Voter Guide 2017

Over the past several months, CENSE has been vetting candidates for City Council. Our goal was to select the candidates who are well-informed and will best represent the community on energy choices and ensure that intelligent, data-driven decisions are being made for our energy future. Details of our selection process are after the following endorsements section.

CENSE Endorsements

Bellevue City Council position 4

Karol Brown
Jared Nieuwenhuis – Endorsed and Won!

CENSE view: Nieuwenhuis engaged with CENSE early, learned about PSE’s projects, and has focused his campaign on strong support for neighborhood issues.

Bellevue City Council position 5

Phillip Yin
Janice Zahn – Endorsed and Won!

CENSE view: Zahn stresses analysis of data and transparency, CENSE priorities for energy projects. Zahn’s experience managing large projects for the Port of Seattle will be an asset when evaluating complex projects like PSE proposes for Bellevue.

Bellevue City Council position 6

Lynne Robinson
Steve Fricke – Endorsed!

CENSE view: Fricke will be a more effective voice for neighborhood interests. Robinson has been good on environmental issues, but she voted to approve PSE’s Lake Hills transmission line. Fricke volunteered his legal expertise to help stop that project.

Newcastle City Council position 6

Margaret Riley
Tamra Kammin – Endorsed and Won!

CENSE view: Kammin has been a supporter of CENSE for years and has a strong professional background that gives us confidence she will serve Newcastle well.

Questions

CENSE asked candidates the following three questions related to PSE’s transmission line projects and Eastside energy plans:

Energize Eastside

PSE’s “Energize Eastside” project is a 1960’s solution for 21st-century energy needs.  CENSE believes modern technology like batteries would provide better year-round reliability for less cost, less safety risk, and less damage to communities and the environment.  Will you help achieve a better outcome for your city?

Lake Hills transmission line

PSE’s “Lake Hills transmission line” threatens 300 trees along East Bellevue’s urban boulevard, 148th Avenue.  CENSE is trying to procure a study of remotely controlled switches and sensors that would deliver better electrical reliability and far less impact on this beautiful street.  Do you support this idea?

Coal Plant Closures

The Olympia City Council has voted to recommend closure of all coal plants serving PSE customers by 2025 to reduce carbon emissions in accord with the Paris Agreement.  PSE says this can be done without sacrificing reliability or any significant increase in electricity bills (less than a dollar per month for most customers).  Would you support a similar vote by your city council?

Candidates’ Answers

Click the [+] next to each question topic to see the candidate’s answer.

Bellevue City Council position 4

Karol Brown

I will work to achieve the best solution I can for Bellevue. I will do everything within my power as a city councilmember to work with neighborhoods, citizens, and PSE to find a solution that everyone can live with.

I believe in having all the facts before making any decisions, and I would certainly be interested in any feasible solutions to the projected power shortfalls.

Yes, I would support a similar vote. We must take action now to combat climate change and reducing the burning of coal is an important and meaningful step in the right direction.

Jared Nieuwenhuis

Yes. Antiquated solutions for our city and its communities can no longer be supported by our leaders and decision makers. With over a billion dollar in cost over the projects lifetime, the data simply doesn’t support the necessity for “Energize Eastside” to manage Bellevue’s future energy needs. We are a city of moms, dads, engineers, teachers, scientists and laborers who all believe in a better environment for our children. Simple, yet modern and effective solutions, are superior then the status quo in which we’ve operated in for too long.

Yes. As a Lake Hills resident and as someone who believes that we need to protect the unique character of our neighborhoods, I support the idea of implementing solutions that would have less impact on this beautiful urban boulevard. On scenic 148th Avenue, we can’t afford to cut down 300 trees that would negatively affect our tree canopy and the overall beauty of our community. Again, these are antiquated solutions from the past that do not belong here in Bellevue. Any idea that protects our environment, increases reliability and doesn’t force me to explain to my child why the “City in a Park” would condone the action of cutting down trees, I strongly support.

