Burien City Council candidates respond to questions on climate from Burien People for Climate Action
Burien People for Climate Action, a local group focused on local actions cities can take to combat climate change sent the candidates for Burien City Council a survey of 5 questions, to educate voters about their views on climate issues. They got responses from 5 of the 8 candidates (the other 3 declined to answer) and shared the results with Westside Seattle. Here are those results.
Do you acknowledge that the concentration of heat-trapping carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere is increasing rapidly, is the highest it has ever been, and that human Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHGs) are the primary cause?
- Dorsey- Yes
- Garcia- Yes
- Marx- Yes
- Matta- Yes
- Moore- Yes
Do you support the goal of the King County-Cities Climate Collaboration (K4C) set by the County and 16 Cities (including Burien) to reduce GHG emissions to 50% of 2007 levels by 2030?
In recognition of our current climate emergency and its connection with almost all of our current local and universal societal issues, do you plan to include climate considerations in all of your policymaking decisions?
- Dorsey- Of course
- Garcia- Yes
- Marx- Yes. I plan to reach out to those who are experts in this field, and community activists who have been working on climate actions, when developing new policies.
- Matta- My plan goes beyond considerations, hinging rather on intentional prioritization of climate policy. That being said, I will also lead with understanding. Sustainable living is a privilege. It is also something that has been widely erased from Diasporic cultures within the US. It is difficult to think more intentionally about the way you are living (i.e. reduce, reuse, recycle as an entry-level example) when you are just trying to survive. I want to make sure that, as we continue this conversation around personal and public accountability on climate pledging, that we lead with understanding and cultural responsivity.
- Moore- Absolutely. I sadly predict that by the end of my 4 year term, everyone will be doing this because it will be so necessary.
According to the GHG Emissions Inventory recently completed by the City, approximately 80% of Burienâ€™s carbon emissions come from transportation and buildings. As a Councilmember, what steps would you take to lower carbon emissions from these sources in Burien?
- Dorsey-Identify alternative sources/measures that will benefit the climate and align with People for Climate Action goals while minimizing the impact (financially and physically) on those sources we target. In short, create win-win-win situations.
- Garcia- A transition away from an extractive, fossil fuel based economy towards a human-centered, renewable energy powered economy is required for humanity to survive climate change. As our region continues to adapt to both a rapidly growing population and climate change. I will double down on my work on the Planning commission where we made recommendations to reduce the need for vehicles and improvements on public transit in how the city's planning policies approached housing growth. From Solar to green building best practices to strengthening our tree protections policy. All of our multifamily housing practices need to focus on public transit, walkability, and biking as their main forms of transportation and protecting and investing in our 350 acres of parks will be a critical component since we can't expect residents to do the same with their trees and green space on their property if we as a city don't lead by example.
- Marx- I believe that we need to require the planting of native trees and other climate-benefitting plants when we go through neighborhood redesigns (such as the Ambaum Boulevard and Boulevard Park redesign that is coming up), and with every new building we allow to be built. I will also continue to advocate for carbon neutral transportation choices in our city.
- Matta- The hats I wear outside of city council are what have primarily influenced my ideas for this question. As a contractor, I am directly responsible for planning, making and molding the landscape and functionality of potential property. In order to ensure that new builds in Burien and renovations alike subscribe to our overall city climate plan objectives, we need to be able to sustain active and healthy relationships with not just the businesses finding a home for themselves in our city, but the contractors that create those homes. I am positioned to do just that as I stand between the crosshairs of trade and public service. Transportation, however, ties in to the culture of Burien. In the long term, creating an incentive around 'green' vehicles and building more accessible charging stations is something I can clearly see and support. Also, incentivizing public transportation as a means of commuting, which many do take (or must take) advantage of in Burien, with a city sponsored subsidized fair rate. Additionally, in downtown Burien, introducing more 'Lime Bike/Scooter' hubs could solve for saturation of traffic/congestion in the heart of our city.
- Moore- Bring back rapid transit options to Burien and add new ones. Shuttle bus to key community services and amenities. Encourage businesses to incentivize transit riding through small perks. Work with port to renew expiring port packages (insulation) and install new ones on houses impacted by the airport; push back against more frequent flights. Incentivize making existing buildings more efficient, and require it for new construction. Zone for clustered housing and services, make walkability and bikeability a goal in all neighborhoods; encourage services/shopping withing walk/bike/wheelchair distance of more homes. Support working remotely whenever feasible. Replace aging city fleet vehicles with electric. Coordinate with other cities and King County to assess the impact of 509 and 518 on Burien's GHG emissions. Explore work from home options for city employees and contractors when possible/compatible with customer care. Consider electric vehicles in city fleet, and charging stations. Continue virtual public meeting options after pandemic ends to allow less driving. K4C and Burien PCA is already doing hard work on climate issues and I would be guided by their advice.
What are some other specific things you would do as a City Councilmember to combat climate change locally in Burien?
- Dorsey- I would defer to the experts on the matter and take their suggestions into consideration, while also prioritizing the community and businesses of Burien.
- Garcia- I have worked toward combating climate change by being advocating and recommending for more housing policies which promote transit-oriented development. This consistent planning for healthy density support with sufficient public transit to support less need for residential and commercial parking as a way to set in motion more investment in mass transit which would reduce the use of car and air pollution. As well as continue to recommend for expansion, protection, and enforcement of urban tree canopy in our city as well as moving away from single use plastics and promoting healthy alternative to waste like composting in the city's policies and ordinances. Which I have already started to work on while serving on both the Planning and Business Commissions
- Marx- I will pursue sustainable urban planning by asking to prioritize green roofs, green streets that will capture stormwater, and pavements that allow water to percolate through. I have advocated for "pocket parks", and will continue to do so as well, as well as moving us swiftly away from plastic products.
- Matta- Reaching and relating. The Climate Movement we know right now is a reflection of not who is most effected by the climate emergency or even who/what is most responsible for it. It is rather comprised of those who have the capacity or the choice to be sustainable. I want to contribute to expanding that capacity so that is can reach those of us in Burien, who are in areas severely impacted by noise and bio pollution from the airport. Those who do not have the luxury of buying more energy/fuel efficient or green vehicles to support long commutes. Those who might of immigrated here because of the displacing impact of the climate emergency across the globe. Working on people power alongside identifying what these people can benefit from in our growing city climate plan, that's what I can do. That's what I'm already doing.
- Moore- Develop new tree canopy in parks, public spaces and private property; support trees until they are strong; ivy removal projects with volunteers to maintain mature tree canopy. Grants for neighborhood solar projects, outreach to neighborhoods to identify and provide transit at key points. More park and ride options. Work with the school district and local unions to help prepare youth green jobs, and to prepare schools for rooftop solar. Consider focusing one of Burien's festivals on climate and the environment. Support our Parks and Recreation program to get people outdoors. I would listen to experts and groups like K4C who have been doing this work for years. Climate change is already here, and I will strongly advocate for an emergency plan for heat and smoke (such as cooling centers) in summer, flood mitigation in winter, and a stronger electrical grid for the extreme climate events we expect in coming years, ideally with coordination and financial support from King County. I would survey neighborhoods to see what impacts they are already feeling, and prioritize addressing these hyperlocal effects of climate change. I would look at tree equity as a major mitigator of both heat and flood damage, and target tree renovation in places that need it most