Questioning Mukilteo’s City Council candidates

Beacon launches 5-week series featuring candidate views on top issues
By Nicholas Johnson | Jun 28, 2017
Photo by: candidates Eight of 10 Mukilteo City Council candidates responded to a set of five questions from the Mukilteo Beacon. Candidates pictured above include (from top left) incumbent City Council President Bob Champion, Peter Zieve, Tina Over, Anna Rohrbough, Tony Markey, Sarah Kneller, James Yoo and Riaz Khan. Position 3 candidates Troy Gray and Maxwell Chen did not respond to the Beacon's questions.

In lieu of a live candidate forum for Mukilteo’s most robust City Council race in decades, the Beacon invited all 10 candidates to respond to a set of five questions.

Beginning this week, the Beacon will publish their answers over the next five weeks, focusing on one question each week.

All candidates were given a week to consider the questions and submit answers of no more than 200 words for each. Eight provided responses.

Position 3 candidates Troy Gray and Maxwell Chen did not respond. They are running alongside candidates Tony Markey and Sarah Kneller in a four-way race to replace three-term council member Randy Lord.

This week’s question: With terminal construction underway at Paine Field airport and Alaska Airlines planning to offer regularly scheduled passenger flights by fall 2018, do you believe the city should continue its fight against commercial air service there all together? If so, how should the city continue that fight if the state Supreme Court declines to consider the city’s appeal of the project? If not, how would you work to mitigate potential impacts on noise, traffic and property values, among others?


Pos. 1


Anna Rohrbough

Mukilteo city has spent close to $700,000 fighting to keep commercial air service out of Snohomish County. If the state Supreme Court declines the city’s final appeal in the fight against commercial air service, I believe it is time to put our resources into building partnerships.

Snohomish County, the property owner, has the power to request mitigation on the potential impacts of noise, traffic and property values. I want to be sure we have a voice in that process.

First, we must be involved in the conversation about traffic flow. I will reach out to make sure the signage from the airport is directing traffic away from the Speedway, alleviating the impact on our roads.

Second, we must have a voice in the noise abatement procedures so that we can lessen the impact on our community through time restrictions and flight patterns.

Third, we must re-consider annexing the property east of the Speedway, allowing us to have control over billboards and the types of businesses that open their doors in the heart of Mukilteo.

I believe that if we can build partnerships with Snohomish County and other local entities, we can be a part of the solution to lessen the impact on our community.


Riaz Khan

The terminal construction at Paine Field airport is a done deal. At the initial stage, it could have stopped. It’s very difficult now to reverse the decision of the supreme court. Adding more money and even trying for reconsideration is not worth it. I feel like it would be a waste of time and resources. This argument would be like beating a dead horse.

As far as noise concerns, the city should ask to use the modern aircraft that does not create very loud sound while taking off or landing. Aircraft should not fly after 8 p.m. for any reason. Airport authority must respect the resting hours of the Mukilteo residents.

We need to keep the traffic in control, therefore, Alliance Snohomish County Ambassadors should not push to open more than two gates at the airport terminal. The city should never be allowed to build high-rise buildings in or surrounding Mukilteo to maintain property values.


James Yoo

I remain fundamentally opposed to commercial air service at Paine Field. Thus, I think it is important to exhaust all our legal options before we end our opposition. While we await the outcome of any legal case, we must prepare for the potential of commercial service.

To prepare for the potential impacts on noise, traffic, property values and the increased pollution that these flights will bring to Mukilteo, it is imperative that we hear from our residents. We need to hold a series of town-hall meetings for the residents to voice their opinions and concerns.

We need to work with and choose industry experts who value our concerns and understand what it takes to sustain our high quality of life once these flights arrive. We also need to work with small businesses to develop a plan to maximize the increase in tourism that these flights might bring to the local economy while working with the appropriate departments to ensure the infrastructure and travel lanes are sufficient to handle the burden these flights bring.

When these flights arrive, we must be prepared to handle them.


Pos. 2


Bob Champion

As unfortunate as it is and in spite of the city’s and Save Our Communities’ best efforts, commercial air service is coming to Paine Field.

We must continue to work with and collaborate with Snohomish County, Propeller and Alaska Airlines in an ongoing effort to minimize the impacts on noise, traffic and property values. Alaska Airlines, our new neighbor, prides itself as a leader in community accountability, sustainability and flight safety.

I will make certain that the city works with Alaska Airlines to ensure that they operate in a manner that minimizes noise, employs required navigation procedures and leverages their position so that this new terminal exceeds Alaska’s commitment to community accountability.


Peter Zieve

An article on KING-5 said there would be a maximum of 24 flights per day. This will have a negligible effect on residents of Mukilteo. I say it is time to stand down on this and save the money.


Tina Over

I have talked to many Mukilteo residents that live by this area and the main concern seems to be about the decrease in the value of their homes that this type of commercial service could potentially cause.

As a Real Estate Broker in Mukilteo, I believe that the homes that are directly in the flight path may be the ones at risk for decreased home values.

