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Published: Tuesday, October 25, 2011, 12:01 a.m.

Mountlake Terrace council candidates question endorsements

  • Robert Reedy (left) and Michelle Robles

    Robert Reedy (left) and Michelle Robles

  • Seaun Richards (left) and John Zambrano

    Seaun Richards (left) and John Zambrano

  • Christina O'Brien (left) and Laura Sonmore

    Christina O'Brien (left) and Laura Sonmore

MOUNTLAKE TERRACE -- Three incumbent City Council members in this south Snohomish County city face challengers on the November ballot.
One race is getting most of the attention. That contest matches two-term council member John Zambrano and local restaurateur Seaun Richards.
A second race matches Laura Sonmore, the council's longest-serving member, and challenger Christina O'Brien.
The third pits two-term council member Michelle Robles and challenger Robert Reedy.
Zambrano is a polarizing figure with subscribers to his "Z-man Community News" and many detractors.
Two years ago, in the middle of his term, he ran against fellow Councilman Jerry Smith, whom the council has continued to elect as mayor. Smith won with 60 percent of the vote.
Zambrano says the 2009 challenge is why Richards and primary opponent Kim Michel ran against him.
Richards led the primary with 42 percent of the vote to 37 percent for Zambrano and 20 percent for Michel.
Smith backs Richards, but Richards says that his challenge has nothing to do with the 2009 election. However, he says that he waited until the end of filing to be sure Zambrano didn't file for a different position.
The campaign has featured a flier pointing out a Richards bankruptcy and saying that Richards' claim of a police endorsement is deceptive.
Richards calls it negative campaigning and points to an endorsement from a chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police.
Zambrano said Thursday that his accomplishments include recruiting City Manager John Caulfield, bringing a transit station to Mountlake Terrace, and fighting the Brightwater sewer treatment plant from King County.
He called Richards a newcomer to Mountlake Terrace with no record of city involvement.
Richards points to his neighborhood organizing and his work for underprivileged children.
Richards says he would be a council member who would listen to all points of view.
Questionable endorsement claims also show up in other campaigns. Reedy says that ads claiming Robles and Sonmore are "endorsed by firefighters" didn't reflect an endorsement from local groups. Robles responds that the endorsement came from District 1 firefighters who work in Mountlake Terrace.
All the candidates talk about downtown development, keeping sound finances and a new civic campus.
Voters last year turned down a bond issue for a civic campus. The city has used rented space for a city hall and police station. Most candidates talk about developing a scaled-back proposal.
Incumbent Sonmore said Tuesday that the city should present voters with a proposal with fewer "bells and whistles."
Sonmore and Zambrano said Thursday that the council would soon consider a proposal to present to voters in the spring, for a bond measure with about two-thirds the price tag of the 2010 measure,
Reedy, who is challenging incumbent Robles, says that the city needs the city hall and police station. Reedy also has criticized Robles for a poor attendance record.
Robles says many of her absences have been due to health issues.
Sonmore said the city needs her experience. O'Brien, her challenger, said that she could offer new ideas and also wants to bring more transparency to city government.

Mountlake Terrace City Council
Position 5
Robert Reedy
Age: 57
Occupation: Semiretired from Bell Telephone; now doing project jobs including census and other government-related work, and certain kinds of insurance work
Website: Email
Priorities: Spend wisely and frugally; continue the Town Center; build a new city hall and police station, allowing voters to answer the question of how.

Michelle Robles
Age: 49
Occupation: Pharmacist
Website: None
Priorities: Economic vitality and revitalization; maintain the environment and sustainability; make over the Civic Campus and 56th Street.

Position 6
Christina O'Brien
Age: 33
Occupation: Customer service
Website: Facebook page, Christina O'Brien for Council
Priorities: Work for the good of the residents; bring youth, energy and new ideas.

Laura Sonmore
Age: Did not provide
Occupation: Employed at Boeing
Website: None
Priorities: Provide residents the highest level of services; maintain community safety and recreation enjoyment; communicate with residents through newsletters, public announcements, Facebook, city website and Coffee with the City.

Position 7
Seaun Richards
Age: 54
Occupation: Restaurateur
Priorities: Better communication between the council and neighborhoods; continue financial stability and help new businesses consider relocating to Mountlake Terrace; revitalize the downtown corridor

John Zambrano
Age: 70
Occupation: Retired from military
Website: Email
Priorities: Obtain state and federal funding for city infrastructure improvements; streamline permitting process; collaborate and partner with Sound Transit to bring light rail to Mountlake Terrace as decided by voters.

Story tags » Mountlake TerraceLocal elections

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