What other issues are important to City Council candidates?

By Brandon Gustafson | Jul 31, 2019

Ballots have been mailed, and the Aug. 6 primary election is less than a week away.

There are four City Council seats (Positions 4-7) on the ballot this year, and three candidates are running for each seat, and only the top-two vote getters in each race will advance to the general election in November.

To help Mukilteo voters learn more about the 12 candidates seeking office, The Beacon sent out six questions for the candidates to answer.

So far, we have heard candidates’ thoughts on the form of government ballot measure, a proposed waterfront parking lot, commercial air service at Paine Field, potential annexation of unincorporated Snohomish County, and keeping Mukilteo a desirable place to live, as well as making it more appealing to those who may want to move into town.

This week we have our final question, where candidates were asked what the biggest issue facing Mukilteo is that wasn’t addressed in the first five questions, and what could be done to solve it.

Like the last three weeks, candidates were given a maximum of 150 words for their responses.

Candidate responses are listed in order of which seat they are running for (Position 4 first, 7 last), and are in alphabetical order by last name.

 

Charles Eakins – Position 4

I think traffic, and light timing, is the biggest issue we have right now.

I’ve talked to WSDOT engineers, and I’m glad to say that the left turn lights at the QFC entrance will be changing to a flashing yellow left turn light.

We need to come up with some creative solutions to combat this problem.

 

Richard Emery – Position 4

There are three substantive issues that come to mind: a Senior Center; our role and capacity to respond appropriately to global warming, climate change and protecting the environment; and the mental and emotional health of our young people and increasing efforts to address that with expanded training in ACES and trauma informed responses for all interested.

All are urgent. All are achievable. There’s motion on supporting a senior center among the council, although funding for construction and operation remains uncertain. Mukilteo, I was recently informed, already has achieved 98 percent renewable energy consumption. The 2045 goal for clean energy may be able to move up.

The County is engaged in efforts to provide ACES and trauma-informed care training around the area, and could be available to our citizens.

This will help us understand warning signs and provide skills in how to effectively respond to those about whom we may be concerned.

 

Scott Whelpley – Position 4

 

I have a proven record of cutting wasteful spending before raising taxes.

What concerns me is that the General Fund Projection Model shows general spending will be more than we are taking in by 2022.

Since 2008, the City has spent more money every year than it brings in. The poor mismanagement of resources and ridiculous amount of spending has us barely breaking even today.

In 2008, our reserves sat at $8 million and have slowly plummeted to $3 million. The soaring cost in salaries and benefits makes up 70 percent of our operating cost, with some departments as high as 90 percent.

Bottom line, we aren’t taking in enough to fund both operations and reserves, so we will need to identify additional revenues and/or cuts to services in order to keep balanced budgets.

November’s elections are more than choosing councilmember seats; it could be a vote for/against irresponsible spending and tax increases.

Riaz Khan – Position 5

Accountability – the City needs to keep a tight rein on its finances. Public trust is crucial to good leadership. Complete transparency and frequent audits of our books are crucial for public confidence. That money belongs to taxpayers, not the government, and we owe it to them to be fully accountable.

 

Christopher Maddux – Position 5

The City has faced some financial issues recently.

During one of the worst downturns of our economy, the City was financially stable and was able to build a new City Hall, rebuild Rosehill, and acquire Japanese Gulch.

But with the current economy growing and doing well, the City does not appear to be benefiting from it, even after increasing the sales tax to the point that Mukilteo is now tied with Lynnwood and Mill Creek for highest in the state.

We need to take a good look at where our increasing taxes are going, and be transparent about it, reporting to the citizens.

We need to make sure that we are properly investing in our community so we can again be listed on Money Magazine’s Top-10 Best Cities to Live In.

 

James Yoo – Position 5

Lack of communication between the City Council and the citizens.

This can be achieved by having frequent town hall sessions and encourage participation of each segment of the community.

