If at first you don’t succeed

By Kevin Stoltz, Mukilteo City Councilmember | Apr 10, 2013

I’ve come to the conclusion that I have a very serious character flaw as a city councilmember. I’m not a very good “Mukilteo politician.”

I don’t have much tolerance for city officials who make stuff up to get their way. I’m really bad at supporting something that doesn’t make sense so I can get a vote for something that does.

And I’m really terrible at working with people who appear to be inclusive and cooperative in public only to stab you in the back when you’re not looking.

But I’m going to try to be a better Mukilteo politician. I figure I already spend a ridiculous amount of time pulling the facts together necessary to make an educated decision only to have Mukilteo politics influence some other outcome.

Perhaps it’s time I spend less time on the factual argument and more time playing the politics necessary to make sure the facts and the desires of our residents are better incorporated in the decisions we make.

It’s time to try again on some projects that could have and should have been successful in Mukilteo by now. Here are a few items from my list:

Community center

The top priority of the community center needs to be for our residents. Secondary is the rental and, specifically, the wedding market.

Real market rates need to be charged for non-resident rentals to maximize the revenue produced from weddings and, in turn, have more available time slots for community events.

The Christiansen room should be dedicated to the Mukilteo Seniors and as a community meeting room, and not used for rentals.

The hours on Friday evenings, Saturday evenings, and Sundays need to be expanded so the community center is more available for use by those of us in the community who have to work for a living.

Japanese Gulch

As a proponent of acquiring property in Japanese Gulch for parks and open space, I’m in favor of “trying again” ONLY if the council does their job as a body and not the individual behind-the-scene tactics that some of us councilmembers and the public have to either read about or learn from non-Mukilteo officials.

The city needs to have as a minimum a letter of intent expressing an interest in the gulch, and preferably a council resolution so we know what we’re actually trying to do.

The property we’ve already acquired needs to be annexed into Mukilteo now as previously agreed to by Everett and by council resolution. The various appraisals need to be brought in line so we know the actual value of the property.

And the council needs to have a list of options to discuss where we can identify the various sources of paying for the property that will not only incorporate the various grants but also a plan if the anticipated grants don’t come through.

Waterfront pedestrian safety and access

Simply put, we need to do much more to provide safe pedestrian access to the waterfront area and Lighthouse Park. Pedestrians going to Lighthouse Park need to be able to avoid the ferry dock intersection.

There needs to be an alternative pedestrian access to Mukilteo’s waterfront besides the narrow 41-inch sidewalk on the SR-525 bridge.

Waterfront parking

With the construction of the new community center, the improvements to Lighthouse Park, and the widening of the ferry holding area, we lost three different paid parking areas.

As a result, all public paid parking has been eliminated, resulting in parking being driven up into the neighborhoods. The demand for parking at Lighthouse Park has increased resulting in traffic congestion.

We need to manage the parking demand so our residents can enjoy their waterfront. And, yes, it needs to be done without charging our residents.

Mukilteo park-and-ride

Mukilteo needs a park-and-ride. A centrally located park-and-ride on airport property just off of Bernie Webber Drive would not only serve the traditional park-and-ride needs of Mukilteo, but will also help reduce many of the waterfront parking problems we’re now experiencing.

Fortunately, the ball is seriously rolling now. We need to make sure it keeps rolling.

Commercial air service

If there’s truly nothing we can do to stop commercial air service at Paine Field, as some Mukilteo officials are now claiming, why not find some common ground and get our federal representatives to help us?

Why not propose a modification to the Airport Noise and Capacity Act, which currently doesn’t allow any curfews, to instead allow curfews on new scheduled commercial air hours proposed near residential communities?

The truth is out there. All of the above could have and should have been done by now. Now it’s time for the politicians you elected to combine the facts with the politics and get the job done.

Please join Councilmember Steve Schmalz and myself for our monthly Council Chat 7:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, April 18, at in the Rosehill Room at the Rosehill Community Center. Bring your questions, comments, compliments and criticisms.

You can contact me at kstoltz@ci.mukilteo.wa.us or the entire council and mayor at elected@ci.mukilteo.wa.us.

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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