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Meet Hank Stecker, Candidate for Woodinville Water District Board of Commissioners

Stecker is a former Woodinville council member and planning commissioner.

What is your full, legal name?

Hank Stecker (Henry L. Stecker) 

Where do you work and what is your job title? 

I am a licensed Senior Mortgage Planner with Cobalt Mortgage in Bothell. I have been in the financial field for 10 years. Twenty years prior in Management in the Information Technology field.

Age?

56

Where do you live now and how long have you lived there?

Woodinville, for 22 years

Spouse or domestic partner if any:

Widowed
 

Children:

Son Erik age 13 going into Leota Jr. High School

Education (include graduation date(s), if any):

University of Colorado – Bachelor of Arts - 1978

Military Service (include year(s) of discharge, if any):

None

Memberships and affiliations with clubs and other organizations:

Board member – CNW – Concerned Neighbors of Wellington

Wellington Elementary PTA

NYSA – Northshore Youth Soccer Association

Leota Jr. High School PTA

Have you or a business you owned (or had principal interest in) ever filed bankruptcy?

No

As an adult, have you been convicted or charged with a crime other than a minor traffic violation?

No

CAMPAIGN INFORMATION:

Web site: www.ElectHankStecker.com
Email address: hstecker@comcast.net
Phone number: 425-483-8804
Campaign manager: None


PREVIOUS ELECTED OFFICE(S):

Elected: Woodinville Deputy Mayor/City Councilmember 2005 -2009
Chair of the Woodinville Planning Commission 2003 - 2005

Other campaigns for public office:

None

What is the primary reason you are running for this office?

It’s now over two decades that my family has lived in our Woodinville home enjoying the lifestyle that is coined in Woodinville’s motto “Country Living, City Style”. For those of us on acreage we enjoy our large lots and have city amenities close at hand. Those in the City of Woodinville enjoy the city amenities along with the rural flavor of the adjoining neighborhoods.  It is and has been a perfect match. Now this lifestyle we have all come to enjoy is at risk!

  • Brightwater sewage treatment plant is coming on line - King County desperately needs a massive number of new hookups to cover outrageous cost over runs.             
  • King County is trying to get support from local jurisdictions and the Suburban Cities Association to allow sewers to be run out past the City/UGB (Urban Growth Boundary) to service projects in our unincorporated areas.
  • King County is already allowing the expansion of big box stores at Avondale & Woodinville-Duvall Road on all four corners.
  • King County has put the LOS (level of service) for the intersection at Avondale & Woodinville Duvall Road to “F” (this allows for increased traffic and wait times with no mandatory road improvements by developers).
  • The county is pushing to make Woodinville-Duvall Road a “Five Lane Thoroughfare” allowing further density and development. Projected sewer lines will run right down this road to the new big box stores.
  • The University of Washington is considering a proposal to bring sewer up the hill from Costco to the Wellington Golf Course (their property) to service future high density development

The Woodinville Water & Sewer District is a key stakeholder in this process. They control the future planning, approval and implementation of sewer and water in the District. Make no mistake. Hookups will affect families’ lifestyles and finances to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars per household.

  • As sewer lines move further out, you will be forced to hook up to sewer or a lien will be put on your property.
  • Costs for sewer: $75 to $200 a foot to run pipe to your sewer outlet. Usually in back of home, approx. 150 to 200 feet.
  • $55 to $85 monthly usage bill on top of your Capacity Charges and costs to install the sewer line to your home.

We need advocates for our neighborhoods on the Woodinville Water District Board, individuals who truly understand the issues and who are willing to challenge the status quo. Of the 5 current board members, only 2 are property owners near downtown Woodinville and on sewer, the other 3 board members rent. (source district records) There are no property owners on the board who represent the 85 percent of the district on large lots with septic.

For 22 years I have been – and will continue to be – a strong advocate for our neighborhoods. We have some serious issues to address that will impact the future of our community over the next several decades. It’s time all these issues get addressed in an open forum by individuals with the knowledge, and the will, to bring these issues forward. The voice of our community needs to be heard and the will of the community followed. That’s why I’m running for the Woodinville Water & Sewer District.

What will be your top three priorities if you get elected and why?

There are massive development issues that face the Woodinville area coming from county government, developers and other concerns. The Water Board needs to step up and work with the community and keep them informed of the current issues facing district families. These development issues should not and cannot continue to be seen as revenue potential for the Water & Sewer District. The Board needs to start acting as advocates for our community.

The district’s main revenue source at this point in time is water. They function as a pass through delivering water to the district from the City of Seattle reservoirs. Rate increases from our district to the homeowners in Woodinville have been 3.5 times the increases the district has received from the City of Seattle. Rate hikes have become standard practice. We need to look at creative ways to streamline operational costs. During my tenure with the City of Woodinville there were no new taxes or tax increases. Staff and benefits were streamlined. There are a number of ways to address these issues besides putting it on the backs of the rate payers.

The Board of Commissioners needs to review the way they operate. Meeting an average of only 25 hours in a year at the Water District offices is not going to get the job done. With this work schedule, there is no reason to justify expenditures for trips to Washington D.C., San Diego, Florida, Chicago, Toronto and more. This is along with District retreats to the Semiahmoo Resort and the Salish Lodge. (source district expense records) This all needs to come to an end.


What sets you apart from the other candidates and/or previous office holders?

