Robyn Mulenga is running for Auburn City Council Position No. 5. Her opponents are Anthony Ase and Ryan Burnett.
Auburn Examiner: What part of Auburn do you live in and why did you choose to live there?
Robyn Mulenga: I am proud to be a resident of Auburn, living near Lea Hill and continue to live in this area of District 2 as a dedicated elected board member of the Auburn School District.
AE: Where are your favorite places to spend time in our town?
RM: My favorite place to spend time in Auburn is at the Auburn Avenue Theater. It is important to support the local community arts programs.
AE: Where do you do your grocery shopping?
RM: I shop at various stores around Auburn. And I want to encourage residents to visit Auburn’s Farmer’s market as a convenient place to pick up fresh produce on Sundays and provide support to local growers and businesses.
AE: How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process in our city?
RM: I want to make sure to hear from residents on concerns in open public forums.
AE: What are your main infrastructure goals for Auburn?
RM: I would like to fix potholes and maintain our roads.
AE: How would you evaluate whether a new piece of public infrastructure in our city (road, bridge, etc.) would be worth implementing?
RM: I would create a study to determine what new public infrastructure would be worth implementing.
AE: If elected, what steps would you take to put our city on a firmer financial footing?
RM: If elected, I would like to encourage more businesses to come to our city which will bring more tax revenue.
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?
RM: Upon being elected, I would like to review the current budget and find what’s most equitable for everyone.
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?
RM: As the city and counties work in partnership to continue to come up with solutions for new affordable housing, I think it’s important to maintain Auburn’s current affordable housing communities. There are several communities that have 60-70-year-old housing, and those need to be kept for families to continue to live and grow through updated building codes.
AE: Should Auburn offer developers incentives to build affordable housing? If so, what kind?
RM: Yes, the city should provide tax exemptions and credits for affordable housing development.
AE: The city recently unveiled a public art installation at Les Gove Park, ‘Crow with Fries.’ How do you feel about public art?
RM: Public art helps reinforce civic pride. And I believe the work of the Auburn Arts Commission in beautifying the city is important. I enjoy seeing visual art in our surrounding parks and facilities.
AE: Some residents feel the amount spent on this sculpture was too much. Do you agree, if so, why?
RM: With the renovation of the Les Grove Park that extends to Auburn Way South, state law requires all new construction spend a small percentage of the project cost on public art. The Auburn Arts Commission determines what and where such art is installed. The crow was purchased with construction art proceeds. I believe in seeking wide community input on such decisions. The Art Commission is one of many commissions and boards where citizens can contribute to the quality of life in Auburn.
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?
RM: Yes, the city council should review laws surrounding remodeling and expanding and reduce the cost of building here.
AE: Do you think our Main Street/downtown is healthy and attractive to consumers? If not, what would you do to change that?
RM: As a consumer myself, I enjoy the downtown area of Auburn. And I am excited about the new facades that will be going up on local businesses soon. This will elevate the businesses appeal, thus attracting more consumers.
AE: How would you assist small businesses in Auburn?
RM: Through my work with the Cities and Schools Forum, we are working to prepare our students to take on positions that our Auburn employers need filled.
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?
RM: While officer-involved shootings are terrible tragedies for everyone involved, the Auburn Police Department is highly trained to respond to these types of incidents and I would encourage continued training.
AE: If elected, what would be your suggestions to best address resident and business owner’s concerns related to crime?
RM: It’s important to have continued positive interactions between police and residents where people feel like they know their local police force personally. And have a strong police presence where they are doing the work of sustaining order and ensuring residents’ safety.
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?
RM: I would like to provide rest areas for the homeless so they can have access to shower and laundry services in a clean safe environment.
AE: If you are not elected, what would you do to try to help work on ideas or issues that are important to you?
RM: I would continue to try to make an impact on our city by joining a citizen’s board, committee or commission
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!