Lynnwood. Knit together mallopolis, a surging immigrant population, Edmonds Community College, Levittown-old and edge-city new. There is a there there even if there’s not a consensus about the where of the there.
The true there — the neighborhoods where citizens and families make their home — deserve inspired political leadership. Step one is voting out a hamstrung and morale-bruising mayor, Don Gough. In 2010, the Lynnwood City Council voted 6 to 1 to censure Gough and demand his resignation because of sexist and abusive behavior later documented in an investigative report. Gough’s abrasive style is inversely proportional to the regard regional leaders have for his leadership. Voters have an opportunity to seal the had-enough quandary and pick from three superb candidates.
Mark Smith, Nicola Smith and Loren Simmonds are community leaders passionate about untangling administrative communications (councilmembers should be able to ask department heads questions) and reviving the spirits of downbeat city workers.
In addition to improving transparency (no easy task, that) the next mayor could play a meaningful role in the final alignment of link light rail. The Lynnwood Golf Course (Reform-Suggestion One: Change the name) is a money pit that begs for a sustainable, long-term plan. And the political culture hasn’t tracked with a major demographic shift, an influx of first-generation Americans.
Mark Smith, a nonprofit manager and eight-year member of the city council, is the most impressive candidate, with the experience and talent necessary to run a growing city and breathe life into city administration. His agenda from preserving and expanding neighborhood parks to developing city center aligns with the public interest and is echoed by both Nicola Smith and Simmonds. Smith’s nuanced (in a good way) response to red-light cameras and the need for balance illustrates political judgment. His focus also teases out another thread, the attenuation of civic pride.
Nicola Smith (no relation) exhibits a similar leadership style, with formidable administrative skills and a strong, clear vision for the city. Smith, dean of student life and development at EdCC, is a leader who can manage budgets and, like Mark Smith, has an international background conducive to the Lynnwood melting pot. The bad (or good) news is she has never held elected office.
Loren Simmonds, the current council president, is a respected community leader who emphasizes accountable, open government.
Mark Smith and Nicola Smith deserve to move on to the November general election.