Political balance in Mukilteo

By Kevin Stoltz, Mukilteo City Councilmember | Oct 12, 2011

Last month, after a financial review of what I call the “business as usual” fiscal policy, I promised this month I’d share who I think you should vote for and why.

First the why – although it’s not always obvious unless you’re very involved in Mukilteo city government – by not making a change you will likely see the impact sooner rather than later in the form of higher taxes, reduced services and public safety deficiencies.

After almost six years as a council member, I’m tired of financial forecasts changing and not knowing who in the administration is justifying those changes and whose agenda is being pushed as a result.

I’m tired of seeing items approved by the council in the budget not implemented by staff due to “cost savings” concerns or because someone in the administration has a “better idea” of how they want to spend the money.

I’m tired of the administration setting policy without council approval and not answering questions from councilmembers when they’re caught.

But most of all, I’m tired of the council not stepping up when these things happen and doing something about it. That’s the council’s job – and WHY I believe balance of the council needs to change.

My recommendation to Mukilteo voters is to add three new faces to the Mukilteo City Council: Steve Schmalz, Terry Preshaw, and Dr. Scott Casselman.

I’ve known all three of these candidates for several years and believe them all to have the right skills, experience and knowledge of Mukilteo to provide the leadership we need now.

They are independent and critical thinkers. They are all professional and intelligent. They don’t resort to petty politics and vindictive retribution if you don’t agree with them.

I know they won’t always agree on issues, but I do know they’ll listen to and consider various points of view and all the information available, not just what is presented by the administration.

Steve Schmalz – If you’ve enjoyed community events including Open Mic at the Red Cup, the Waterfront Art Festival, the Holiday Art Market, Waterfront Wednesdays and the Mukilteo Festival, you’ve probably seen Steve.

Steve and his wife Christine have been huge proponents of the Arts in Mukilteo for many years and have worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life in Mukilteo.

Before Mukilteo residents were being asked how they felt about Mukilteo’s annexation plan, Steve was active collecting petition signatures to present to the council.

Steve lives in central Mukilteo (just off 92nd St.) and is a business owner at Mukilteo’s waterfront area.

He’s very familiar with the activities at our waterfront and very familiar with city fiscal policy. Steve is running for the council position being vacated by Tony Tinsley and has his support in addition to the Mukilteo firefighters.

Terry Preshaw – Terry is an attorney and lives in Mukilteo’s Old Town area.

As the president of the Lighthouse Festival and a founding member of the community orchestra, Terry’s involvement and commitment to Mukilteo is obvious.

Terry was also very active in Friends of the Community Center and was very active in keeping the community center location for the community.

Terry is often found throughout the community with camera in hand and is not only a gifted photographer of our community and its people, but she has a unique ability to see through the political rhetoric and focus on what needs to get done.

Terry’s business experience and strategic planning and implementation abilities will be a very welcome addition to the council.

Dr. Scott Casselman – I met Scott many years ago when I joined CAMP (Citizens Active for Mukilteo’s Preservation), which Scott had founded. There’s no one who cares more about maintaining our quality of life in Mukilteo and improving Mukilteo for future generations than Scott.

Scott has served on the Parks and Arts Commission and is currently a board member of Friends of the Mukilteo Waterfront. Scott has been actively working to preserve Japanese Gulch and ensure the community center grounds would be maintained for the community even before it was popular to do so.

Even with Scott’s demonstrated commitment to our community, I think what I look forward to most having him as a councilmember is his charismatic way of asking people to justify their position with solid information and facts and not just the fluff.

If the incumbents/opponents to my recommendations win their bid for Mukilteo City Council I predict you can expect them to see that as their mandate to move forward with annexation despite the Mukilteo citizens advisory vote against annexation, reconsider the use of red-light cameras despite the Mukilteo citizens advisory vote against them, move forward with the sewer and water utility tax increase which somehow has been slid until after the election despite being included as a revenue source in the 2011 budget, as well as an onslaught of additional tax increases without asking residents first.

The two incumbents running against Terry and Scott will also see their re-election as validation that they should move forward with the “business as usual” positions they support despite the clear direction the voters have provided on those issues.

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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