The Paris Agreement is a momentous event in our modern history of protecting the environment, propelling society towards less dangerous greenhouse emissions globally. In this endeavor, we all must do our part. With declining snowpack effecting river flow, our current and future energy plans, including our general quality of life in the Pacific Northwest, we must understand not only the environmental impact but also the economic fallout of all our decisions in addressing our environment. Thus, I would support a similar vote with additional steps to further study the issues and understand the short and long-term impacts on our community.

Bellevue City Council position 5

Phillip Yin

Absolutely yes, we can utilise technology to reduce our reliance on fossil fuel relates technologies. We should do everything possible to educate, advocate, and work with elected officials from all backgrounds and levels to work together to achieve those goals.

The removal of trees should be the last resort after other options are fully explored. Should trees be removed, there should be a request to mitigate the impact. The goal is the keep bellevues natural beauty as a priority while balancing the needs of infrastructure.

Absolutely yes, we should support a cleaner city for us and future generations. We should supoort paris agreement. I would work with you, officials, and pse to reach a positive outcome.

Janice Zahn

Yes. I believe the city has an essential duty to follow established due diligence process to ensure PSE complies with all regulatory requirements, be transparent in providing rationale for future energy demand, and justification for how their solution best meets that need. Modern technology is improving and becoming more commercially viable every day. Other cities have demonstrated a drop in electrical power demand with the advent of alternate green energy sources like solar/wind. The challenge will be to identify areas where the city has authority to influence the outcome of an essential utility that is governed by federal and state regulations. I also believe that we should encourage reducing power consumption in our commercial buildings through retro-commissioning and the City should find ways to partner with the private sector to advance this work.

Yes, I believe the idea has merit. While electrical reliability is essential to Bellevue, it is important that the most cost effective and least harmful solution to our environment and our residents be implemented. I would support evaluating viable alternatives and believe that is why the EIS process is a requirement, to ensure that alternatives have been properly vetted and the final solution is the best one. Mitigation of the impacts from the preferred option must also be carefully considered and evaluated. Our tree canopy is important to maintain our clean air, neighborhood esthetics and our overall environment. The question to be answered is whether switches and sensors can provide the necessary level of system reliability to adequately serve the City’s electrical needs.

Absolutely. Coal fired power plants contribute to air pollution while green energy alternatives are already available. With signing the K4C agreement, the City has committed to be strong environmental stewards. Taking this step would show their commitment/leadership to protect the environment for our future generations. From the performance metrics published by the City, it is clear that there is work to be done to reduce our overall energy consumption and reduce our city’s carbon footprint. I believe aggressive goal setting is important to drive environmental progress. Bellevue can be a leader for the environment or take a back seat while other cities and municipalities step forward. My commitment is to be an environmental champion, who will drive the city to be a leader for our environment and reducing our environmental footprint. The Pacific Northwest has many environmental leaders. I believe Bellevue can learn from other cities and implement additional strategies to protect our environment.

Election Information

  • Voter Registration Deadline: October 9th
  • Voter Registration Deadline: October 9th
  • Ballots mailed: October 18th
  • Election day: Tuesday, November 7th

Ballots must be postmarked by November 7th at midnight, or dropped in a ballot box by 8 PM.

Find the nearest ballot box

Get Connected

Connect with us on social media and spread the word to your friends, family and community!

Support CENSE!

Donate

Your donation ensures our full participation in the process!

What else can I do?

As a grassroots organization, our strength comes through member participation.  Together we’ll ensure a safe and smart energy future for our community.

for our monthly newsletter
key stakeholders
a letter to a newspaper's editor
Find out more about ways to donate your time!
Inform your neighbors using our door-to-door kit or help fundraise

Bellevue City Council position 6

Steve Fricke

Whether or not I am elected on the Council, I will always support the best solution to meet Bellevue’s energy needs and to mitigate impact upon on our environment. To decide what the best solution, a group must evaluate all possible alternatives to meet these demands. Before a solution is deemed necessary, the actual problem must be identified – including whether there is an actual need for a restructuring of the power grid to meet future energy demands. Once that issue is identified, then we can look at possible solutions.

