Lacamas Magazine interviewed Stephen Dabasinskas, who is running for the Camas City Council At-Large seat being vacated by long-term Camas City Council Member, Don Chaney.
Why do you want to be on council?
When the pandemic started I had lots of time to study council and what has been happening with the city. I’ve been looking at the mistakes the city is making. I have a lot to bring to city council.
I graduated from UC San Diego with an Economics degree, had a 10-year law enforcement career (two jobs). During that final job I ran a narcotics task force in Orange County that comprised 20 agencies, and it allowed me to work with many jurisdictions. I did a lot of grant writing, and worked on some great legislation.
I did consulting for the Department of Defense (DOD), and we worked on legislative budgeting while the DOD put on trainings on budgeting all over the country.
Over time, I increased my consulting, and I got involved with a tech company doing CFO consulting services, and have been a CFO and CEO consultant with my company, Innovative Business Resources, for 25 years.
I’m 58 years old, and our family has lived in Camas since 2018.
What are the top issues of your campaign?
Growth and development. We grow for growth’s sake, we don’t do it responsibly. We need to update roads, sewers and electrical, and make infrastructure improvements.
Environmental. We have the Lacamas Lake cleanup that’s been pending for years. We’ve spent money, we have done consulting, we’ve done more testing. It’s been toxic for many years. All the warnings are there with the algae blooms. With growth comes management of natural resources. The tree canopies, the trails, the things we all like. We need to be hard and fast and hold developers accountable to maintain open spaces. We need to make sure trees are saved and not just replaced.
Financial stewardship. Our city budget is in the hundreds of millions. We need to ensure we use taxpayer money properly. We must make sure we use consultants properly.
Examples: For the Lacamas Lake Roundabout project we spent $2 million on consultants alone. The city administrator was paid $600,000 for 18 months. We spent $390,000 for the Crown Park consultancy. We just need to be better at using them and also review the contracts better. We shouldn’t have open-ended contracts. Sometimes the scope of work isn’t as defined as it should be. We need to do reviews before the bill is paid.
Public Safety. This makes our community great. People are very pleased with the fire and police departments. Our fire department is currently renegotiating with Washougal to ensure everyone is paying their fair share. We need to make sure those departments are funded properly as we grow.
Citizen engagement. People feel like they’re not being heard. It’s supposed to be run by what the citizens want. People’s voices need to be heard. Right now, they use directional surveys to do what they want. The pool bond, the Crown Park splash pad. And, so many people are against North Shore plans.
We send out surveys and they don’t get a good response. It’s our job to get out and meet with people. It’s been great meeting people and hearing what they have to say.
What three things is the city doing correctly?
- Police and fire. We have great public safety services.
- Camas is doing a better job at fixing smaller issues like the downtown tree plan.
- They are re-writing the down sub area plan. This is good. At the heart of it everyone wants to keep Camas like it is. We are trying to make ourselves better.
I want Camas to be a better version of ourselves. Focus on downtown, improve our infrastructure, draw more big business for a better tax base for our city. We have high property taxes. We need to find other sources of income is to bring more businesses into Camas.
To learn more visit: www.stephen4council.com