Q&A: Candidates for Beaverton City Council
An open seat on the Beaverton City Council has drawn an unusually robust field of candidates.
Five candidates filed before the deadline last Thursday, March 18. One of them, Brandon Culbertson, has since suspended his campaign, he told The Times. A sixth prospective candidate, Cameron Green, did not end up filing before the deadline and will not appear on the May 18 special election ballot.
The seat is open due to the resignation of Lacey Beaty. Beaty was the city councilor in Position 1 before voters elected her as Beaverton's mayor last November. Beaty resigned from her position as a city councilor to assume the office of mayor in January.
The winner of the May 18 election will serve out the remaining year and a half of Beaty's unexpired council term. The seat will be up again in 2022 for a full four-year term.
The Times reached out to each candidate who filed with a set of questions. Candidates' full responses are presented below, with light editing for grammar and style.
What do you see as the major issues facing Beaverton?
Andy J. Garcia: Beaverton is growing and changing, becoming even more diverse and urban in nature. I enjoy and welcome the commerce and infrastructure, working downtown Portland for a number of years in the hospitality industry. I'm also aware of the importance and diligence required to maintain a larger population. I want to take part in keeping Beaverton its own. City scooters and stars belong elsewhere. The people of Beaverton have worked to make this fine city one of the best places for families and industry.
Ashley Hartmeier-Prigg: Beaverton is at a crossroads on many issues, including housing affordability, curbing the impacts of climate change, and ensuring our community is welcoming and safe for everyone. But right now, the biggest priority for our growing city must be supporting the recovery of our businesses, workers, and families from COVID-19. The worst of the pandemic may be over, but our recovery is just beginning. This challenge will take courage from our leaders. I'm a proven leader who's ready to get to work.
Cristian Salgado: When eviction moratoriums are lifted, I am concerned about the impact it will have on residents that have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. If someone is unable to pay back rent, recover their job, or find a new one, our city must be equipped and ready to manage these scenarios.
Additionally, I care about the well-being of our small businesses. Some were unable to operate fully due to shelter-in-place orders and social distancing during the pandemic, while others had to close entirely. Most businesses have thankfully survived, but there will need to be continued investment to ensure a full recovery.
Lastly, during the City Council meeting held on Dec. 8, 2020, presenters shared findings on the Racial Equity Report that showed BIPOC city staff experience disparate treatment and often lack support. This is a serious concern, as all city employees should be fully supported to serve our communities.
Jerome Sibayan: We are caught in a vicious web of major challenges. People are struggling in the most profound ways: socially isolated, economically strained, and mentally exhausted. I believe children and young adults are bearing the greatest burden, feeling lonely and forgotten — we as a community and society must not forget that they are Beaverton's future, and we must invest in them now.
There are also impending and predictable challenges, such as the end of the eviction moratorium and what that means for both landlords and tenants, the state mandate to increase neighborhood density and how that can create new problems while solving old ones, the environmental and economic implications of our obsolete transportation infrastructure, and the changing climate that is negatively affecting our most vulnerable communities.
I prefer to see challenges as opportunities to apply creative and innovative solutions fairly and equitably. These are opportunities to transform Beaverton in significant ways.
Why did you decide to run for City Council?
Andy J. Garcia: I'm running for City Council because I'm from here, from Beaverton to Scholls Ferry, Garden Home to Murray. My son is from here. Even in his short five years, he has benefited from everything the city has to offer. I want to give back, to promote positive, inclusive changes, and not lose the spirit and closeness and embodied by the incredible businesses and people that make this home.
Ashley Hartmeier-Prigg: I was born at St. Vincent's Hospital, grew up on 12th Street, attended Valley Catholic School and have worked at Nike Inc. for 9 years — Beaverton and I have grown up together.
I'm running for City Council because I love this city, and I believe that everyone who wants to live here should be able to work hard and thrive in Beaverton. Just like my family struggled growing up, I worry that too many people who work in Beaverton can no longer afford to live here.