I have always supported keeping the trees in place. Hence, I brought my administrative legal action against PSE and the City of Bellevue. I think my actions speak louder than anything I can write here.

The recent Energy Department report concedes that the nation’s electricity system remains reliable today, even with a sharp rise in intermittent wind and solar power, in part because natural gas generators and existing hydropower can easily fill any gaps in renewable generation. Grid operators have plenty of tools available to ensure the domestic electricity system remains stable even as natural gas and renewables increasingly displace coal and nuclear power. Thus, it seems we should be able to move to alternative means to supply our electrical demands and I whole heartily support the Paris Agreement.

Lynne Robinson

I am the only candidate in this race endorsed by the Sierra Club and have long been an advocate of green powered energy, battery storage and distribution systems. My home is signed up for Green Power, I have applied for Tesla roof tiles, and have been driving an energy efficient car since 2005. I am supportive of infrastructure that includes smart grid batteries, efficient storage and distribution of renewables, and standby natural gas generators as part of a viable solution for peak time electricity demands. As a member of the Bellevue City Council, it is not appropriate for me to comment specifically on the Energize Eastside project as I will be serving as a quasi-judicial decision maker and must maintain a neutral stance or risk being removed from the decision making process.

East Bellevue worked hard to create a beautiful urban boulevard down 148th. PSE’s Lake Hills Transmission Line project is not consistent with that urban boulevard design. Any project that can provide safe, reliable power without cutting down 300 trees is an option worthy of consideration. I support a study of viable alternatives to PSE’s proposed project down 148th Avenue, including remotely controlled switches and sensors. And I support CENSE procuring a study to provide PSE important data for their analyses in hopes that PSE may be able to modify the Lake Hills’ Transmission Line project to something less invasive.

The City of Olympia is not a member of the K4C and is writing this letter to express their city’s commitment to the K4C goals. As Bellevue’s council representative to the King County/Cities Climate Collaboration (K4C), I have been instrumental in gaining our City’s support for the K4C goals of “increasing countywide renewable electricity use 20% beyond 2012 levels by 2030; phasing out coal-fired electricity sources by 2025; limiting construction of new natural gas based electricity power plants; and supporting development of increasing amounts of renewable energy sources.” This is part of the K4C Joint Climate Commitments which, with my urging, we signed in 2014. Bellevue is part of a “package of county and city commitments that support increasingly renewable energy sources, in areas such as community solar, green power community challenges, streamlined local renewable energy installation permitting, district energy, and renewable energy sources.”

Newcastle City Council position 6

Tamra Kammin

Yes, I will definitely help to achieve a better outcome for Newcastle. Personally, I have responded to both EIS’s stating my concerns and my husband and I have contributed money to the cause. As a council member, I would request definitive proof of the safety of the project prior to issuing any permits. I would also request a statement on impact to Newcastle from PSE including mitigation. I believe that modern technology is the solution for both reliability and expanded capacity.

I do support this idea even though I am not a Bellevue Candidate.

I would be very suspicious of the potential real impact on customer electricity bills if PSE were to close all of their coal plants. I would need more information and analysis on the situation prior to voting on the recommendation.

Margaret Riley

No Response

Get Connected

Connect with us on social media and spread the word to your friends, family and community!

Support CENSE!

Your donation ensures our full participation in the process!

Donate

What else can I do?

As a grassroots organization, our strength comes through member participation.  Together we’ll ensure a safe and smart energy future for our community.

for our monthly newsletter
key stakeholders
a letter to a newspaper's editor
Find out more about ways to donate your time!
Inform your neighbors using our door-to-door kit or help fundraise