Tough choices | Our View

The Beacon endorses Joe Marine, Randy Lord, Richard Emery and Terry Preshaw
Oct 30, 2013

This year’s mayoral and council elections are among the most challenging in recent memory. Except on one very important issue, there aren’t any major differences of note.

In the mayor’s race, Joe Marine and Jennifer Gregerson are pretty much two sides of the same coin. During their years in city government, they have rarely disagreed.

This time, since they’re running for the same seat, Gregerson has been trying mightily to distinguish herself. Perhaps her stance opposing the need for a full-time mayor and a full-time city administrator is the most notable difference.

Marine argues the city isn’t much different from others, except in titles. He would be fine with renaming the city administrator to better reflect their different roles, but contends the city needs both positions.

We think Gregerson could make a fine mayor one day, but she hasn’t offered a compelling argument to remove Marine. We think he has earned another term.

In the council races, candidates have similar problems. Generally, there’s so little space between their stances, the electorate will have to look at other attributes when casting their votes.

Bob Champion, for example, (Position 2) is touting his ties to the aerospace industry as valuable for the never-ending fight to prevent commercial passenger service at Paine Field.

Fred Taylor (Position 3) suggests his business background would help bring sound fiscal and growth management to the city.

We agree with both candidates that those could be important attributes worthy of bringing to the council. Yet, neither has been active in the city, so it’s hard to know how effective they would be. That gives us pause.

Incumbents Richard Emery (Pos. 2) and Randy Lord (Pos. 3) have both served the city well during their tenures, so we think they deserve re-election.

Ted Wheeler (Position 1) has been heavily involved the past couple of years in the city, something we suggested he do the last time he ran. We applaud him for that.

On the other hand, his opponent, Terry Preshaw (Pos 1), has long been active on various causes in Mukilteo as well. That speaks well for her, too.

However, on the one issue we deem among the most important – relocation of the ferry terminal – Preshaw is the only candidate who has taken a firm stand against the city’s current position. Because of her opposition, we’re endorsing her over Wheeler.

Marine supported, and Gregerson, Lord and Emery all voted for the ferry relocation option that moves the terminal to the east.

And that, we would argue, is among the worst decisions the city has made in the past four years.

We’re reminded of the 1960s era movie “Divorce American Style” in which the husband is complaining to his attorney about the settlement with his wife.

“She gets the house; I get the mortgage. She gets the car; I get the payments. She gets the country club; I get the dues.” And finally, in exasperation, “She gets the mine; I get the shaft.”

That’s how we view the city’s capitulation on the waterfront redevelopment plan. Regional and state transportation agencies get the mine; Mukilteo gets the shaft.

Proponents point out that relocating the ferry landing will solve the traffic problem at Front Street and the Speedway, and it will all but remove the ferry holding lane from the Speedway.

Those are small tokens when one considers that our waterfront is going to be turned into a giant parking lot and transportation hub for commuters.

What else does Mukilteo get? A “promenade.” That’s a fancy word for a sidewalk. Big deal.

Proponents also argue that Mukilteo doesn’t have much leverage against the “big boys.” So they’re raising the white flag without a fight?

Marine said it would have been better if the state’s plans were to move the ferry all the way to the Everett end of the Tank Farm, and if it also re-routed ferry off-loading to Seaway Boulevard. Though, he’ll settle for what the state wants.

Gregerson said that because a move one third of a mile east is the preferred option, as mayor she’ll work to improve the aesthetics of the waterfront with landscaping, street trees and fencing. Adding fences is like putting lipstick on a pig.

Whoever wins, we need a mayor and council that will revisit the city’s ferry decision, and find a solution that protects Mukilteo’s interests.

Vote for what’s best for Mukilteo.

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