BurienCity emailed these questions to each of the 17 candidates for Burien City Council seats. Pedro Olguin, who is running for Position 1, recently got back to us. We will post answers from each candidate as they respond.
Pedro E. Olguin
Organizing Coordinator, Teamsters Local 117
Where are you from:
Los Angeles, CA.
How long have you lived in Burien?
I’ve lived in Burien since September of 2016, before that I initially moved to Burien in Oct. of 2009 and resided here for about 2 1/2 years.
In your opinion, what is the best thing about Burien?
The best thing in Burien is our community diversity in people and restaurants, and our parks. Seahurst Park must be one of the best kept secrets.
How will you encourage this aspect of our city?
We need to realize how our community has grown, changed and needs a mechanism to fully integrate all of that diversity, by lowering the barriers to participation. One simple step we can take, let’s translate city documents into the major languages spoken in our community.
What do you think is the most important issue facing Burien today?
We are a community at the crossroads of grow and community identity. We are struggling with diversity and inclusiveness and the question of resource allocation to help address our residents concerns around public safety, homelessness, and airport expansion.
How will you address this issue?
We need to continue to foster solutions-based community conversations on resolving public safety concerns, homelessness, and airport expansion. We need to go beyond the enforcement-only approach to mitigating public safety and homelessness. We need language accessibility for everyone in our community.
What else could we improve, as a community?
Why not provide after school programming that fosters youth programs in the arts, technical trainings, and apprenticeships. Why not look at partnering with other South King municipalities to leverage resources to help mitigate community concerns and provide services that up to today, we’ve been unable to provide.
How will you support the growth of small businesses?
First, we need to review our parking requirements for new small businesses. While the national formula currently being applied to Burien works for large cities, we can do better and lower that requirements to facilitate small business growth. Another possibility is to think about using CDGB grants to look are redeveloping parts of Burien to attract and foster the growth of small businesses.
What is the best way to reduce crime and improve safety?
The only proven mechanism that reduces crime and improves public safety, is providing family wage jobs that move and keep families solidly in the middle class. Short of that, we have to strike a fair balance between public safety and programs that keep vulnerable and at-risk youth out of the streets and into positive and productive activities. In the long-run, an enforcement-only approach does not work, because it does not build community.
How should we address the issue of homelessness?
Homelessness is a concern for many members of our community, unfortunately, it is also the issue which has highlighted our lack of leadership and collaboration among our current city council. We need go beyond the enforcement-only rhetoric. We need to make a real effort to help mitigate homelessness. For example, our city dedicates about $330,000.00 per year in health and human services. Why not earmark some of those funds to hire a dedicate city staff person who will help identify the programming needs and leverage resources to provide services, while collaborating with other municipalities.
What steps should we take to become more environmentally responsible?
As a society we need to take real steps in being stewards of our environment, let’s do our part as a community to positively contribute to that stewardship. Let’s increase our renewable energy use and encourage a stronger recycling program. One of the biggest sources of pollution in our community is the airport. We need to work vigorously as a city to keep the airport accountable and demand a community benefits program to help mitigate airport pollution.
What other goals do you have for your 4 year term, if elected?
This election is critical to our community, it will define what type of Burien we want to establish for the future. I’m running for city council, because I want to positively affect how we shape that future. I want to help build a values-based, inclusive community that views our diversity as an asset. Where we go beyond the divisive rhetoric and empty promises. My commitment is to listen to each of you, whether we agree or not or you vote for me or not. Leadership is about building community and finding common-ground to resolve community concerns. Thank you for taking the time to read my answers and making an informed decision.