Appointee Erik Paulsen faces Maureen McGoldrick for the position
VANCOUVER — There are three positions on the Vancouver City Council to be decided by Tuesday’s general election, including the Position 2 race between Maureen McGoldrick and Erik Paulsen.
Paulsen was appointed to the Vancouver City Council earlier this year and now seeks election to remain in the position. McGoldrick has no experience as an elected official.
Here is a closer look at each candidate (in alphabetical order):
McGoldrick is now retired. Her professional experience includes practicing law in Southern California in civil, criminal and children’s court. She served as judge pro-tem in Small Claims and Civil Appeals and has also worked as a computer programmer in Southern California and the Pacific Northwest. She has an Education Associate of Arts Degree and a Juris Doctorate.
Her community service includes serving as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate); an organization dedicated to finding permanent homes for children from foster care. In Southern California, she worked with the Speaker’s Bureau for Heal the Bay, an environmental organization dedicated to the preservation of Santa Monica Bay.
In her Voters’ Pamphlet statement, McGoldrick pledged “to fight state-line tolls as the unconstitutional act they are. I’ll work for passage and strict enforcement of tough anti-littering ordinances to clean up our streets and parks. We need to assist small business growth and create the business environment to attract family wage clean jobs. We need additional patrols, cameras or traffic lights around public areas and schools. We need more accessible, affordable public parking near events, parks and small businesses to insure their success. We must require new structures to provide sufficient spaces for all their building tenants.
McGoldrick also addressed the issue of affordable housing. “Agreements regarding real property are not enforceable unless in writing,’’ she stated. “Therefore, we need to require that funds only be allocated after written guarantees are secured. Homelessness is still growing. We must form a strong partnership with our county, federal agencies and community organizations. We must mobilize all resources to find a compassionate solution to insure a favorable outcome. I will work to insure fair and equal treatment of all city employees. I believe we need a more transparent government.’’
Paulsen currently serves as the senior vice president of US Bancorp Wealth Management. He has 26 years financial services experience and more than 20 years management experience. Paulsen earned a M.B.A Degree from Washington State University and a B.S. Degree in Economics at Portland State University. He is a graduate of Hudson’s Bay High School and is an alum of Leadership Clark County. His community service includes serving as chair of the Vancouver Planning Commission; board members for Southwest Clean Air Agency; serving on the city of Vancouver Affordable Housing Task Force, with the Clark County Food Bank, Friends of Trees and Washington Trails Association.
In his Voters’ Pamphlet statement, Paulsen said, “I am grateful for the opportunity to serve our community in this way. With strong business experience and leadership in volunteer service, I bring a proven track record of thoughtful, collaborative leadership that puts citizens first. Vancouver is changing rapidly — continued population growth, increasingly diverse demographics, urbanization and revitalization, parking and traffic challenges, and new housing and employment across the whole city. These changes bring a need for visionary leaders who understand issues, seek diverse views, and act decisively to help shape our future.
“Vancouver needs more economic development and family wage jobs,’’ Paulsen added. “I understand both (the) private and public sector and what it takes to attract and retain jobs. We also need more affordable housing and more housing choices for our changing community. Transportation challenges must be met with more transportation infrastructure to support all modes, from drivers to bikers, walkers, and commuters using public transit. Vancouver is where I was raised, educated, built a career and raised a family. Vancouver is my home. I care deeply about our city, our citizens, our future, and the legacy we are creating for our children and grandchildren.’’
League of Women Voters Candidate Forum
Both McGoldrick and Paulsen participated in a recent candidate forum held by the League of Women Voters of Clark County.
Among the questions asked of the candidate was: The Vancouver Police Department is now working with Perth Police Executive Research Forum, a national agency, to review use of force and to make recommendations. What are your expectations?
