Anthony Ase is running for Auburn City Council Position No. 5. His opponents are Ryan Burnett and Robyn Mulenga.
Auburn Examiner: What part of Auburn do you live in and why did you choose to live there?
AA: Northwest part of Lakeland North, basically on the edge of Kent and Federal Way.
AE: Where are your favorite places to spend time in our town?
AA: My wife and I spend a lot of time walking or skating the Interurban Trail. We like breakfast at the Sunbreak and we meet up with folks at Oddfellas. I went to the Rail N’ Hop recently and feel like that may become a regular spot.
AE: Where do you do your grocery shopping?
AA: Usually just Fred Meyer. Occasionally, I hit up SAARs.
AE: How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process in our city?
AA: More of a social media presence and facilitating of city surveys.
AE: What are your main infrastructure goals for Auburn?
AA: Continue bus route expansion through crucial parts of Auburn and help commuters.
AE: How would you evaluate whether a new piece of public infrastructure in our city (road, bridge, etc.) would be worth implementing?
AA: I would have to measure the positive impact vs negative impact first by the number of citizens affected, next by cost analysis, then by time cost and finally a simple interest survey provided to Auburn citizens.
AE: If elected, what steps would you take to put our city on a firmer financial footing?
AA: First step is to compare our income vs our expenses. Then study which expenses that are providing their intended purpose, for any ‘non-producers’ we give a variable amount of time to study why it’s not working and what resources would be needed to improve the program. Analyze if it’s worth continuing to spend on the program. I’d also like to look for income streams that are not strictly property tax based. Tacoma makes money from electric car charging spots through town. That’s not necessarily going to work in Auburn, but it’s an idea that gains income without just raising taxes. We need to get a bit creative.
To sum up, financial footing requires analysis of current fund use and creative imagination toward new funding streams.
AE: In looking at the city’s budget, what portions of the budget would you advocate to be increased, and which would you advocate to be decreased?
AA: I don’t advocate for spending increases nor decreases until seeing exactly how the money is used. Our current largest city expenditure is the police force and that makes sense. Our second highest expenditure is on our parks, which is also a good place to be putting our money. The first thing I’d like to look at is the allocation of those funds. I can’t tell you that I’m going to get in there and on day one change how everything works. There will be a data collection and analyzing phase.
AE: Pierce county (and South King County) has the fastest-growing housing markets in the state. As housing prices continue to rise, what is your plan for providing affordable housing?
AA: There is currently a high demand for housing but a low supply of affordable housing. I would like to implement cost neutral incentives to building more housing options and I am also considering the impact of rent controls.
AE: Should Auburn offer developers incentives to build affordable housing? If so, what kind?
AA: Yes, Auburn should offer developers incentives which guarantee. I would continue Auburn’s current incentives with storm water runoff fee reduction, 2009 fee rates, and the construction tax refund. I would also implement a few ideas from other cities including building code flexibility, parking minimum reductions based on a land use survey, and a one year major tax reduction on new buildings.
AE: The city recently unveiled a public art installation at Les Gove Park, ‘Crow with Fries.’ How do you feel about public art?
AA: Public art is great. Even better if the artist is local. Even better if the art is interactive, such as the art at Celebration Park in Federal Way where it’s also a play area and/or seating.
AE: Some residents feel the amount spent on this sculpture was too much. Do you agree, if so, why?
AA: Art is subjective, as is its value.
AE: There are several empty commercial spaces available throughout the city. Should Auburn offer incentives for businesses to come to Auburn? If so, what kind?
AA: Not this year. Let’s get our population homed and get them properly paid. Then that increase in economic freedom will bring about an increase in needed business. Let’s not put the cart before the horses.
AE: Do you think our Main Street/downtown is healthy and attractive to consumers? If not, what would you do to change that?
AA: Main St. and downtown is not attractive to consumers because we have competition from cheap online services. To change that, we have to change what downtown provides. Services and events need to be the main goal. Boost the theater, simplify the process for festivals, encourage some AR game event meetups and specialty vendors.
AE: How would you assist small businesses in Auburn?
Candidate did not submit an answer
AE: The Auburn Police Department recently had two fatal officer-involved shootings. What changes, if any, would you make to how these incidents were handled by both the police department and city officials?
AA: The first change I would try to change is the administrative leave with pay would change to leave with back pay if found without fault. Change would also have to come in better self defense training and non-lethal take downs.
AE: If elected, what would be your suggestions to best address resident and business owner’s concerns related to crime?
Candidate did not submit an answer
AE: Auburn’s homeless population is a concern for many residents and business owners. What are your suggestions to address these concerns, while also meeting the needs of these often vulnerable members of society?
AA: Homelessness is a symptom, we have to figure out what the disease is. I believe that focusing on housing and transportation initiatives, we can provide a route to better assist these people who need a hand.
AE: If you are not elected, what would you do to try to help work on ideas or issues that are important to you?
AA: There are some citizen committees that I believe I will apply for if I am not elected. I also intend to spend a little extra time creating a volunteer park clean up group.
We’ll be asking questions again in the general election. Is there something you think should be asked of the candidates? Email [email protected] to let us know and we’ll do our best to include your question!