Ocean Shores mayoral candidates Q&A

  • Thu Jul 11th, 2019 10:30am
  • News

By Scott D. Johnston

For Grays Harbor News Group

The North Coast News continues its series on the responses of candidates for elected office in Ocean Shores to a set of questions about their views. There are four candidates for mayor facing off in the primary election Aug. 6.

Crystal Dingler, 74, was first elected mayor in 2011 with a 49.6% plurality win against Bruce Leven and write-in candidate Jim Jordan, and was re-elected in 2015 with 61.4% of the vote against Susan Conniry. She was born in Seattle and she and her husband, Dean, moved to Ocean Shores from Kenmore in 2004. She has been a grant and budget manager and done technology licensing at the University of Washington, worked at Allied Signal/Sunstrand in business development and teaching continuous improvement. In 1997 she earned a Juris Doctor degree at Seattle University School of Law and began a private practice specializing in business law.

She has been an Ocean Shores City Council member, Library Board president, North Beach Community Television Board member, OS Friends of the Library, president, founder and producer of the Nonprofit Leaders Conference for Coastal and SW WA, SW Regional Transportation Planning Organization chair, and member of the Washington Coastal Marine Advisory Council to the governor, Surfrider Leadership Academy alumni, Greater Grays Harbor Board and Coast Works Alliance Innovation Network. Dingler’s interests include travel, research and genealogy. She developed and actively maintains five genealogy county websites and is co-authoring a series of genealogy resource books.

Susan Conniry was elected to the City Council in 2017 when she defeated two-term incumbent John Lynn with 52.2% of the vote. She is a former OS Planning Commission member and Grays Harbor County Board of Equalization member. In California, she was a director of the governing board of Lakeside Fire Protection District and a member of the Heartland Communications Facility Authority. She was CEO of Backyard Tourist, a nonprofit educational organization and a disaster response trainer. She attended San Diego State University, graduating manga cum laude in 1979 with an applied bachelor’s degree in telecommunications and film, and previously attended Grossmont College. In Ocean Shores, she has volunteered with Fourth of July Cleanup, Green Lantern Lunch Program, Convention Center festivals and the North Beach Senior Center. She is an amateur radio enthusiast with a technician license and is a quilter, gardener and photographer.

Conniry did not provide information regarding her age, place of birth, when she moved to Ocean Shores and from where.

Dan B. Marlowe, a native of Hemet, California, first move to Ocean Shores from Seattle in 1980. He lived here “off and on” until becoming a permanent full-time resident in 2012. He is a contractor, home builder and restaurant proprietor and has also been a business owner/operator and franchisor. He attended Hawaii Pacific University in 1991-92. His interests are creating and building, baking, painting, sculpture, welding, wood working, construction, home building and working hard. He did not provide his age.

Carlos Roldan, 63, was born in Los Angeles and moved to Ocean Shores from Fontana, California, in 2014. He graduated from RooseveltHigh School, enlisted in the Navy after graduation, and is retired from Sempra Energy. He is a member of Faith Community Church and enjoys high power fire arm shooting.

What is the No. 1 thing you’d like to see the city accomplish in the next four years? What will you do to make that happen?

Dingler: Continue to stabilize and grow Ocean Shores through strategic and economic alliances, so that we are less subject to income fluctuations that devalue private property, hurt our business community and harm the City’s ability to provide great service. The contacts built over the past nearly eight years are crucial partners in our future and I will continue to develop and strengthen these relationships through close relationships like those with the Port of Grays Harbor and the Army Corps of Engineers for jetty and shoreline maintenance; Grays Harbor Transit and Westport for a new ferry system; regional Councils of Governments for transportation and trail initiatives; NOAA, FEMA and State Emergency Management for regional preparedness; and state, federal and local agencies and political leaders for the support necessary to build and maintain our community’s resilience.

Conniry: I want the City of Ocean Shores to take the lead to encourage residents and businesses to work together to create an exciting, innovative vision for our future — a vision that will give everyone a voice and strengthen and energize our community. A city that is governed well by those who value teamwork, collaboration and civility and are focused on the common good. We need to restore everyone’s trust in their government. We will work together with mutual respect to protect our health, safety and our environment. We will manage growth, support our schools and businesses, encourage economic development and maintain our quality of life. True leadership means offering a hand in friendship, in support and with concern for every individual.

I will continue my Thursday community meetings and expand this process, through city-sponsored town halls. There will be numerous opportunities to join citizen advisory committees.

Marlowe: I would like to see the City financially prepared for the next economic downturn. I will facilitate discussion, educational opportunities and collaborative planning with the local business owners and concerned citizens. We will create short- and long-range plans to identify any fiscal weaknesses, recognize the economic threats to our community, organize our strengths and capitalize on the opportunities for creating stability as they are identified.

