Cristella (Cris) Kaminskas
Family/How long living in Liberty Lake: 13 years
Why did you want to file for candidacy again? There are a lot of exciting and important things that will be happening in the next four years. It is important to retain the experience and background that I have to move these projects along.
Here are just a few things that we will see happen: Interstate 90 overpass at Henry Road; widening of the Harvard Road bridge; completion of Orchard Park and of a new high school; additional development and improved infrastructure in the river district along Indiana, Harvard and Mission; development of the retail portion of Stonehill; renovation or rebuild of the trailhead building; and improved infrastructure and commercial development along Appleway and I-90 on the west side of town.
What are your goals for the Liberty Lake City Council? The council and staff worked very hard to develop a new strategic plan, and I stand by it 100 percent. The goals are to have a safe, active and engaged community; to ensure sustainable resources and fiscally prudent financial policies; to have a vibrant economy and business environment; and to have quality facilities and infrastructure. The mission is to serve with integrity, partner with residents and businesses, and to preserve quality of life, economic vitality and sense of community.
One might notice that I do not mention “slow down growth.” That is because we live in a free-market, and the city cannot stop or slow down development if a project meets the current zoning requirements. The plan for the Liberty Lake area was done long before incorporation and must comply with the Growth Management Act and accompanying Urban Growth Areas that were adopted in 1990 by the state. The goals and requirements for the GMA and UGAs can be found under RCW 36.70A.
What we can do is to continue to build on our great partnerships with the Central Valley School District, Spokane Valley Fire Department, and our local developers to manage the future growth in Liberty Lake.
What, in your mind, is the biggest issue facing the city in the immediate future? The biggest issue is growth and being able to have the infrastructure keep up with that growth. Liberty Lake is fortunate that in 1996, developers stepped up and launched the Harvard Road mitigation plan as a way for developers to offset the impact of new construction in areas like traffic and utilities.
The city has been very successful in using this money as matching funds for infrastructure projects such as roundabouts, traffic signals street rebuilding, etc. The Transportation Improvement Board, which is funded by gas taxes, has awarded numerous grants to the city that, on average, provided over 70 percent of the funding for those projects.
What surprising issues are people bringing up as you door-knock or meet folks at campaign stops? Since I spend most Saturdays in the summer at the Farmers Market, not much surprises me anymore. Most issues revolve around growth – traffic, infrastructure, apartments, schools.
However, I have started to hear concerns about how the city is going to approach our transient population. Earlier this year, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a 2018 ruling that homeless persons cannot be punished for sleeping outside on public property in the absence of adequate alternatives. I don’t agree that the homeless should be punished for being homeless – we need to start proposing real solutions and I expect these discussions will start to arise fairly soon at our council meetings.
What differences separate you from your opponents? Experience and dedication are what set me apart from my opponents. I attended almost every council meeting in the seven-plus months before I took office in order to hit the ground running when I was sworn in. On average, I spend 70-80 hours a month on council related business – council meetings and prep; Saturdays from May to October at the Farmers Market engaging our community and listening to their concerns; attending local events and trainings with GSI, Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Association of Washington Cities, and the Washington Policy Center and attending state and country-wide conferences to continue to educate myself about what other cities are doing to raise the bar and be more efficient and innovative in their communities.
One of my opponents has been to one meeting since her defeat by Odin Langford in 2017 and quit the Parks and Arts Commission after attending only two out of five meetings in early 2018. She also tried to withdraw from this election but missed the deadline by 13 minutes and was 33 days late filing her financial forms with the Public Disclosure Commission.
My other opponent is also on the Parks and Arts Commission and has attended barely over 50 percent of the meetings since being appointed in June 2018.
Family/How long living in Liberty Lake: Four years.
Why did you want to file for candidacy? I believe it is important for all citizens to get involved. This is the right time and the right place to run. The current city council has an average tenure of 10 years. I will work to continue to keep our wonderful city a place where people can work, play and live!
What are your goals for the Liberty Lake City Council? I will make sure in the future we will not grow to just grow. Can our traffic handle the growth? Also, do we have enough Amenities to support the growth? I will also work to put in term limits for the City Council.
What, in your mind, is the biggest issue facing the city in the immediate future? Working with a very tenured City Council. It’s my opinion that city council is not meant to serve on for an extended amount of time (more than two terms).
What surprising issues are people bringing up as you door-knock or meet folks at campaign stops? I wouldn’t say it’s surprising since they are talking about the same concerns I have. It’s the growth of our city as it relates to the infrastructure
What differences separate you from your opponents? Over 20-plus years of leadership roles in the military and business sector. I have experience in hiring, budgets, procurement. My community volunteerism with Ronald McDonald House, Habitat for Humanity and Little League baseball. These roles have helped me lead in a variety of contexts with a diverse group of people. Collaboration. Servant-leadership. Sacrifice. I have experience making tough decisions when the pressure was high.