Zieve eyes run for City Council

Electroimpact president says his focus would be youth
By Nicholas Johnson | Apr 26, 2017
Peter Zieve

Peter Zieve, president and founder of the Mukilteo-based aerospace automation company Electroimpact, says the City Council should be more focused on serving the community’s youth.

That, he said, is why he’s planning to run this year for a seat on the council.

“The city’s emphasis has been on adults,” he said. “My emphasis would be on youth.”

Zieve, 63, said he began contemplating a City Council bid after the 2015 election. He said he’s eyeing Position 2 – currently held by Council President Bob Champion, who plans to run for re-election – but might switch to Position 3 by filing week, which is set for May 15-19.

He said he won’t, however, run against Mohammed Riaz Khan, who plans to run for Position 1, which is being vacated by Ted Wheeler.

“I may re-evaluate which position to go for,” he said. “But, I’m not going to run against Mr. Khan.”

Zieve said he and Khan have been negotiating a mutual endorsement.

“That means I would endorse him and he would endorse me,” he said.

After the state Attorney General’s Office announced a lawsuit against Zieve and his company in March, which resulted in an agreement that the company would pay some $485,000 in fines, Zieve told the Beacon that he and Khan had begun talking regularly to find common ground.

Last year, Zieve was tied to anonymous postcards mailed to Mukilteo residents notifying them that Khan’s Islamic Center of Mukilteo was planning to build a mosque in the city. He later apologized for sending the postcards.

Following that incident, the state Attorney General’s Office began investigating Zieve’s company, finding it had violated state law by discriminating against employees and applicants on the basis of marital status and religion, particularly Muslims. That investigation led to the lawsuit.

Zieve said all that is now a non-issue for him and Khan. Now, he’s focused on shifting the priorities of city government, citing onerous regulations on property owners and a lack of recreational facilities for young people.

“We just don’t have places for the kids to play in Mukilteo,” he said. “We have an overly flush City Hall that we just built, and Rosehill is way over the top for what it does. You go in there and nothing’s going on in it. It’s not used that much. They should have invested more in the Boys & Girls Club.”

Zieve said he appreciates the council’s decision to commit $500,000 to the youth club’s plan to build a new facility in Harbour Pointe this summer. He said he has contributed $200,000 himself.

“I think we’re the only two big donors,” he said.

He said even with the youth club’s new facility, the city still needs another gymnasium. He said his fifth-grade son’s basketball team has struggled to find space to practice, so he hosts the team on his house.

“Of course I love to have them, but it’s just not the best facility,” he said.

Zieve said he recently constructed the sports court at his home, which cost him about $160,000, plus roughly $40,000 in documentation and reports for the city.

“I feel that for a lot of the homeowners, some of this documentation is onerous,” he said. “I will push back hard on the city overreach and expand the list of things that homeowners can do without asking permission from the city.”

Zieve also said he would like to see the mayor return to a part-time position complemented by a full-time city manager.

“We’ve had a part-time mayor for most of the time I’ve been here,” said Zieve, who moved his family to Mukilteo in 2007.

“A part-time mayor would bring in better people and save money for the city, so I will push to return to that model, which we recently abandoned. If you make it a full-time job, you attract a different kind of person who might not be as in touch with reality.”

In choosing which seat to pursue, Zieve said he considered who he might be running against. He said he was impressed with Position 1 candidate Anna Rohrbough – who is set to run against Khan – particularly because she has children in the school district like he does.

Zieve also said he was impressed by Christine Russell, who had announced plans to run for Randy Lord’s Position 3 seat. She has since decided not to run this year. He said that’s why he decided to challenge Champion, but might reconsider based on Russell dropping out of the race.

Regarding Champion and Mayor Jennifer Gregerson, Zieve said his only gripe is that they don’t have children in the schools. Zieve has three children in the school district.

Champion said he respects Zieve’s decision to run.

“Working with my fellow councilmembers, I believe the city is moving in the right direction and that we are legislating for everyone,” he wrote in an email to the Beacon. “I am hopeful that our citizens agree and see the results of our work in the same light.”

Otherwise, Zieve said the city has a good group of people at the helm.

“I am very happy with the City Council and [Mayor] Jennifer [Gregerson] and Bob Champion,” he said. “My goal is to change nothing but the emphasis. Mukilteo is great. I want to keep it great.”

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