Q & A with new City Councilmember Diane Buckshnis

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Meet your newest Edmonds City Councilmember, Diane Buckshnis, who was appointed to the Edmonds City Council last week to fill Council Position No. 4.

Diane Buckshnis

Q: What would like your constituents to know about you?

A: I do not consider myself a politician and have no political aspirations other than to serve my Edmonds community. I care deeply about Edmonds and truly believe community interests should come first. I am honored by the trust and responsibility that supporters and elected city council members have bestowed upon me. In return, I intend to respect citizens’ concerns and listen to ALL sides of the story before making an informed decision. I am a team player and intend on representing the voices of our citizens to the best of my ability.

Q: What do you believe is the most important issue facing the City Council in 2010?

In addition to supporting public safety, our youth and seniors, a “Green Edmonds” through environmental awareness and incentives, and addressing storm water control to protect our properties, watershed and Puget Sound, I am committed to the following:  fiscal responsibility, a sustainable economic development that respects our community’s values, and government accountability and transparency. We all know that change takes time and as a member of the City Council team, l will work on these aforementioned issues. More importantly, I believe that in order to move policies forward that reflect solid principles, we need to solicit involvement from the stakeholders of this City (i.e. YOU).  We must all work together to ensure that citizens understand our reasoning and gain public trust.

Simply put: The most important issue facing our city is financial stability that allows continued delivery of services that our community has come to expect. Public trust, financial transparency and responsible economic development will be key factors in our ability to forthrightly address this issue for the near and long term.

Q: What are your top three priorities for the year?

My first priority is to become accustomed to City Council processes and establish myself as a team player with the other Council members. This priority means finding areas of philosophical commonality with each City Council member and demonstrating ways in which my banker and banking regulator background can assist each individual with understanding the importance of the availability of financial information to all citizens.

My second priority is to work with my fellow Council members in researching and implementing methods and a vision to develop economic sustainability.I would like to work with staff, the Economic Development Commission, the Port of Edmonds, our wonderful arts community and local businesses to better “brand” our City with the intent to bring in more businesses and tourism while addressing the individual needs of our several business districts and surrounding neighborhoods.

My third priority is recognizing that our very special geography and environment are key elements of our “brand” and quality of life, and I will continue to support programs that raise public awareness and provide incentives for sustainable practices. In Edmonds, we are blessed with many volunteer organizations such as the Off-Leash Area Edmonds, Edmonds Floretum Garden Club, Edmonds Mural Society, The Rose House, Sustainable Edmonds, the Backyard Wildlife Habitat Community Certification Project and Friends of the Marsh, as well as many other organizations and committed individuals that devote their own time to many causes. any of these organizations already know that as someone who respects and values public involvement, I wil be open to their ideas and concerns.

Q: Do you have ideas for engaging the public in conversations about important city issues?

The first step is to make it clear how much I value public input and like to hear ALL sides of the story in order to understand the situation and make an informed decision. I truly believe that respectful public discourse with the council and the administration (and amongst the citizenry) is of paramount importance if we are to move forward on the issues facing our city, and I appreciate the opportunity in this forum to communicate this intent. I understand that we can’t ake everyone happy all of the time; but if we listen respectfully and thoughtfully to each other, I believe we can find areas of agreement on issues that we once thought we could not.

Secondly, soliciting public involvement should be a proactive process and not simply limited to public hearings and audience comments at council meetings. Like Council President Bernheim, I would like to hold neighborhood meetings in various areas of Edmonds to give constituents an opportunity for discussion in less formal situations. While I was door-belling, I learned so much about our community, and I believe that many good ideas and perspectives can come from citizens who are not necessarily engaged in issues directly on an ongoing basis. We must proactively solicit these inputs if Council is to represent the entire Edmonds community.

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