I have over 30 years of private sector business experience including management in the technology sector and financial markets. I believe that private sector "Best Practices" do work for government. During my tenure on Woodinville’s City Council and Planning Commission, we made tremendous headway streamlining budgets and staff.

  • No new taxes were implemented and existing taxes were not increased.
  • The city now operates at a higher productivity level with 36 employees than it did at a high of 67 employees.
  • Existing roads are finally being overlayed with new pavement, being snow plowed, painted and maintained. New road projects have been implemented.
  • In 2009 an inventory of stormwater ponds and vaults was established. (These are supposed to be cleaned every year to avoid flooding. Since cityhood in 1993, they had not even been identified.) Finally, flooding downtown has been stopped and we no longer have Lake Woodinville under the Train Trestle after each rain.
  • City Council retreats to resort locations were stopped.
  • In 7 years, I never asked the citizens of Woodinville for anything I needed to file an expense report for.

The turnaround has been tremendous. Private sector practices do work for government and will work for our Water District.

My opponent in this race, 16-year incumbent Commissioner Goodwin, just wrote in the August 29th issue of the Woodinville Weekly the following two comments:

  • “For the first time in 16 years I, and one other commissioner voted against this year’s budget.”

What this means is that this is the first time in 16 years (and in an election year) he has questioned a budget put forward by staff.

  • “Your water district has been efficient and responsible with your money.”

From January thru June of 2011, Commissioner Goodwin has attended 12 hours of meetings at the Woodinville Water District. His expenses charged to the district are over $7,500 during this period of time. These do not yet include the cost of his rooms at the Salish Lodge for the commissioners’ get-away retreat or his hotel rooms for his 7-day trip to Washington D.C. How can these expenses be considered efficient and responsible? (This information is sourced from the district website and public disclosures of commissioner’s expense reports.)

I will be an advocate for our residents. We need Commissioners who are here to represent the citizens of our district and are not here to take advantage of perceived financial benefits of office.

 
How much money do you expect your campaign to spend on this election?

Not more than $5,000.

Official endorsements:

State Senator Andy Hill, 45th District

Bernard W. Talmas, Woodinville Mayor

King County Republican Party - KCGOP

Paul O. Cowles, Vice Chair of the Parks and Recreation Commission

City of Woodinville, Former Mayor City of Bothell

Jeff Glickman, Deputy Mayor City of Woodinville

Susan Boundy-Sanders, Councilmember City of Woodinville

Greg Fazzio, Chairman City of Woodinville Parks and Recreation Commission

Steve Yabroff, Member of Woodinville Planning Commission, & Board member of Concerned Neighbors of Wellington (CNW)

Brad Rich

Peter Tountas, Long Time Resident of Woodinville

Leo Missler, Woodinville Parks & Recreation Commissioner

Endorsed by Fred Green, Founding President of Concerned Neighbors of Wellington

Julie Tesque September 22, 2011 at 05:22 PM
Dale, well stated position! I'm in favor of anyone who is going to stand up to defend MY pocketbook. Hank and Jack get my vote and I am telling other mom's in my FB to vote for them. If everyone adds Jack and Hank to FB, we can get the message out.
Sharon Peterson September 24, 2011 at 09:51 PM
Hank Stecker is a long-time proponent for the City of Woodinville. He's got vast business experience, a terrific track record of supporting citizen's needs as a Woodinville City Council official, supporter of CNW, and in other voluntary capacities. If you want Woodinville to stay the wooded community that it is, with PLANNED GROWTH (not urban sprawl), VOTE for HANK. Don't be misled by the words of the competition -- when you look at the actual track record, Hank is the clear and only choice!!
Dale Knapinski October 01, 2011 at 11:13 PM
Hank Stecker and Ken Goodwin are candidates for the Woodinville Water District. Water District commissioners are responsible for obtaining our drinking water and sewer services from outside agencies. Hank is supported by area homeowners because he has a track record of standing up for local citizens. Ken Goodwin uses statements from former Brightwater project manager, Christie True, to defame his political opponent. This is an easy choice for septic system owners. Welcome back, Hank Stecker.
Dave Henry October 02, 2011 at 12:12 AM
Dale: excellent job on providing information to the folks. Would you be interested in looking into the possibility of forming a new Woodinville Citizens Action Group? We can enlist some others to train and direct a citizen's group on how to take back our city. The opposition is very well organized and moving forward at a rapid pace and currently we are way out numbered. A model group has already been designed and was extremely effective and successful, in the past. It is now time for a new group to be formed, because we have a whole new set of problems. It is time for new folks to become involved If we do nothing it's absolutely guaranteed that the group that wants to regain power will get their wish. Goodbye R-1, goodbye our rural community. Hello sewers, hello high density development, hello 8 to 10 houses per acre, hello a new traffic nightmare and goodbye our rural quality of life that we now have. You and I can give guidence, direction, and encouragement to this new group as to how to take back our city. We can show a new group how to penetrate the bureaucracy. We can give a new group the tools to deal with what you and I see is going on, behind the scenes. Dave Henry
Dale Knapinski November 07, 2011 at 02:59 AM
The time is near and your vote does count. If you are still stuggling with finding truth in what the candidates are saying, you are not alone. Hank Stecker has a history of looking out for taxpaying citizens just like you and me. Hank has proven himself. If you find yourself questioning where to mark your vote, go with Hank Stecker, the local guy, with local concerns, and local support.

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