By Jerry Cornfield Herald Writer
MILL CREEK — The city’s newest council member isn’t getting a free ride in his first election.
Councilman Lynn Sordel was appointed in November and is facing Herbie Martin and Sean Kelly in the Aug. 6 primary for his Position 1 seat. The two candidates with the most votes in next month’s election will duel this fall for a four-year term. The office is nonpartisan.
Mill Creek, which incorporated in 1983, is a community of 18,480 residents. It’s experienced much change since its birth highlighted by a series of annexations since 2000 increasing its population and the emergence of a vibrant Mill Creek Town Center boosting its coffers.
Of late there have been emotional civic battles such as a protracted row over where to build a new senior center which ended without any action. And the recession hit the city budget hard prompting the council last year to propose hiking the sales tax by one-tenth of a penny to generate additional dollars for public safety. Voters approved the increase last fall.
With a stabilizing economy, the seven-member council is looking ahead. One of the major challenges will be handling a proposal for homes and shops, including a Target department store, on land situated on the city’s east side.
Sordel, 62, a seven-year resident of Mill Creek, is director of parks and recreation for the city of Lynnwood. He said his career in the public sector gives him the skills for dealing with the complexities of such long term planning.
“Public policy is our crucial responsibility and I know what it takes to create good public policies,” he said.
He said his goals are to promote economic growth without damaging the quality of life now enjoyed by residents, improve roads and beef up public safety.
He also intends to keep an open mind about potential annexations in the future.
“There’s a huge cost to annexation,” he said. “It has to make financial sense and be sustainable.”
Martin, 50, became a city resident as a result of a 2005 annexation. The former military police officer now works as a financial service specialist with the state Department of Social and Health Services.
Martin is making his first run for office and said he decided to take on Sordel because he too had not run before. He wants to focus on promoting economic development and examining future annexations.
He’s also hoping to bring diversity to the council.
“Our state is becoming more diverse but our elected officials (on the council) do not represent the demographics of the population,” said Martin, who is African-American. “I have spent my life in public service for my country, my state and now my community.”
Kelly, 46, did not return phone calls or emails to discuss his candidacy.
He is an engineer with The Boeing Co. and a first-time candidate, according to his statement in the voters’ pamphlet.
He describes himself as a “problem solver” who will bring “a new perspective” to resolving concerns encountered by the city.
He says his top priorities are public safety, maintaining quality services without overspending and encouraging growth of new businesses.
Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; firstname.lastname@example.org
Mill Creek City Council Position 1
What’s the job?
At stake is a four-year term on the Mill Creek City Council where members earn $500 a month or $6,000 a year.
Meet the candidates
Experience: Appointed to City Council in November 2012; director of parks and recreation for the city of Lynnwood; Master’s in parks and recreation administration, Western Illinois University.
Experience: retired U.S. Army; Washington State Labor Council vice president; financial service specialist for Department of Social and Health Services in King County; Master’s in pastoral studies, Seattle University.
Experience: Engineer, The Boeing Co.; Bachelor’s of science in aeronautics,