Clear minds needed during ‘silly’ election season

By Kevin Stoltz, Mukilteo City Councilmember | Mar 09, 2011

Soon we’ll be approaching what has come to be known as the “silly season.” This November, Mukilteo voters will be deciding the fate of four of seven city council positions.

Voters will be electing four individuals to a four-year term. Two years prior, voters decided the fate in the mayor’s race and the other three council positions.

This month, I’m going to have some fun and tell you what it’s really like. In many ways it’s juvenile, and as my wife has correctly pointed out, it’s “like being back in junior high.”

Unfortunately, that not only applies to the election process, but also periodically what happens after one is elected.

The incumbents will point out their accomplishments and the other candidates will point out things that need to be fixed. Chances are, they’ll both be correct.

The soon-to-be classic case in point:

Incumbents: We built a brand new community center for Mukilteo without increasing taxes – True. Challengers: Just the payments alone are creating a half a million dollar deficit per year, and there’s no plan for when the reserves run out – True.

Kevin’s (unfortunate) prediction: Annexation will bring the necessary revenue into that capital fund at the expense of providing for the needs of the newly acquired annexation area.

It’s always difficult to know what really resonates with voters, but like everyone else, I have my opinion.

When I hear prospective candidates say things like, “I just want to give back to the community that has been so good to me,” I want to gag. It tells me the candidate isn’t engaged in the issues and if elected, will likely be a follower and not a leader.

Mukilteo needs leadership from its council members.

The city council is the legislative branch and makes policy. The administration enacts the policy.

The line between the two is not always clear and sometimes the checks and balances between the legislative (council) and executive (mayor) branches are sacrificed for what appears to be an emphasis for everyone to get along.

To underscore the entertainment value intended for this month’s opinion, following are some actual stories (believe it or not) that happened when I was running for re-election.

First, I need to preface these events with the fact that my opponent was supported by two council members whose terms expire at the end of this year.

During the Boundary Review Board hearing for Mukilteo’s latest annexation attempt, a “seat was saved” for my opponent in the front of the room with other Mukilteo electeds and city staff.

The council president and myself (vice president) were left to fend for ourselves.

 

During a debate at City Hall, a council member who supported my opponent was at the back of the room making derogatory comments. The council received several complaints, but it was chalked up as one of those “silly season” things.

After an “incident” where offensive comments were made toward commuters from Whidbey Island, the mayor secured a Community Transit van to attend a meeting in Clinton, which several of the council members also attended.

In the van was the mayor, three council members and my opponent. Another council member and myself walked on the ferry. There was room in the van but, well, you get the picture.

The third council member in the van chose to walk with us from the ferry to the meeting instead of riding in the van.

I respect the council position for the full four-year term, so even though the tables are turned, I would never allow this type of activity to happen regardless of whether I didn’t like a particular council member or not.

So, for what it’s worth to the two council members who behaved poorly toward me when running for re-election, I will continue to respect your position as a council member through the end of your term.

Whether you agree, disagree, or just want to come see the new community center, join me tonight (Wednesday) at 7 p.m. in the Vancouver room at the new Rosehill Community Center for a Council Chat session.

The preceding feature is published the second Wednesday of each month for The Beacon and is the opinion of Kevin Stoltz and may or may not represent the views of the Mukilteo City Council.

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