 

Exekiel Aranez – Position 6

First, people must support funding for Mukilteo schools for our teachers to teach our children immeasurably. We must invest in the next generations.

Second, in helping our nation's veterans, we must innovate veterans' centers and build community based-outpatient clinics to provide adequate health care.

Third, in understanding social justice means, we must build effort in learning what holds racism from racial equity, disparity, and discrimination here in Mukilteo.

Finally, to hold discipline in budgeting accountability. It means to have good reasoning for our decision making. We must have a good understanding of the requirements and recommendations in preparing to disburse our Mukilteo budget.

A good understanding of revenue and expenditures of estimations will ensure the Mukilteo budget is responsibly prepared.

 

Elisabeth Crawford – Position 6

One of the greatest challenges facing our city is maintaining the high level of service that our residents deserve within the constraints of sustainable and responsible budgeting. With City staff salaries approaching 90 percent of our total budget, we must find innovative solutions to provide amenities while reducing our overall expenditures.

A particularly challenging area is our Rosehill Community Center, which I believe doesn’t adequately meet the needs of our community by providing dedicated space for seniors, and better access for youth.

The community center should be a place where groups can come together to engage and enhance the quality of community life. The City’s general fund subsidizes operations, yet Rosehill isn’t always available for our residents.

I will work with City Council, City staff, and the community to establish a better system and fee structure for the use of our Community Center making it more accessible to residents.

 

Peter Zieve – Position 6

I prefer to maintain locally controlled police and fire departments that we can keep focused on Mukilteo community needs.

Mukilteo is surrounded by a mix of communities, and many problems come across the borders. In the last year, there has been an increase in burglary and mail theft. There have been quite a few murders close by.

On July 3, 2018, a 23-year-old male body was found on the Mukilteo side of Beverly Park Road. The problems come into our city.

I want to encourage our police department and give them our full backing. That puts us in contrast to the situation in Seattle, where one article in mynorthwest.com claims Seattle police are leaving “in droves” due to lack of support from the City.

I am also an advocate for strong enforcement of vagrancy laws. In addition, in my view, panhandling should not be allowed in Mukilteo.

 

Joe Marine – Position 7

A big Mukilteo issue is our waterfront redevelopment. We need to sit down with our partners and make sure the redevelopment will benefit Mukilteo and not just be in Mukilteo.

Washington State Ferries, Sound Transit the Tulalip Tribes, NOAA, and the Port want their piece on the waterfront, and we need to make sure it works for Mukilteo.

Kristina Melnichenko – Position 7

The expected impact of increased commercial and commuter traffic through Old Town following the ferry expansion and movement project is what I hear about the most when talking to voters.

Hybridization of commercial and residential zones in Old Town is unacceptable and is the result of business interests taking precedence over homeowners.

As a representative focused on economic justice and preserving the quality of Mukilteo, I would fight to keep Mukilteo Lane a residential road. The City Council has the option to close the road, make it one-way, or do nothing. I would ask my fellow councilmembers to support a one-way street with no access for vehicles exiting the ferry.

I am running to represent Mukilteo homeowners and residents during this time of expansion and growth, and will never waste a vote – I am asking you to elect me to act on your behalf. Thank you for your consideration.

 

The primary election is Tuesday, Aug. 6.

There are several options available for submitting your ballot: through a ballot drop box, an accessible voting site, in person at the Snohomish County Auditor’s Office, or by mail. Postage is not required, regardless of how the ballot is returned.

In Mukilteo, a drop box is available at the Mukilteo Library (4675 Harbour Pointe Blvd).

The drop box is open 24 hours a day until 8 p.m. on Aug. 6.

Ballots returned through the mail must be postmarked no later than Aug. 6.

For more information, visit www.snoco.org/elections, or email elections@snoco.org.

 

The Beacon did not receive responses from Position 7 candidate Tina Over.

 

 

 

 

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