Three running for Lynnwood council seat cite background

LYNNWOOD — Each of the three candidates running for Position 2 on the Lynnwood City Council says their background is just what’s needed on the city’s governing body.

Former councilman Jim Smith, who served for 24 years, said experience is needed most.

With the recent turnover on the council, only two current members, Loren Simmonds and Mark Smith, were elected before 2009. Both of them are running for mayor, with Mark Smith giving up his Position 2 seat to do so.

“I really felt my job wasn’t done,” said Jim Smith, who lost his seat two years ago to Van AuBuchon. “There was so much more that I had to offer.”

Jim Smith and Mark Smith are not related.

Shirley Sutton, chairwoman of the city’s Diversity Commission, an advisory board, is African-American. She notes that the city’s demographics have shifted in recent years.

“I don’t believe there has been a female of color on the city council,” she said. “I have not seen myself represented.”

Ian Cotton is new to city politics. He’s a Lynnwood native and young father whose parents are retired and still live in the city.

“The perspective I offer is someone who can identify with the breadth and depth of the diversity within the city,” he said.

Cotton said he’d use as a starting point a 2009 survey of residents in which a majority said their priorities were roads, public safety and parks.

He’d survey people again to see how any budget shortfalls or surpluses should be addressed.

Cotton is concerned that the fire department has too few resources. He also would like to hire a private contractor to run the struggling Lynnwood Golf Course.

“It’s an asset to the city,” he said.

Sutton’s priorities are road maintenance, encouraging diversity among city staff and helping small businesses, she said.

“I think small businesses are the least communicated with. I think we need to look at ways to bring those folks together for support of each other.”

Sutton would like to round up private support for some city events, such as a children’s parade, that were discontinued for lack of funds.

“I would find other ways of being able to bring the richness back into our city that we lost four years ago,” she said.

Smith was known as a budget hawk in his long tenure on the council. Regarding what he sees as the major issues in the city, “I could almost go economics, economics, ecomonics,” he said. “The city’s finances are problematic, right now.”

Cuts in police personnel have resulted in slower or non-existent investigations for lesser crimes, according to Smith.

“We have to prioritize public safety,” he said.

One way to do that would be to dial back on capital projects. An expansion of City Hall a few years ago is a good example, he said.

“We spent a couple of million dollars to remodel City Hall and many of those offices are now vacant,” he said.

Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439;

What’s the job

At stake is a four-year term on the Lynnwood City Council. Council members receive $1,650 per month or $19,800 per year.

Ian Cotton

Age: 35

Experience: No political experience. Worked six and a half years as an electrical engineer.

Website: www.

Jim Smith

Age: 62

Experience: 24 years on the Lynnwood City Council, from 1988 to 2012, including one term as council president.

Volunteer work for numerous organizations. Senior mortgage adviser for Atlas Mortgage.

Website: http://

Shirley Sutton

Age: 66

Experience: Chairwoman of the city of Lynnwood Diversity Commission and service on several other city advisory boards.

Served eight years on the state’s Homelessness Advisory Board.

Website: www.

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