The North Coast News and Daily World have submitted a set of questions to all of the 18 candidates for Ocean Shores City Council and mayor. For the next few weeks, we will publish their responses, organized by the office they are seeking.
Our first article features candidates for City Council position 7. This a two-year term, the remainder of the term that the late Robert Crumpacker was elected to in 2017. Diane Solem was appointed to replace him in April, 2018, and resigned that fall to become the city’s marketing manager. Eric Noble was appointed to replace her. The primary election on August 6 pits Noble against challengers David Linn and Brian Ferguson.
Noble, 57, is a native of El Paso, Texas, moved to Ocean Shores in June, 2014, from Los Osos, California, is General Manager of the Wyndham Destinations Mariner Village resort and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, Minnesota. He enjoys crabbing, fishing and raising his own oysters.
Linn, 70, is a native of Lima, Ohio, moved to Ocean Shores in December, 2008 from Denver, Colorado, is currently retired, formerly a manufacturing engineer for 10 years and investment manager for 30 years, and earned a master’s degree in finance from Ohio State University. He volunteers with Wobbly Cart Farm and The Center for Biological Diversity, and enjoys gardening, developing wildlife habitat, and photography.
Ferguson, 39, has lived in Ocean Shores for five years and is a musician. He did not provide any additional background information or a photo.
The questions and responses follow:
What is the number one thing you’d like to see the City accomplish in the next four years? What will you do to make that happen?
Noble: I would like to see Ocean Shores get a much better handle on our environmental issues and practices. Ocean Shores is a very unique and fragile ecosystem. We have a problem with litter in the city and on our beaches. We need to coordinate with our Waste management company to figure out how we can get containers that do not blow over in high winds, we should have nice Dumpsters on our beach approaches and garbage cans in the city for the tourists and coordinate with local businesses to get biodegradable bags and containers to lessen the garbage that washes into the ocean. We also need much better signage on the beach approaches to educate the public on the impact we all have and how to better mitigate that impact when visiting the ocean. This is number 1 of a few things I would like to see moving forward.
Linn: While there are a number of things that I would like to accomplish such as environmental enhancement and public safety, the number one item over this time period would be improved communication between the city government and the citizens of Ocean Shores. I feel that there is far too much miscommunication, which creates misunderstanding and distrust. The government could help by making information more readily available through postings on its website and we all could help by engaging in more civil and respectful discussion. In addition, the mayor and/or the new administrator could hold periodic town hall type meetings to explain decisions and answer questions. I would try to encourage more open communication and more respectful dialogue.
Ferguson: I would like to see a lifeguard program and life guard towers. I am working with others to make this happen asap. One death in the water is too many. Safety first! Also meet the need of Ocean Shores and our visitors.
Should the City prohibit homeless shelters and services in certain areas, Which areas and why?
Noble: Yes I feel we should. We need to have a comprehensive plan to deal with our citizens who are struggling. We should have shelter for them but also counseling and job training. This is a lot to ask a small city but I feel we can do it on a small scale. It should be close to services that can help them such as the food bank and senior center and not just anywhere in the city.
Linn: Ocean Shores, working in coordination with other local cities, the county and state governments, should engage with local non-governmental organizations such as churches and social service groups, to provide necessary services for those in our community who are homeless. The city should allow homeless shelters in areas where they are permitted under the current zoning code. I presume that most of that would be in areas zoned for multifamily development. I think that homeless services should be allowed in areas currently zoned for commercial activity. I think that helping homeless persons should not require any extraordinary measures but could be handled in the normal course of city business. I believe that we have an obligation to help support our neighbors in distress and help them get back on their feet.
Ferguson: If a homeless shelter is built, I am sure it will have proper planning. We should protect our parks and beaches for future use.
Are you satisfied with the direction the city is taking with the Convention Center? If not, what would you have it do differently?
Noble: At this time I am, with the addition of Diane Solem as the new manager I feel she will move the Convention Center forward and begin to capitalize on the potential it has. She just needs the city’s support and she will excel in her position.
Linn: I have no significant issues with the way the city is handling the convention center. While there are always opportunities to improve operations, I do not see any need for drastic changes in the way that it is currently being operated. I think there should be a sustained effort to attract new and varied types of conferences that will ensure continued demand for convention space. The convention center physical property should be properly maintained and improved to make it an attractive destination. Fast-charge electrical hookups should be installed in the parking lot for our visitors who drive here in electric vehicles allowing them to “top up” their batteries before they leave for home.
Ferguson: I think we are in the right direction with events. Solem just needs the right people to work with to make it better.
Wouldn’t it be great if Ocean Shores could ____ (fill in the blank)?
Noble: Wouldn’t it be great if Ocean Shores could just get along and at times agree to disagree? We need to have reasonable and informed conversations about the multiple different issues that come up. I am not a fan of the mob mentality.
Linn: Wouldn’t be great if Ocean Shores could market itself as a green and sustainable community? We could take advantage of the natural beauty and the abundance of wildlife along with the ocean to attract visitors and tourists who would view it as a relief from the pressures of life in larger cities. The preservation the Weatherwax Property shows what can be done to make our community a more livable place. With proper vision, we could become a leading-edge community in sustainability. We could adopt building design recommendations using basic LEED guidelines to improve energy efficiency. We could consider Salmon Safe recommendations for dealing with stormwater runoff, erosion prevention and sediment control to protect our waterways. And we should look at the Dark Skies Initiative to help control light pollution in our city. This small peninsula located off the Olympic Peninsula is the ideal location for implementing this vision.
Ferguson: … elect Brian Ferguson.