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Community organizer plans Tualatin City Council run

by: JONATHAN HOUSE - Jan Giunta announces her candidacy for Tualatin City Council at Tualatin Community Park, saying that the 'mayor and council need to hold themselves accountable.'Longtime community activist and businesswoman Jan Giunta last week announced her candidacy for Tualatin City Council.

One of the founders of Tualatin's Citizen Involvement Organization Program, Giunta is running on a platform of city-wide "livability and connectedness," emphasizing what she sees as the need for more transparency on the City Council.

Her aim is to involve community organizations in all levels of the City Council's decision-making, Giunta told The Times on Monday. She added that she intends to "integrate the culture and philosophy of authentic citizen engagement into the city processes."

"The entire council needs to take it upon themselves to reach out to those community involvement organizations to form strong neighborhoods," said Giunta, who has lived in Tualatin for 22 years. "Too many of the council's deliberations and discussions are amongst themselves and not public."

Still, she spoke highly of the council's recent efforts to update Tualatin's transportation plan, noting that she'd seen an increase in community involvement and input. She credited Tualatin's citizen involvement organizations for giving residents and business leaders a more collective voice. She explained that a large part of her vision for livability in Tualatin came down to smarter traffic planning, arguing that increased congestion "alienates neighborhoods" from each other and the city at large.

"I believe that the traffic problems in Tualatin can be mitigated without sacrificing the livability of our neighborhoods, of our downtown or of our parks, without diminishing the economic vitality of our businesses," Giunta said in a statement issued on June 27. by: JONATHAN HOUSE. - Jan Giunta chats with supporters at Tualatin Community Park after her announcement June 27 to run for City Council. 'The City Council needs to be more open and transparent,' Giunta says.

Giunta feels her 30 years of experience working in residential and commercial real estate put her in an ideal position to balance quality of life with Tualatin's economic interests. "As congestion increases," said Giunta, "industry is stymied."

Giunta's campaign focus includes:

n Giving priority to residential neighborhoods, to natural spaces and the installation of walking paths and bikeways.

n Greater and more impactful citizen involvement in the city's budget process.

n An increased emphasis on the environment with greater integration of the wetlands and reducing storm water run-off into the Tualatin River.

Although Giunta has yet to decide which council member she'll challenge in the Nov. 6 election, she told The Times her opponent would likely be either Ed Truax or Council President Monique Beikman.

Deputy City Recorder Maureen Smith confirmed Tuesday that incumbent councilors Truax, Beikman and Joelle Davis had each pulled papers to run, effectively announcing their campaigns for re-election. Councilor Nancy Grimes, appointed midway through last term, has also indicated she will run to keep her seat.