Two challenge Richrod for Aberdeen council

  • Thu Jul 29th, 2021 10:57am
  • News

Three candidates have filed for Aberdeen City Council Ward 5, Position 10, currently held by Alan Richrod: Debi Pieraccini, Richrod, and Chelsey Leavenworth.

The Daily World sent questionnaires to all three. Below are Richrod’s and Pieraccini’s responses, Leavenworth did not respond.

Alan Richrod

Biography

My wife and I moved to Aberdeen in 1980. I have bachelor’s degrees in history and linguistics and computer science. I’ve worked in the automobile dealership business, as a machinist, and as a programmer writer and documentation specialist in the software industry.

Why did you decide to run this year?

I started in 2013 on the suggestion of former representative and councilmember John Erak. Since coming back on the council, we’ve made some positive progress in the city and I want to continue that. Also, I’m getting tremendous support and encouragement from the businesses in the downtown area, as well as people inside and outside of Ward 5. Aberdeen is beginning to regrow and develop. Now is the time to modernize the comprehensive plan to manage that growth and development.

What is the number one issue facing Aberdeen in the immediate future, and how would you tackle that issue?

There are several number one issues. We need to spur the economic growth of the city by fostering local business growth, including tourism, as well as a vigorous marketing campaign to entice small and medium industries to locate in this area. However, that development is dependent upon the completion of the North Shore Levee and the Highway 12 rail separation project in East Aberdeen. Both of those projects are advancing and we’ve got a clean slate to develop a deep and diverse new economic base.

Homelessness

The city was spending tens of thousands of dollars a month to operate the (TASL) camp. Requests have been made to the county for additional help with no result. The city passed a unanimous resolution in favor of the proposed shelter, which was already paid for at no cost to us. However, the county commission decided to return the money rather than operate a shelter for the unhoused even though the county’s own health department approved the proposal. Now there’s no place for those people to go. What is my feeling? I’m angry and determined.

Debi Pieraccini

Biography

I was born and raised in Grays Harbor. I graduated from Hoquiam High School and attended Grays Harbor College with my main study being criminal justice. I’ve been a hairdresser for 30 years and currently own CityCuts in Aberdeen. I was raised in a family of five children with a single mother. There is never a time in my life after the age of 16 that I haven’t worked. I have an adult son and a bonus daughter. Both are very successful and amazing people. I am a grandmother of four and they are my pride and joy.

Why did you decide to run this year?

A large percentage of our community feel that they are not being represented. I am one of those people. I have attended council meetings for the last few years and have watched as citizens lined up to speak to our representatives only to witness the council turn their heads to the requests of the very people they are supposed to be a voice for. I realized that if I want my voice to be heard that I would need to step up to the plate to do it. I would like to be a voice for those I represent. I would also like to participate in the creation of a new desperately needed fire department building as well as a new police station.

What is the number one issue facing Aberdeen in the immediate future, and how would you tackle that issue?

I would like to see more industry coming to our area. We need to create an inviting community for citizens so that they want to continue residence here. Our main business from what I see are in the nonprofit areas and government. This should not be our primary source of income. Our old dilapidated buildings need to be removed or renovated and out of town owners need to be held accountable for the properties that they have neglected. I see the city spending money on things, such as a new visitor center, that could better be spent toward lowering the cost of the new water bill for citizens.

Homelessness

This is a complicated situation with no definitive answer. We have spent up to $38,000 a month to provide tent shelter for the homeless for the last two years. Our tent city began with up to 84 residents. Out of the 80 some residents, we ended up with about 20 in the end. Only a handful were moved on to healthier lifestyles but the majority were removed because of breaking basic rules, including drug abuse, domestic violence and unsanitary conditions.

Some of the residents have mental illness and need intense treatment. We don’t have facilities to treat them properly and a tent city is not the answer. When a resident breaks the rules, they end up back on the street again, nobody has addressed this except for trying to get a shelter where there are even less rules, which I disagree with. We have a grant that would provide for housing and assistance for the homeless. However, we need a facility that meets the standards set forth in the grant. Hopefully, this will come to fruition.

I would like to see a detox facility and a long-term inpatient facility for those who wish for real help. This would be money well spent as we’d be assisting people to become productive members of society, which in the long term would benefit our community.