Our picks…

Oct 26, 2011

We noticed two positives in this year's City Council races:

First, every race is contested. We're always concerned when someone runs unopposed. It suggests the community isn't paying attention and/or too few are interested in stepping up to help make Mukilteo a better place to live.

Second, voters this year have a good slate from which to choose. All of the candidates have demonstrated a knowledge of the issues and offered (mostly) reasonable ideas and solutions. By and large, we believe any one of them would serve the community well.

Our picks:

In Position 4, voters have two good choices in Steve Schmalz and Ted Wheeler. We're giving the nod to Steve Schmalz based on his greater participation in community events. Since he and his wife Christine moved to Mukilteo, the community's cultural opportunities have flowered. We think he would be a good friend to the arts, an important ingredient in any successful recipe for a well-rounded community.

While Mr. Wheeler's participation on the city's Long Term Financial Committee is a good start, we'd like to see further involvement in the community that would help strengthen his resume for a future council seat.

In Position 5, we think Emily Vanderwielen has earned a second term. She has proven to be a hard worker, participating in numerous groups beyond the council that help her keep tabs on the town's heartbeat. We agree with her that the city has been run well, and that sound financial decisions have helped elevate it into the top 10 nationwide and earned it a rare AAA rating.

While we appreciate that Terry Preshaw has been an active and enthusiastic worker in Mukilteo's arts community, we think the adversarial approach that serves her in the legal profession would be counterproductive on a body where collaboration is key even when reasonable people disagree.

We admit we would like to see Scott Casselman on the council. He has worked hard over the years to retain as much parkland and open space as possible, often tilting at windmills. We appreciate his single-minded focus on that issue. We also like his belief in strong values, and believe he would impart those if he were elected.

But we're hard-pressed to see a good reason not to give Linda Grafer a second term in Position 6. No one has worked harder for parks and open space. Witness her 18 years(!) as chair of the city's Parks & Arts Commission. On the council, she has proven open-minded and attentive, regularly asking for clarification on the myriad issues that come before her.

In fact, we'll ask her and other councilmembers to reconsider their position on the ferry relocation options. We think the best option is to leave it in place, opening up more opportunities for open space and thoughtful redevelopment on the tank farm site. We know Linda, at least, will listen.

Finally, we're inclined to support Jennifer Gregerson for another term in Position 7. She has steadily grown in maturity and leadership over her first two terms, traits that will be needed on the council, especially if there is widespread turnover.

We share concerns expressed by Carolyn (Dode) Carlson over issues that could negatively impact Mukilteo's senior citizens. We hope she will continue to lobby on their behalf no matter what the outcome of the coming election.

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