I am against the commercial service. My biggest concern would be any future renegotiation of the terms in number of flights and time.

In reference of traffic, we would need to work to find a solution to this problem as quickly as possible if the state Supreme Court declines our appeal.


Pos. 3


Tony Markey

The city has “fought the good fight” for its residents, but there is little value in continuing to throw good money after bad in our legal fight to restrict air traffic.

Rather than persist in this approach, I support working with Paine field and Propeller to keep these flights to a minimum. All proposals should consider the impact on Mukilteo, but we won’t be invited to the table if we’re always playing the antagonist.

My professional background includes managing partner relationships as well as working with executives to determine mutually beneficial strategies. It’s also important to consider that Boeing is a major stakeholder. Many Mukilteo residents work at Boeing, so Mukilteo’s interests align more with Boeing than with Paine field.

We need people on City Council with experience managing this type of partner relationship. Boeing has already cut its workforce in Everett by hundreds of jobs this year.

Will the prospect of more flights mean that Boeing will continue to shrink its manufacturing workforce and shift business elsewhere? If that proves to be the case, then $94,000 in mitigation from Propeller could prove to be a paltry and unacceptable consolation prize for Mukilteo.


Sarah Kneller

We need to be smarter about where we allocate our funds and time, and shift our focus to mitigating the issues we have the opportunity to address with the airport. We have the opportunity to develop a relationship with Alaska Airlines.

As the only candidate who attended the Paine Field Community Committee meeting addressing the issue, I was able to ask questions surrounding opportunities to address noise, traffic and flight curfews. Snohomish County doesn’t currently have any policy that limits curfew hours, and by opting to build a relationship and work in a cooperative manner, we will save our taxpayers further costly legal action, which has failed at every level thus far, and instead build a cooperative relationship to work together for an outcome that is better for our citizens and our budget bottom line.

The consensus is that Alaska wants to be a good neighbor and they are willing to work with the community they serve. We need to recognize this opportunity and act on it.

Comments (2)
Posted by: Lynn McKinney | Jul 08, 2017 00:13

It concerns me, that from the questioning of current and potential candidates about the issue of commercial flights, that the common theme seems to be increased traffic, noise and legal costs.  Very little was addressed about the health and environmental impacts, as addressed by James Yoo (that should be a main issue), and the impact on Boeing and potential manufacturing as addressed by Tony Markey.

As a military brat, I know this all too well.

Some Facts About [Aircraft] Fuel

One aircraft take-off can burn thousands of pounds of fuel.

Air pollution levels from one 747 takeoff is similar to setting the local gas station on fire and then flying it over your head!

The pollution from just one, two-minute 747 takeoff is equal to operating 2.4 million lawnmowers simultaneously. That's four states worth.

24 flights a day, seems like a lot to me.  And as Brett Smith, chief executive of New York-based private equity firm Propeller Airports, the developer of the passenger terminal, said Wednesday that Alaska is only the first airline to commit to starting service out of Paine Field. He expects more to come.

“We have interest from a number of carriers,” Smith said in an interview. “I’m confident there will be more than Alaska by next year.”

The 24 Alaska flights is just the tip of the iceburg.

The Federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry states that volatile organic compounds in jet exhaust, precisely 1,3-butadiene and benzene pose increased health risks in the exposed populace for leukaemia and thyroid cancer.

Data from the State of Washington Department of Health regarding Seattle-Tacoma Airport shows that cancer rates are not only up near the airport, but increase the closer you get to it.

A second Washington state study of another airport, Boeing Field, by the Seattle-King County Department of Health shows that cancer rates are up 31% and the rate of respiratory disease among children is more than twice that of the county overall.

Health workers also found high numbers of cases of the brain cancer called glioblastoma.

'Aviation has got away with too much for too long. People and the environment will pay the price if we let air travel continue to soar.'

There are ways to address the issue without hiring attorneys to do the work and break the bank.  For one, anyone can petition the ATSDR (Agency for Toxic disease registry) to do a study on Mukilteo.  And by petition, it means just writing a letter with concerns and potential adverse health effects, past, present and future.  They may be willing to do an incident rate, of rare cancers, birth defects, ground water, dumps studies. The Paine field closed landfill for one, and the huge TOC/VOC plume off from Boeing that has been under wraps and cleanup for decades.  These chemicals can intrude into homes, vapor intrusion, once in the ground water and soil...and cause liver cancer, brain cancer, birth defects, heart defects.  No sound study has been done to date on this area...and it is long overdue.


Posted by: Lynn McKinney | Jul 08, 2017 00:29

As well,

Aviation emissions are transmitted by a spray that is dispersed overhead, that cannot be filtered out by our lungs and is directly transmitted into  blood streams.

The mist is a sticky substance that attaches to vegetation (garden produce), soil, and is also ingested and drank by wildlife, ocean life...

How about putting an environmental charge on air travel based on emissions and the ending of tax exemption on aviation fuel?

Are short jaunt flights really worth it to the environment and health?  The boarding, runway taxi time, landing take offs, one could drive to SeaTac, take a bus or light rail (from Northgate soon)...


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