Councilwoman Deb Ruehle urges residents to take precautions as COVID-19 cases rise and hospital beds are not quickly available.
(Courtesy photo Deb Ruehle)
1. I got involved to be of service. Concern for the connectivity/safety (walking and biking) in town was why I initially got involved on the planning commission. We’ve made steady progress over the years. For example, we got the sidewalk at Ontario and Ella completed this summer. There is now a walking/biking connection for residents from many neighborhoods, and Festival goers, to access our stadium. Children can get to Washington Elementary without being on the road.
2. I am the only incumbent running for city council. I have sat on the council for six years. I have the institutional memory, follow through and experience necessary to continue to build consensus. I have strong relationships with staff and community organizations. I will continue to act as a liaison to these organizations.
3. Continuing to work to make Sandpoint a livable community for all is my greatest concern for our community. Our median incomes are lower than the national average, while median home prices continue to rise.
4. There is a shortage of housing, especially affordable housing. Comparing data from similar towns, the median income is the crux. We must find creative ways to foster a homegrown highly educated/skilled workforce. We must prioritize spending on affordable housing. We must continue to look for creative solutions within the planning department. For example, we changed ADU standards for more housing density while preserving the character of Sandpoint. For every dollar spent on economic development, we need to spend two on affordable housing.
5. Our top priority in forging the Parks and Recreation Master Plan must be keeping all the stakeholders, especially citizens, intimately involved in the decision making process. I see the stakeholders being The Edgewater, Trinity, Festival, LPOSD and athletes (clubs, teams, athletic organizations) that depend on our playing fields and citizens that recreate in our parks. Open lines of communication are essential — feel free to email, call or stop me on the street to talk.
6. It is now state mandated that the comprehensive plan include a section that specifically addresses the development surrounding the airport.
The planning staff has been directed to update the plan to current standards and best practices, in an effort to keep the public safe and allow landowners as much flexibility as possible, without negatively impacting the current and future operations of the airport.
It is important to involve all stakeholders in this process.
7. I continue to advocate for a full EIS prior to proceeding. At our Sep-tember council meeting, I expressed my concern regarding increased noise pollution on our health. Other considerations are increased air pollution, economic impacts of construction on the city and the environmental impacts in the event of an accident. Speaking of railroads, let’s get signs up at Railroad crossings that ask people not to idle their engines while waiting for trains to pass.
8. My dream legacy is to create a conservancy for our watershed — to protect this amazing asset, for clean water, to educate and recreate in perpetuity without fear of development. As our city grows, it is vital that we plan for the future of our children’s children.
9. As the only incumbent, I understand the flow of my duties and obligations. I am fortunate to have a flexible work schedule that allows me to attend meetings and committee during the typical workday.
I make great use of my lunch hour to get questions answered by city staff in person when needed. Making contact in person is essential to conduct the business of the city.
10. I look forward to getting back to giving more energy to the projects I’ve been working on. I will enjoy taking a long break from self-promotion, which doesn’t come easily for me. Lastly, I am eager to spend more time with my boys as they have been flying solo a lot lately.
11. You can’t please everyone. I’m sure there are folks out there who don’t like the direction the city has taken during my time in office. However, I will listen to critics attentively to understand their needs while not taking their words personally. I’m a scientist at heart, so I will likely respond with data driven answers. If I don’t have the answer, I’ll say so and then work to find the answer.
12. Get involved in your government. I cannot make informed choices if I am not informed.
If you don’t like something, use the Engage Sandpoint app, sandpointidaho.gov/your-government/engagesandpoint, and let me, your representative, know. Sign up for alerts if you don’t feel you are getting informed. It takes all of us to make a difference, to make a great city where everyone is welcome.
13. What is your favorite local event?
Mine is the Pend Oreille Bay Trail Run, because it is family friendly and an opportunity for all ages to participate. The Bay Trail is a wonderful example of the city partnering with other entities for the benefit of all citizens.