Gig Harbor Council 1: Woock held large margin over Wiles in primary

Posted on October 14th, 2021 By:

Jeni Woock is running for re-election to Gig Harbor City Council Position 1, challenged by newcomer Robert Wiles. She received 71% of the vote in the August primary. Wiles, a real estate agent, finished second with 17%.

Photo of the front of Gig Harbor City Hall

Four Gig Harbor City Council races will be decided in the Nov. 2 general election. Ed Friedrich / Gig Harbor Now

Woock and her husband Del moved to Gig Harbor in 1999. She is a retired businesswoman, having owned a small graphic design and printing business for years. Then she and Del owned Woock Studios, creating glass art and wood art, respectively.

She is a longtime member of the Peninsula Art League, co-founder of Citizens for the Preservation of Gig Harbor and Meaningful Movies in Gig Harbor, among numerous other volunteer activities. She is also a strong supporter of the arts.

“I feel that the arts are an important part of the soul of a community,” she said. “Art and music and films and other arts are ways that we can share beautiful experiences with each other, and they are definitely a big economic driver in any community.”

Picture of a ballot drop box at the Gig Harbor fire station

Ballots can be dropped at boxes around the city. This one is at the fire station on Kimball Drive. Ed Friedrich / Gig Harbor Now

On Sept. 30, Gig Harbor Now sent an identical questionnaire to each City Council candidate. We are printing their responses verbatim. Wiles did not respond to the questions.

Jeni Woock

1. Should city government facilitate the building of more affordable housing? How?


Earlier this year, the state legislature enacted Engrossed Second Substitute House Bill (ESSHB) 1220 (Exhibit B), which was signed by the Governor on May 12, 2021.

Jeni Woock

Jeni Woock

The bill amended the Growth Management Act (36. 70A.070) to require jurisdictions to inventory, analyze, plan for and accommodate dwelling units for moderate, low, very low, and extremely low-income households. Our Community Development Department is currently working on the how and where portions of this requirement.

The Village in Gig Harbor North is scheduled to have some affordable housing. Affordable in this case meaning 70% of average Pierce County wages.

Gig Harbor is part of SSHAP, South Sound Housing Affordability Partners. Gig Harbor is a small city, does not own enough property and we are almost built out.

I will continue to support the city collaborating with other small cities to work together on how we can facilitate affordable housing when we do not own the land.

Perhaps the Urban Growth Area could be a location for more affordable housing. With affordable housing public transportation would be needed and that is lacking everywhere inside and outside the city limits.

2. What can the Council do to maintain the city’s small, charming personality while
adhering to the Growth Management Act and other growth pressures?

How did the city get over developed? In 2015 the Puget Sound Regional Council sent a letter to the city of Gig Harbor advising as a small city Gig Harbor was growing too fast, the city should be downzoning, not up zoning. The 2015 city administration ignored that advice in favor of high density developments. As a result, Gig Harbor is 129 units and 94% away from our 2030 Growth Management goals. I will vote to see that our codes promote small, charming, historical in the downtown Millville area. Commercial belongs in the commercial area.

Robert Wiles

Robert Wiles

I will continue to support the fishing history of Gig Harbor with the Homeport. This will be a great tourist, educational experience and it will bring money into our city.

I will support and encourage neighbors to have more of a say in what happens to their neighborhood.

I was happy to support the Kayak Racing team and community paddlers dock and their addition to the personality of our waterfront.

I believe The Village in Gig Harbor North will add to the charm in that area.

There are many cities in Pierce County who have not begun to meet their growth targets. I support a strong presence with those controlling the Growth Management Act. I believe Gig Harbor needs to make sure every city in Pierce County is treated equally when it comes to GMA target goals.

3. Many city employees have been characterized recently as dissatisfied and have left
their jobs. What can be done to reverse this trend?

You are correct.

According to the employee survey and 74 pages of written comments from the employees, the administration created a toxic workplace. Three administration people were mentioned; the city administrator retired, and the mayor is not running for re-election and will not be at the city in 2022.

Gig Harbor is a strong mayor form of government with the mayor as CEO. Elected mayors are generally not qualified to manage 100 + employees and $100 million dollar budget.

Tracey Markley is on tract to be our new mayor. I believe her heart and caring are in the right place to foster a new work environment. I will support the mayor and she hires an experienced, well-qualified and referenced city administrator and encourage her to let the city administrator run the city. It is vital to bring the best people around you and let them do their job.

I will support a follow-up employee survey every other year to make sure our employees are experiencing a better workplace.

4. How can city government assure that infrastructure keeps up with growth?

The Gig Harbor Comprehensive Plan says that infrastructure and growth must happen concurrently. It goes on to define concurrent as 6 years. 6 years is not the real definition of concurrent. I will work to change the comprehensive plan to concurrent meaning 3 years.

I will continue to work to keep infrastructure projects as priority #1.

5. What would be your top priority should you be elected or re-elected to the Council?

INFRASTRUCTURE is my top priority and that encompasses many areas.

I am endorsed by Gig Harbor City employees and their supervisors. I will continue to vote for environmentally sound equipment and funding to complete infrastructure projects.

I will continue to vote for slow growth while we complete sewer repairs, road work, making sure our stormwater is clean and healthy as it goes into our bay.

I will continue to vote for slow growth while we revisit our tree ordinances to keep more trees and enforce our tree cutting policies.

I will vote for ways in which we can slow down the traffic and enforce our traffic laws.

I am endorsed by GIG HARBOR POLICE OFFICERS and GIG HARBOR FIREFIGHTERS. I consistently vote for safety infrastructure policies like sidewalks, pedestrian crossing lights and roundabouts. These infrastructure projects keep our citizens healthy and safe. We need more sidewalks especially near schools. I will continue to vote to fund police officers and their needed equipment.

Climate Change. I will vote to electrify our city vehicles and reduce the impacts of fossil fuels where we can. I will support finding ways to address climate change in every infrastructure project, department and all neighborhoods. Just like our citizens I love Gig Harbor. I will continue to vote for policies that create a future Gig Harbor that is healthy, safe and functions for all our citizens. The greatest honor of my life has been to serve Gig Harbor citizens these last 4 years. I ask for the honor of your vote before Nov 2.