almost assures the outcome. A government who does not mind or has little concern regarding the attendance at city hall demonstrates their comfort level of the constituency's need to know.
I am confident that open and improved levels of transparency lead to a better understanding, where policy-makers do not restrict or limit information, allowing for a more educated and informed constituency becomes vital to the goal. It is not just the need to know but the requirement and duty of all public officials, including the professional staff, or support personnel to outreach to the community. Insisting that the constituents know and understand what is happening in Liberty Lake in real-time is a true reflection of enhanced transparency—an informed community gets involved and stays engaged.
Transparency is inherently between a city and its constituents. Enhancing transparency in our city is the means where the result will be a strong public and governmental relationship, and the end becomes the norm and not the exception. What specific actions would you take to improve transparency?
If elected, I would ensure the people's right and need to know will always outweigh what we think they should hear/understand. As a practice, I would provide detailed data and statistics that reflect the decision-making process utilized for every project. I would consistently give a breakdown for each taxpayer, indicating the percentage of their tax dollars used in the general fund. I would keep the citizens in the loop by disseminating the governments' discussion points when approving or opposing a project.
Lastly, I would request that the city use as many sources as possible (newsletters, emails, the city website, and official government text–not currently available) to provide critical information in addition to the monthly SPLASH news outlet, whenever possible.
Q: With the "recent" purchase of new city property on Legacy Ridge, what are the options for renovating Trailhead golf course facility. What is your best option?
The question of renovating Trailhead golf course, formerly known as Valley View Golf Course, built-in 1973, is a timely one. The city council is focusing on the Trailhead Master Plan during a workshop discussion at its next meeting on September 17, 2019 (www.libertylakewa.gov). By the time you read my take on things, the meeting may have already taken place. Noted on the agenda is an action item, which reflects the consideration of extending the lease agreement between the city and Palenques. Palenques is the Mexican cuisine restaurant which has been located on the premises for approximately 16 years or more, for those who did not know. Will Trailhead continue to have a restaurant facility as part of the amenities? For how long? Or will something change?
So, to that end, I will address the question to reflect the when and if. When the discussion of options for renovating Trailhead golf course facility is readdressed by the city council on the 17th, will there be community voices at the table? Will those voices contribute to the Trailhead discussion?
Does the city plan on hiring a consultant who is well versed in significant renovations/remodels or even reconstruction—in the event the facility is demolished? Will the city entertain or consider doing nothing? Is that even an option? Is there a Band-Aid Effect option? I certainly hope not. By all accounts, the band-aid is about to fall off.
Other considerations would be enlarging the footprint. Perhaps making it a mixed-use structure. What is our goal? Enhancing the amenities that the pro shop offers; adding vendors such as a local tax consultant/CPA, Law Office; optical shop, a gift shop to name a few examples. Extending the ability of Palenques to provide more services, would be an additional draw.
There are so many options to choose from and or include. More critical to the structural decisions are those that reflect the bottom line. Will Trailhead continue to be a revenue- generating source in all facets? Trailhead must have the ability to make money. Whatever is decided. We must keep our eyes on the prize. Keep thinking long-term, not quick-fix—short-term promises. We understand that something has to happen with Trailhead. The entire community voice in collaboration with the city, its engineers, planning commission, and other interested parties must participate. Ensuring that any improvements we make have a positive impact on Trailhead and are those that will reflect long-term gains. Opening up opportunities for winter activities so that more revenue can pour in during the offseason—the ideas are endless.
The location of Trailhead offers a host of opportunities, finding the right fit is what the process should be all about. What is our vision for the next 46 years, and is it in the best interest of the entire community? This is one city, our city and Trailhead is one of our first historical gems. Let's preserve it, perhaps not exactly like it is in its current condition, but closer to the standards our city deserves and appreciates.
But keep in mind, all this comes at a price. The discussions must include: How will the project be funded? No rabbit or hat tricks allowed. No robbing Peter to pay Paul situations—because the citizen sometimes ends up being Peter. This is where the rubber meets the road! Ensuring that our city coffers have the capital improvement line item funding to support any renovations/remodeling efforts. Does the city have the ability to set up or use existing funding sources such as those slated for Capital Projects or Special Capital Projects?
