By Peter Steinbrueck
My family always had a dog as I was growing up, and I have fond memories of each of our family pets. I still have the tags of my last four-footed friend, Ajax, a white lab pup. I lost him under mysterious circumstances. A neighbor who was hostile to dogs repeatedly threatened to "do something" if I couldnít keep Ajax quiet and tethered. After repeated visits to the animal shelter and endless wandering of the streets, I sadly gave up the search. To this day, ten years later I havenít forgotten my beloved Ajax, and hope that he lives somewhere in a caring family.
I am not a dog owner today, and therefore do not frequent the cityís off-leash areas. However, I have toured and observed off-leash areas at Genesee, Magnuson, Upper Golden Gardens, and Westcrest parks. My legislative assistants are dog owners, and are very attune to the need for useable off-leash areas.
3. How would you balance the competing desires for dedicated public spaces such as ballfields, off-leash areas, boat launches, etc.?
Balancing competing interests for use of public recreational open spaces is challenging. Public demand has never been higher for scheduled and unscheduled use of athletic fields and open spaces in the city. It is clear we need more fields on line, and need to increase open space acquisition. Fair and balanced scheduling of different recreational activities at different times of day and throughout the week is a way to accommodate a greater number of people and activities.
4. Seattle Municipal Code states that the Volunteer Park off-leash area is a temporary site, but it will remain open until another location on Capitol Hill can be found for a permanent off-leash area. If no other location can be found on Capitol Hill, as a Councilmember would you vote to make the temporary site a permanent site?
This is highly controversial off-leash area, which has engendered strong opposition from some neighbors and park users. Volunteer Park was promised to be only a temporary off-leash site, and I would not make it a permanent off-leash area unless there was strong community support for it and no alternative location could be found.
5. How would you allocate funding amongst competing city-sponsored recreational activities: i.e. ballfields, off-leash area, boat launches. etc.?
There is limited funding for public recreational activities, and increasing demand. City-supported recreational opportunities need to be fairly and equitably distributed among all user groups. Additional funding for parks and open space could be obtained through a bond measure, a Metropolitan Parks District, and possibly through user fees for and/or voluntary maintenance and upkeep programs.
6. Given that off-leash areas have proved to build community, deter crime, and provide a place for voting, taxpaying citizens to recreate with their family and pets, where would you support siting additional off-leash areas?
Yes, depending on the appropriateness of the location and the availability of funds to support the creation and maintenance of new off-leash areas. Clearly the demand is there. Currently there are three or four sites under consideration for new off-leash areas, including Central Woodland Park, Northacres Park, and City Light Site #3. A Capitol Hill site to replace Volunteer Park is still being sought.
7. When you are elected to the Seattle City Council, will you vote to support off-leash areas?
Yes, depending on the appropriateness of the location and the availability of funds to support off-leash areas. As a councilmember I have supported off-leash areas in the past, including Magnuson Park. I recognize that parks are for the enjoyment of all, and the interests of different user groups needs to be fairly balanced.
8. If you don't respond to this survey, can we assume that you believe dog off-leash-areas are "for the birds"?
(Question Not Applicable)
9. Please add any comments you would like to share with our members and supporters.
As a member of the city Council, it is my job to represent the interests of all citizens fairly and equitably. I believe in informed decision-making and setting public policy for the broadest public good. I have met several times with COLA members to learn more about their issues and concerns. I will be accessible in the future should issues arise.