I'm proud of the work I've accomplished as president of the Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District Board to help bring more affordable housing units to Washington County. I'm ready to have a bigger impact on our community as Beaverton's next city councilor.
Cristian Salgado: I made the choice to run for Beaverton City Council Position 1 because I believe that I bring a valuable perspective and expertise to this seat. Having diverse representation on the city council that represents a fuller picture of the Beaverton community is important; the opportunity was clear when the announcement of this special election was made.
Most of my career has been dedicated to serving underrepresented and vulnerable populations. My commitment and passion to serve the community is rooted in my experience as a first-generation American. As someone that has grown from the opportunities this country has provided and benefitted from having a strong and welcoming community, I feel a sense of duty and responsibility to serve and give back to my community at this level. I understand the important role a community plays in supporting its neighbors and families while promoting greater livability and a thriving environment for all.
Jerome Sibayan: I am a public servant and I want to continue serving my community and country. I am the son of Filipino immigrants, was raised in Salem, and majored in civil engineering at Oregon State.
I'm a retired Army veteran — served 28 years in Europe, the Middle East, Central America, East Asia and throughout the United States.
I'm an engineer—with a master's degree in engineering and a licensed professional engineer.
I'm an educator — earned master's and doctoral degrees in national security, and became an associate professor at the Army War College.
I'm a community volunteer — began with Beaverton's Human Rights Advisory Commission and currently Social Services Funding Committee, Beaverton School District's Bond Accountability Committee, Metro's Get Moving 2020 Infrastructure Investment Team, Engineers Without Borders, and Education First Scholarships, helping traditionally underserved communities.
My word is my bond. If elected, I will donate all after-tax councilor compensation to local nonprofits.
What do you think COVID-19 recovery should look like in the city?
Andy J. Garcia: COVID-19 has been difficult in lots of ways. We have a federal government too far to understand at times, and the reality is we have Oregonians concerned about unemployment, housing and health care right here. Our neighbors are co-workers. We watched Portland-based managing these types of issues for years, and frankly, I believe Beaverton has better solutions and can find human community-based solutions that work for everybody. To push that growth even further than our city limits.
Ashley Hartmeier-Prigg: The city needs to be actively encouraging and inspiring our community to come out in support of one another. While the city has done a commendable job with helping small businesses through the pandemic, we can also rally community members who haven't been financially impacted by the pandemic to show up in our local economy in bigger ways. During the pandemic, many mutual aid opportunities have arisen, and the city should actively amplify these efforts and find ways to use incoming federal dollars to help our most impacted community members.
Cristian Salgado: The following:
• Prioritize avoiding evictions once the eviction moratorium has lifted by supporting tenants and landlords. It will be imperative to stop the bleeding in this housing crisis and keep individuals and families in their homes.
• Support small businesses by encouraging local spending and dedicate funding to support our small business recovery.
• Develop partnerships to ensure that vaccines get to all residents who need and/or want a COVID-19 vaccine.
Jerome Sibayan: Innovate, recover, and grow. 2020 was an epically challenging year in which we faced so many unexpected but consequential "black swan" events: public health crisis, economic recession, and political turmoil. We must be prepared for more.
Getting back to business-as-usual is neither desirable nor possible. Everything has changed in profound and fundamental ways. Let's work together to adapt to new ways of working, adopt sustainable ways of living, and better balance the many competing demands with a renewed sense of consideration and willingness to compromise in order to get things done.
Moving forward, we should keep our common principles and values front and center as we make important policy, growth, and development decisions that will determine what COVID-19 recovery will look like for Beaverton, principles and values like transparency and integrity, resilience and sustainability, and diversity, equity and inclusion. In the end, those things will matter most.
What are your thoughts on the new city charter that created a city-manager form of government in Beaverton this year?
