Aberdeen City Council candidates discuss why they are the best choice

Among the competitive races in Aberdeen is the one for Ward 3, Position 6, featuring Norm Klein and Scott Prato.

Here’s what they had to say about running for City Council.

Norm Klein – Ward 3, Position 6

What makes you the best choice for City Council? Why?

“I immediately saw a desperate need for a fresh look at the City Council,” Klein said. “I wanted to help solve the problem of homelessness along with drug abuse and the mental health needs of the homeless.”

Klein praised the City Council for addressing the issue with its Homelessness Committee because it is “trying to bring all stakeholders into the discussion.”

How specifically do you think your past experience will help you at Aberdeen City Council?

“I want to offer my nearly 30 years of experience in law enforcement and federal corrections,” Klein said. “I also work part-time at the Montesano court providing security for court staff and the public.”

What two issues do you want to address if you join the city council? Why?

“The people I talk to are also very concerned that crime is up significantly and drug use is out of control,” Klein said. “Citizens are afraid to leave their homes and want answers.”

Klein also had comments for his neighbors.

“I want to help bring positive change to our beautiful community and ask the people of Ward 3 to vote for me this November,” Klein said.

Scott Prato – Ward 3, Position 6

What makes you the best choice for City Council? Why?

“As a long-time (over 40 years) resident and as a business owner for 25 years, I feel I have a better connection and feel for the needs of Aberdeen,” Prato said. “I raised my children here. My son lives here and I will work hard to make Aberdeen a better place to live and work for everyone.”

How specifically do you think your past experience will help you at Aberdeen City Council?

Prato is a former construction contractor.

“I have a lot of experience leading a team that sees projects through to completion, from estimating and budgeting project costs, resolving cost overruns and scheduling issues while satisfying clients,” said Prato. “I’ve managed payroll and payments to subcontractors and suppliers in good economies and bad.”

What two problems do you want to work on if you join the city council?

Prato talked about the “lack of good, affordable housing” and how it “caused rents to go up for people who were lucky enough to find a vacant unit.”

According to Prato, the average age of a home in the city is 100 years, and how “a fair amount of these homes have never been updated and still have the original wiring, plumbing and lack of insulation.”

Prato said the cost of rebuilding and upgrading some older homes is not “economically practical and many cannot afford to build a standard log home.”

“As a council member, I will work with staff and council to streamline the permitting process and ease building restrictions on manufactured homes, such as tiny houses and park model homes, especially in some older neighborhoods with small building lots,” Prato said.

Prato is looking forward to the launch of the North Shore Levee project as it will remove “a large part of Aberdeen from the flood zone”.

Prato said this will reduce the need for flood insurance and eliminate the requirement to upgrade all systems and build homes below the floodplain. He said it “made the cost of improvements prohibitive and stopped the revitalization of downtown buildings.”

The second issue of Prato wants to focus on “improving the situation of the homeless in the city center”.

“Aberdeen has a large homeless population on the banks of the Chehalis and also behind the south levee as I recall, but with the expansion of the port area the problem has become much more apparent than in times past.” Prato said. “The city has turned a blind eye to the situation for decades, and with the current laws, I think it’s time for a new approach.”

Prato wants the City Council to partner with Grays Harbor County to obtain grants to fund a low-barrier homeless shelter “where the homeless can sleep instead of (on) our sidewalks and storefronts.

Prato said the city needs to move forward to “create a safe place for transitional housing and treatment to enforce existing laws,” and residents can reclaim downtown as a safe place to do business, shop and attend events.

Contact reporter Matthew N. Wells at matthew.wells@thedailyworld.com.

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