I would also like to see the City work with county and state transportation officials to create an alternate route out of Ocean Shores, specifically in case of emergency or tsunami. I would start open-minded conversations to bring viable ideas that may be implemented in the next four years.

Roldan: Create a positive community environment. Remove the toxic unhealthy environment our eight-year city leader has created in our community.

Should the city prohibit homeless shelters and services in certain areas? Which areas and why?

Dingler: Yes, we need to designate a specific zone which is compatible with the surrounding area and where adequate transportation is available. I believe we can provide the needed aid that homeless individuals and families require, while retaining the quality of life and comfort for other families in our community. If the homeless population reaches numbers requiring 24/7 shelters and services in Ocean Shores, I would advocate for adequate year-around housing offering treatment by trained professionals for those in need. Any services we provide will be utilized by the whole North Coast. I would like to work with the county to place real services in the North Beach area.

Conniry: Homelessness is a complex issue. As a previous member of the School Board Ad Hoc Committee on Homelessness and Hunger, I am acutely aware of the issue in the North Beach. There are real concerns and fears. Like it or not this situation is not one we can turn our back on.

We cannot prohibit a shelter, but we can zone an area for its location. Given the locations of Ocean Shores Food Bank, Anchor Avenue Thrift Store, Seamar and our churches, all of which currently provide services for the homeless and the poor, it makes sense that any temporary shelter be placed in proximity to those services.

The ruling of the 9th Circuit Court, in the recent Martin v Boise case, has impacted local law and practices. The court says it is unconstitutionally cruel to punish unsheltered people for sleeping in public when they have no other option.

Marlowe: This is an ambiguous question that needs more detail in order to provide an answer. Painting a broad picture regarding whether or not services should be restricted in “certain areas” would not provide a fair assessment or opinion of the issue.

Roldan: Ocean Shores has been and always will be a aged tourist community. Appoint OSPD information only/services and find out what state & county laws are on homelessness.

Are you satisfied with the direction the city is taking with the Convention Center? If not, what would you have it do differently?

Dingler: While I am satisfied in the direction taken, I will not be fully satisfied until we have achieved larger bookings, higher income and more lodging occupancy through the Convention Center’s efforts. I believe having a marketing professional running the OSCC, and overseeing the city and OSCC marketing, will provide a consistency of effort and responsiveness that will better serve the needs of event sponsors. I also believe that having a chef on staff catering our events provides a consistent high-quality of food service that has been missing with outside catering. I would also like to experiment with having city-paid Convention Center event planners to provide the same high-quality and consistency that we are achieving in catering and marketing/management.

Conniry: We must fix the event and venue process and contracts. We must define and enforce, with an equal hand, policies that will protect both the promoters and the City. The City needs to embrace the knowledge and skills offered by those promoters. We need staff who have superior experience, in positions for which they are equipped and we must encourage them to work toward achievable goals. With exemplary professional leadership and a dynamic website, combined with continued marketing, Ocean Shores will experience an increased quality and quantity of events that will attract increasing numbers of visitors.

It is essential to create a festive atmosphere in the downtown core and balance the wonderful venue that is the Convention Center with street festivals, car shows, art fairs and similarly enticing activities and events that the local businesses can support without leaving their shops, and from which visitors will enjoy a much broader spectrum of what Ocean Shores has to offer.

Marlowe: Hell no! The Convention Center has become a “community center.” It needs to be run by a professional administrator who will work in collaboration with the hotel/lodging proprietors and with the casino as they are the main financial contributors to the complex.

Roldan: Hold OSCC director/marketing rep accountable from 15 festival calendar events to 30 events per year. Performance unsatisfactory — termination.

Wouldn’t it be great if Ocean Shores could ____ ? (fill in the blank)

Dingler: Join together with its strategic partners and advisers to break a bottle of bubbly over the bow of the inaugural Ocean Shores/Westport ferry. We still have many important and needed things to accomplish.

Conniry: Rise above its current state of bureaucratic complacency. Promote technology, streamline all administrative activities. Stimulate our staff and elected officials to provide exemplary professional leadership and service. Lead by example. Update our comprehensive plan to align with our community vision. Base our budget on that vision. Spend the people’s money wisely to satisfy the health and safety needs of an ever-changing demographic. Establish a culture of inclusion that recognizes the knowledge and skills of our citizens, young and old. Create and maintain a festive atmosphere where businesses thrive. Promote community policing and neighborhood watch to ensure safe neighborhoods. Have public restrooms, sidewalks, crosswalks, benches and flower baskets. Be a city that embraces its future, not shackled by its past. A proud city. Good stewards of the Earth. A city where people are kind and talk to each other. Where people want to visit often or stay forever.

Marlowe: Have an expansive community garden/greenhouse project. Also, it would be great to have a dual-purpose structure that housed an art and cultural museum with a tsunami-escape structure above it.

Roldan: Wouldn’t it be great if Ocean Shores could lower our property taxes and utility rates.