After living in Sammamish for 15 years, Pamela Randolph, 62, is running for city council for the first time on a platform of fiscal conservatism.
In an interview with the Sammamish Independent, she said she is most concerned over the city’s current finances. She believes that Sammamish has a spending problem, pointing to the city’s current $5 million operational deficit.
However, Randolph is opposed to raising taxes to close that deficit, citing the cost of housing and property taxes in Sammamish. She pointed out that her own son lives in a condo she owns in Klahanie because he cannot afford housing in the area. She also expressed concern over retirees who are no longer able to afford housing in Sammamish, some of whom have lived here for decades.
“I do believe that people who work in the community should be able to live in the community,” Randolph said. “Unfortunately with property taxes the way they are, and [without much] affordable housing, [there is] another set of challenges.”
Randolph said she would attend a conference in Snoqualmie to learn about ways to implement affordable housing. During the interview, she did not provide any solutions that Sammamish should explore.
Instead of raising taxes, Randolph is focused on making budget cuts, but also did not offer specifics on where she would cut. She said she would encourage “synergizing” city staff in sharing areas of responsibility, and would like to see different departments sharing multiple tasks. Randolph did not answer an email from the Sammamish Independent inquiring if this meant reducing city staff or services.
While she praised the work of the recent Fiscal Sustainability Taskforce, she questioned whether the city council should have taken more responsibility for managing the budget.
“I’m not sure why they felt [creating the Fiscal Sustainability Taskforce] was necessary to do because they are the ones entrusted with this responsibility,” Randolph said.
Randolph worked in local government for more than three decades, in areas such as wastewater treatment, regulatory compliance, and building sustainability at King County, City of Tacoma, and City of Edmonds. She believes her experience will be an asset in helping the city sort through its current budget situation.
Randolph’s other focus is on strengthening environment protections over any new, planned development in the city. She believes the city is not taking enough action to protect lakes and streams, pointing to potential impacts to storm systems whenever concrete is placed as an example of a risk that people should be aware of.
“We say we’re concerned about the environment,” she said. “But we’re doing things that are a little bit counterintuitive to that.”
When asked what actions she would take to improve the city’s environmental response, she did not provide a clear answer on specific rules the city should adopt. She only said that Sammamish should limit growth to areas that do not harm lakes and streams.
If elected, Randolph said that she wants to ensure that all voices of the community are taken into account to improve solutions to the city’s complex problems. She pledged to listen to many perspectives even if she disagrees with them.
“Once we understand where people are coming from, the solutions become easier,” Randolph said.
Pamela Randoph is running for Sammamish City Council, position #3.