It takes money to make real change and improvements happen for any vision to become a reality. Dot all the I's and cross all the T's before starting every major project.
Q: Other than your civic meeting obligation, how are you an active supporter for our community?
Adoption of the Guide to Acronyms and Abbreviations/Glossary of Common Terms
On July 5, 2017, I saw the need to include information that would aid in the community's understanding of terms and abbreviations often used in the discussion of the people's business at city hall. I developed a comprehensive Guide to Acronyms and Abbreviations/Glossary of Common Terms and proposed its inclusion for use on the city website as an administrative tool for the general public. After consideration by decision- makers, on July 21, 2017, the Guide to Acronyms and Abbreviations/Glossary of Common Terms was accepted, and posted for use on the City of Liberty Lake's website. It remains a frequent source of information.
Resolution No. 18-233 – Regarding participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
What led to the passage of the resolution?
I witnessed the devastation on my extended family during Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana in 2005, and then again, when Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico—September 2017.
I realized that Liberty Lake, although a low-risk community, could be faced with the challenges of rebuilding or restructuring after suffering catastrophic damage from the wrath of a hurricane.
My insurance company advised me that Liberty Lake was not a participant in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and my request to buy flood insurance— denied—became a problem for me. I knew it would be a problem for the community as a whole, should a catastrophic event occur.
I facilitated the conversation regarding the possibility of inclusion in the NFIP at an open and public city council meeting. I contacted Lynn Schmidt, the statewide flood engineer working for the Washington Department of Ecology, in Spokane. Lynn agreed and joined me to address the mayor and council. Engaging in the discussion, with support from Lynn, I asked the mayor and council to focused on the importance of protecting our community and asked them to support efforts to adopt a resolution and ordinance where the city would participate in the partnership by joining the NFIP.
My efforts were instrumental in the passage of Resolution No. 18-233 – regarding participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), on January 2, 2018. Our town is one step closer to adopting an ordinance, currently underway, to provide the entire package of flood protection needed for those wanting to purchase—the peace of mind solution.
Information to consider – Washington state is considered a low-risk area yet it has over 323 communities protected under the program, including Spokane and Spokane Valley—Post Falls, Idaho, is also a participant of the program. However, twenty-percent of all flooding will impact low-risk areas—which areas would be affected are unknown and there is no desire to witness a catastrophic events impact on our community. However, only property owners in participating communities are allowed to purchase flood insurance. The NFIP requires participating jurisdictions to implement floodplain management regulations that reduce flood damage, and it is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). (FEMA Pacific Northwest Regional Office, Bothell, Washington, February 2006)
Seniors and Veterans—growing in and with my community
Once a month, I meet with senior residents on what some consider their most pressing issues. We have lunch and socialize while discussing ways they can better connect with their peers. Establishing a full-fledged active center for their combined recreation is vital to the majority of them.
It is as important as the discussions people are having about establishing a dog park for their four-legged companions. The gathering place where shared communication is what holds them together—extends their abilities and enhances their quality of life. Building a center in Liberty Lake is not a want for many in our senior community; it is a need. And it is what building the Liberty Lake legacy is all about—the way we treat our aging says a lot about how our young will learn to treat us. I intend to continue the conversations as I gather support for concrete solutions to establish a place called theirs—right here in Liberty Lake.
Friends of the Library
Friends of the Library like other educational and giving organizations define as its mission, in part, one that "...[E]nriches and advances the intellectual, cultural, and creative vitality of our extended community..."
This strong statement illustrates why I am confident in my support of the Library. Friends of the Library stands as a resource for inclusion, learning, and growth. Being a part of this organization is by far, one of the most rewarding. I can contribute through my talents and provide opportunities that will enrich the lives of others. I am proud to be a member of Friends, and I will do all that I can to make every volunteer occasion a worthwhile experience.