Andy J. Garcia: The choice to change to a new city charter and manager is a respectable one. I believe allocating duties to the correct people can be effective in more than one way. When done best, strengths and weaknesses, experience and skills create strong dynamic. I appreciate the effort to lead by example and acknowledge everyone has a part to play in value to add. Not in spite of things that make us different. Those differences are what builds a strong alliance.
Ashley Hartmeier-Prigg: The taxpayers of Beaverton spoke clearly last May when they voted to change the form of government in our city. I believe it is the duty of city staff, the City Council and the mayor to deliver that promise and implement the new city charter as quickly as they are able to. Beaverton was one of only a few "strong mayor" forms of government in our region, so we have many cities of similar size to look to in ensuring this model is effective for Beaverton and its residents.
Cristian Salgado: The new city charter ensures a stronger balance of power by expanding the number of councilors and establishing a fairer process by removing the mayor's veto power. This presents an opportunity for positive change.
I appreciate the term limits in the new charter that will ensure new and expanding representation on an ongoing basis as the city grows. I also want to highlight that the Beaverton charter will no longer use gender-exclusive references; this is a significant step forward to creating a more inclusive and welcoming city government.
Jerome Sibayan: To the average Beavertonian, the City Charter appears to be fundamentally flawed and internally contradictory. The city manager is responsible to the council, which is empowered to manage the city manager. And while the city manager can be held to account by being fired, the mayor is prohibited from directing the city manager, and the councilors may not "coerce" the city manager in executing their powers and duties. In other sections, the city manager appears to be empowered to propose the city budget without the input or approval of the City Budget Committee.
The key to understanding the charter is hidden in the phrase that the city has all powers "expressly or impliedly" granted, as if the charter specifically enumerated those powers. Transparency and communication are essential to good governance. The council is obligated to educate the people of Beaverton on how this new form of city government actually works.
What can Beaverton do to equitably serve all its residents, regardless of factors like race, income level, religion, sexuality or national origin?
Andy J. Garcia: Beaverton has grown accustomed to visitors and residents from everywhere around the world of all shades and demographics. Welcoming everyone regardless of personal identity and acknowledging humanity. Let's continue to welcome and protect that idea and promote community education inclusion even more.
Ashley Hartmeier-Prigg: Every policy we create, implement, or administer must ensure that our decisions do not have a disparate impact on communities who are traditionally underserved. Through commitment to equity, we can actively dismantle inequities in our systems to ensure that everyone in Beaverton has an equal chance to thrive.
At Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District, we have made an intentional choice to lead with racial equity, and this means that with every conversation we are having, we consider the impact of our decisions on our communities. It's our local policies that impact our daily lives most. Beaverton City Council has a real opportunity to build equitable policies that serve all of our residents.
Cristian Salgado: There are various equity frameworks the city can adopt to help guide them toward more equitable service; however, diverse representation is a vital component of this work. Beaverton has the power to elect more candidates that bring valuable lived experience and diverse perspectives to the city council and positions of leadership.
As a community that celebrates diversity, it is important that we are bringing persons and officials to the decision-making table that ensure all communities and residents are represented and reflected in our city's policies and practices. Voters have a critical say in what city leadership looks like when they cast their ballots.
Jerome Sibayan: We need to acknowledge and celebrate the great diversity in our community. We must pursue equity by addressing structural and systemic inequities. We will require inclusiveness as an intrinsic quality of a culturally vibrant and economically prosperous city.
I am committed to:
• A city that actively works to shape policymaking and advisory boards to reflect the racial/ethnic diversity of the community.
• A city that uses a framework of equity to guide policy decisions and resource allocation.
• A city that works to meet the immediate needs of people experiencing homelessness.
• A city with a public safety system that actively protects vulnerable populations and addresses issues that disproportionately impact marginalized communities.
• A city that engages key business development entities to provide entrepreneurship resources that engage underserved communities.
• A city that actively promotes Beaverton's identity as a welcoming city and supports relationship-building between immigrants and U.S.-born community members.
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