By GEORGE KUNKE
South Bend City Council Candidate Patricia “Pat” Neve responded to questions from the Willapa Harbor Herald. Neve is running for Position No. 3 against incumbent Cheryl Seals, who did not respond to the questions. The election is Tuesday.
Please give a little background to the voters about yourself.
When I moved to South Bend six years ago it was love at first sight in spite of it being on the eve of the 2007 storm. It was the reaction of the people to the storm that sealed my commitment to live here the rest of my life. I quickly became involved in learning how the city works, who makes it work, and how I might make it better. It was during the turmoil surrounding the new sewer plant. I attended every city council meeting, every public notice meeting and I wrote letters to our legislators to request support for this mandatory project.
When Kirk Church was elected mayor with a term to begin January 1, 2010, the city council asked for interested citizens to “apply” for the job. I applied and they appointed me. I proudly and happily served in Position #1 for the next two years. I lost a reelection bid to life-long resident Lisa Olsen. I have continued to attend city council meeting and was appointed by the Mayor to the City Planning Committee.
While I was on City Council, Kirk appointed me to be a member of the RWCC (sewer committee). I almost immediately became RWCC Secretary. I hold that position today and look forward continuing. It is my goal to present information about this highly important project to the general public in as complete and understandable a manner possible.
I am an active member (and secretary) of the South Bend Kiwanis, whose goal is to support our kids with community service opportunities and scholarships.
I am an active member of the Willapa Harbor Chamber of Commerce. Before I began my employment with the Pacific County Historical Society Museum I was a paying individual member. I believe in the Chamber of Commerce and do what I can to contribute to the success of promoting our beautiful area to the world.
I am manager of the Pacific County Historical Society Museum and Visitor Center. In addition to the hundreds of the out-of-country, the out-of-state, and out-of-area visitors we see hundreds of locals each year who come in to catch up on some new or old history or just to talk. We have a conversation set up that encourages people to engage in conversation. More often than not conversations with the locals will turn to, logically, local issues. I love to listen to them.
I am an active and involved member of my church. I am a member and supporter of several other groups in South Bend whose goal is be make South Bend the best it can be.
Working with these various and varied groups in their various and varied projects has afforded me the opportunity to engage with many South Bend citizens. I am an open person and I listen well. Everyone has the right to have their feelings validated.
Why should voters cast their ballot for you instead of your opponent?
I will be there to represent the citizens each and every meeting. I am out and about and listening to the citizens. I understand how much they love their city and want to see it keep the charm they grew up with while at the same time being frustrated when they see it going away. Many things are beyond their control; however, they do believe that the citizenry should have some say. I want to be their voice. I want to be the person to rise up out of the muck of frustration with a plan or a suggestion of a plan that might grow legs and become something that will make our city better.
I am approachable. I am energetic. I work smart. I think “out of the box”. I am reliable. I am honest and transparent.
What is the biggest problem facing the city of South Bend and what would you do to try to fix it?
Okay – The economy is affecting everyone so I won’t dwell on that. It’s “out of our network”. From there I see two issues: Infrastructure and Transparency.
Our infrastructure is crumbling beneath us as we speak. I do not have knowledge of what was installed when. Someone has that knowledge along with an educated guess of what is likely to fail next. I would like to see the city conduct a triage assessment of all subterranean systems along with a timeline to address the problems. Ideally the results of that assessment and remedy would be made public.
Transparency (or the lack thereof) in government is a problem. Perception is reality and the perception is that the people do not think they are getting the whole story from the people representing them. The people deserve to have assurance that deals are made in the light of day and not behind closed doors in secrecy. They are suspicious that the city rules and regulations are not being evenly and justly applied. They perceive a huge degree of favoritism and cronyism. That absolutely must stop. When the city makes rules they must apply to all. What’s good for one is good for all.
Because the city is facing a budget shortfall, South Bend residents are facing another rate increase on their water bill. Do you have another idea how the city can generate revenue?
I will forever rue the decision that the city made to stop the automatic increases that were occurring to pay for the sewer plant. The information provided assured all that further planned, approved, and accepted increases would no longer be necessary as there were sufficient funds to carry us forward. That, unfortunately, was not the case. These previously planned, approved, and accepted increases need to be reinstated with a deep apology from the city for making an error in judgment. I asked Dee (Roberts) at the last council meeting on October 14th that if these increases were to be reinstated, would we be okay and she said yes. That is my recommendation.
Does South Bend have an infrastructure problem? If so, what is your plan to fix it? Where would you start and how would you get the money?
In addition to what I said above, I would scour the state and the feds for grants. There is money out there – we just have to learn how to get to the head of the money line with our worthy hand out. In working with the RWCC I met a great resource when it comes to learning about available grant opportunities. I receive a list of potential grant opportunities from her on a quarterly basis. I would consult this resource and seek her assistance in applying for these grants.
Additionally, I would like to see the city engage in an aggressive educational endeavor where people are shown how what they put down their sinks and/or their toilets can directly affect their water/sewer bill. I believe education is the answer to a lot of societal problems.
Have you studied the budget? What would you cut from the budget and what would you add into the budget?
I would like to see the police department come under some scrutiny. Do we, as a community of less than 1,700 people that is already struggling for funds, need a full police force that costs us a half a million dollars a year? I would like to see the city explore the possibility and the advantages of paying the Pacific County Sheriff’s department to manage our criminal activity.
* The PCSO headquarters is almost literally around the corner from the South Bend police department.
* The PCSO already participates in situations here in South Bend.
* Is Chief Eastham considering retirement any time soon? Perfect.
* It’s worth a conversation with all parties.
If there’s anything you’d like to say, please do so.
I love South Bend. My relatives have strict instructions to not even remove my ashes from South Bend. I am committed to do whatever I can or whatever I can influence to see South Bend live up to its potential as a vibrant example of nature at its best. I want to see South Bend move into the future while respecting the past and maintaining its small town charm.
I want to see South Bend listed as a great place to live, make a living, raise children, and retire in safety and comfort.
|No Related Articles|
You may not be getting all you can out of your browsing experience
and may be open to security risks!
Consider upgrading to the latest version of your browser or choose on below: