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Ryan Olson Candidate Questionnaire

Candidates were asked to try to keep each response to 150 words.

Position: City Council, Pos 4
Opponent: Mark Kroese

Why did you choose to run for council?

I decided to run for City Council while working on the Clyde Hill Planning Commission. My work on the Commission made me realize that the knowledge and experience I gained in my Commercial Real Estate career gave me a unique perspective that is otherwise missing on the Council. My experience with City codes and zoning, as well as my work with developers, have given me a strong understanding of how to protect Clyde Hill from outside forces, including state legislation that has weakened the City’s ability to determine its own zoning and uses. I will use my knowledge to mitigate the impacts.   

What is your plan to solve the budget crisis?

I appreciate creative ideas to solve our city’s budget deficit.  I plan to exhaust every option possible instead of jumping to a tax increase. I can use my experience to explore real estate based solutions to increase revenue and services by identifying property in the city to create or allow new services like daycare, adult care, or after-school facilities like music, language-immersion school, etc., so the city can collect rent for those facilities to offset the deficit burden. 

How would you handle conflicts of interest?

In the last several years, we’ve seen firsthand that a city councilperson’s personal agenda is detrimental to the functionality and cohesiveness of the council.  I have no personal agenda. I am content with how the city was run for the 40 years prior to the last several years and am not looking to change the rules for my personal benefit. We need to get back to running the city more effectively and for the benefit of the community as a whole. 

If you could wave your hand and make one change to the city code, what would it be and why?

I would require a Balanced Budget for the City.  To be sustainable, we must not continue to spend beyond our means. I think we should get creative on new sources of revenue, and I know there are ways that the City could be more thrifty with its spending. The budget gap is not insurmountable, we absolutely can do this without laying off staff or raising taxes, but it will take commitment and creativity to get it done.  

What is the top concern you’ve heard from residents?

The top concern I have heard from residents is about maintaining safety.  As the area around us is becoming more unsafe, the people I’m talking to have real concerns about safety for themselves and their families. King County’s new homeless shelter located just on the other side of 520 is an unknown entity for safety. I will be watching to see if our current police force has the capacity to protect us from any unintended consequences that it may bring.  For me, nothing is more important than our residents’ safety. 

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