The more we know!
I have provided a glimpse into some of the areas that I contribute my efforts as a dedicated member and resident of this community. I have mentioned a few. However, the most important reasons I have for actively supporting my Liberty Lake community, whether behind the scenes or up close and personal, does not make me unique. It is because we are a giving community. We are always looking for ways to improve, give back, or contribute. Whether the contribution is to church or state, we recognize that getting involved, being involved, and staying involved is an act of real dedication. It is not in being associated with this or that organization or having more affiliations than someone else. Our engagement is in the doing for whomever; recognizing wherever it is necessary or required, and focusing our efforts whenever we can on whatever it is.
Our combined civic-minded contributions speak volumes about our pride as a city and our overall esprit de corps as a community.
Q: What has been and can be done to mitigate traffic concerns in surrounding neighborhoods and intersections regarding before and after school periods. Concern over traffic flow has increased since opening Liberty Creek and dangerous vehicle and pedestrian interactions are daily worries. One accident is unacceptable regarding kids walking to and from school.
Please elaborate on what can and should be done for Country Vista/Molter intersection, all along Boone and crossing with Country Vista and Molter, and the residential streets north of the two schools?
I wish I had a quick and straightforward answer, but unfortunately, I admit that I do not. I have a grandchild who goes to the elementary school in Liberty Lake, and many friends whose grandchildren attend Liberty Lake schools as well. Although I am with my grandchild in the mornings, many other children travel to school independently, on their own. I would like to answer more specifically as it relates to the original question. However, I feel compelled to explain my answer more broadly as the same type of concern is widely held by the entire resident structure. Failure to recognize the importance of driving slower on residential streets and in school zones is a problem in Liberty Lake. But for the most part, most drivers are respectful of the road and understand the importance of sharing it—with pedestrians—especially with children crossing on their way to school, with or without a parent or guardian.
Many children who walk to school appear to be at the highest risk for a significant traffic- related incident. Our policy-makers need to ask a few more questions. Are they doing everything possible in the area of pedestrian safety? If so, then they must ask: Why are people still so concerned? What more can and should be done?
What are some possible solutions?
I have a few suggestions that I would ask to be considered that may add to the rest of the community's ideas. Installing a safe-pace flashing radar sign on both sides of the road. Yes, even in a residential area, it may look odd, but it may save a life. Installing wide stripes that indicate pedestrian crossing more broadly, when a stop sign does not get the drivers attention—make it a striking red, yellow, blue, or green color to get their attention. Installing 4-way stop signs on all problematic streets. Changing the speed limit in those areas to 15 miles per hour during certain times of the day. Adding a traffic speed meter to record the speed of the vehicle so that law enforcement may cite them for violating the speed limit postings—by doubling the fine. Redirecting traffic at the beginning of the school day for the amount of time it takes for classes to begin and then again when school ends for the day. Adding temporary undulations to determine if that helps in slowing down the traffic to ensure safe pedestrian crossing. Continue to coordinate with the city, the school, and the police department on efforts to monitor and improve the conditions where necessary. Educate our children early and often. Ensure they understand the rules of the road—stop, look both ways, and cross only when it is safe to do so.
I realized that I have mentioned many ways to try to curb the rate of concern and find an alternative that may just be the ticket, as they say. Some of my suggestions may be a bit extreme or may have been tried before with little success. What is evident to me is that a broader conversation with all the stakeholders needs to happen, sooner rather than later, because the conversation continues and the concerns have not been eliminated.
The residents, policy-makers, engineers on staff, and law enforcement personnel, need to come to the table to discuss and determine the best way forward. Getting from here to there without becoming a statistic of the road is essential. Remember, the life we save could be that of one of our own.
Let's get in touch. Send us a message:
1324 N Liberty Lake Rd., #113
Liberty Lake, WA 99019
Phone: (509) 218-0199
Copyright © 2019, Dg Garcia. All rights reserved • Paid for by Citizens for Progress • 1324 N Liberty Lake Rd., #113 • Liberty Lake, WA 99019