Paulsen: “I think before answering this question, it’s important to acknowledge why Perth was hired by the City of Vancouver to come and do that analysis. It really was as a result of some tragic events in our community at the beginning of this year that affected deeply a lot of our community members. They were asking for action and this is one of the ways that the city is taking action. I had an opportunity to visit with some of the folks from Perth when they were here doing their work. I found them to have a depth of experience and a proven track record of success working with communities all throughout our country. They are really committed to community engagement and that was exemplified when they tried to convene a community forum at a location that had a little bit of a meaning that was not well understood when it was scheduled. As a result of that, in response to that, they found an alternate location to meet with folks to show sensitivity to that. As far as what I expect, I expect a thoughtful, thorough and actionable recommendations that we can use to improve the level of accountability with our police force and make it this a safe and welcoming community for all.’’
McGoldrick: “First, hopefully, that we will end up with police better trained in a true transparency that we can all be happy with. However, we’re talking about the police force, I’d like to say that I live on the other side of Esther Short Park from the Smith Tower. And, our police did a marvelous job of ensuring the safety of our neighborhood. They handled things, in addition, in a compassionate manner, so I give them my thanks. The police and their training has been a huge issue lately, along with the result of use of force earlier this year.
“I am aware of the Police Executive Research Forum, doing the independent review of the police use of force protocols and training and they will explore the use of dash and body cams and the worth of the use of binary cams and dash cams. The cost versus settlements are much lower on a yearly basis despite more personnel. Spokane had a reduction in citizen complaints of 78 percent when they went to use those tools. Our willingness to seek improvement led to a grant we just got … which will give us three full-time mental health responders while police make sure the situation is safe. They can resolve the behavioral issue going forward. I will recommend a Volunteer Citizens Board, which will include citizens and mental health experts me to evaluate what is being done locally.’’
The candidates were also asked about the city’s Stronger Vancouver initiative, which proposes increasing taxes by about $30 million a year and what do they see as the pros and cons of this program?
McGoldrick: “Stronger Vancouver, to my understanding, is an almost 60-item wish list that would cost the taxpayers $3.1 million a year divided between business tax property tax and additional taxes and fees upon 185,000 residents. My concerns are many. This started as a police resourcing package, yet it does not promise more police will be hired, a priority for most neighborhoods. Any individual item that is truly needed one should be done as an individual project when the time is right. I’ve heard many concerns about the impact proposed projects would have on a particular neighborhood. The citizens I have talked to are more concerned about the homeless getting overnight shelters, and the housing needed to get them off the streets. This is all for the name of growth. The Washington Growth Management Act designates urban areas and provides for their gradual expansion so that growth can be driven by quality of life concerns, rather than solely by economic desires. In compliance, we will be eligible for various funding opportunities. We need to look at needs versus wants. It’s time for Vancouver to live within its means. Families and business are the true strength to Vancouver and they’re now faced with rising taxes at every level. Those who love the small-town feel of Vancouver, like I do, are worried about pushing up the cost of living and making Vancouver unaffordable in its current form. I don’t believe it is right for Vancouver now.’’
Paulsen: “When we talk about stronger Vancouver, it’s important to think about vision. It’s important to think about the things in our community that we value and appreciate. So, Esther Short Park was not possible without visionary leadership. The Columbia Tech Center, out in the east, which is the largest employment area in the entire city, was not possible without the visionary leadership. The Waterfront Park, which is one of our newest amenities, was not possible without visionary leadership. These are things that we love, and they required vision and investment. The pros of Stronger Vancouver are that it addresses the problem statement that came to us from the community, which is we need to address the structural deficit. We have a growing population. We have flat revenues and declining services per capita that’s unsustainable. And, we also want a predictable tax environment for the next 10 years. It addresses deferred maintenance and critical areas such as our operations center, our fire department, and some of our existing parks. It enhances services and crucial areas including homelessness, which is a key issue in our community. And, it makes sense for strategic investments throughout our community, including area planning for economic development in future growth for jobs. It’s visionary. Some of the cons are that it’s a big investment. It’s a 10-year commitment. It’s difficult and challenging to balance the revenue sources between businesses and property owners. It’s comprehensive. So, it has a lot of moving parts because it is a 10-year program. It’s aspirational and it’s visionary. And, it does somewhat go beyond the scope of the original problem statement. But, it’s necessary, and we can either make change happen or let change happen to us. I’d rather choose ourselves.’’