Along with electing a new mayor, Everett voters also are considering candidates for three positions on the city council.
Each race attracted three candidates, sending the decision to voters in Tuesday’s primary. The two candidates receiving the most votes in the primary will advance to the Nov. 7 general election.
Everett City Council, Position 1: Incumbent Paul Roberts, serving since 2006, is seeking his fourth term on the Everett council and has had a long career in local and federal government, serving on the Everett School Board for six years prior to his time with the city.
He is challenged by Leland “Lee” Dart, who runs the MyEverettNews.com website and worked as a reporter and anchor for KRKO and KOMO radio stations; and Justin Murta, an account executive with an employee benefits firm and a music promoter and DJ. Murta, with eight years of service in the Marine Corps, ran last year as a Libertarian Party candidate for state insurance commissioner.
The candidates were profiled in the July 18 Herald.
Dart, because of his journalism job, is knowledgeable about the city issues that inform his opinions and is in frequent attendance at council meetings. Public safety is Dart’s top priority and believes the 18 to 20 vacancies in the police department must be filled as quickly as possible and morale at the fire department needs to be addressed.
Murta, who moved to Everett about a year ago from Snohomish, says he offers fresh perspectives on city issues. He also sees crime as a major concern for the city and identifies a lack of city leadership as blocking solutions for public safety.
Although the current proposal for city council districts is now in question because it failed to gather enough signatures for the November ballot, both Dart and Murta say they supported the recent plan for electing five council members by district with two at-large positions.
Dart also argues that it’s time for Everett to adopt term limits for city officials.
But Roberts’ record of accomplishments and skill on the council are a good argument against term limits.
Prior to his work on the council, he advised Gov. Booth Gardner during the process that brought the Navy base to Everett in the late 1980s, and has since defended it five times during waves of base closures elsewhere.
As one of the local representatives on the Sound Transit board, Roberts was a key proponent of the ST3 project to connect the agency’s Link light rail system to Everett Station, successfully convincing others on the board to route the line through the aerospace manufacturing base at Paine Field and moving up the timeline five years sooner than originally planned.
Roberts also is an environmental leader. Following his presidency at the Association of Washington Cities, Roberts and others got the association’s backing for the Center for Quality Communities, which seeks to foster the development of new technologies and products that address ways to combat and adapt to climate change.
Roberts is second only to Brenda Stonecipher in terms of length of service among the current council members. With a new mayor launching an administration next year, Roberts’ and Stonecipher’s background and experience will be needed at City Hall.
Everett voters should retain Paul Roberts.
Everett City Council, Position 2: Jeff Moore is seeking a third term on the council. Moore, the son of former city council member and mayor Bill Moore, is the executive director of finance and businesses services for the Everett School District and previously worked as an architect.
He is challenged by Alex Lark and Jordan Marsh. The candidates were profiled in the July 24 Herald.
Lark is the philanthropy manager for Housing Hope, which helps build affordable housing for families. Active as an officer in the Army Reserve, Lark previously worked in the offices of U.S. Sen. Patty Murray and former U.S. Rep. Brian Baird, and as a legislative aide for South Korea’s embassy. Lark also serves on the city’s planning commission.
Marsh, a student at Edmonds Community College, did not return attempts to contact him for an interview with the editorial board.
Lark, in keeping with his employment, says affordable housing would be a focus for him as a city council member. He wants to see the city increase the variety and availability of housing, even using the “sweat-equity” model employed by Housing Hope that encourages families to help build the homes they will live in. He also favors urban villages that would integrate housing with transportation, sidewalks and retail development.
Lark and Moore differ little on most issues, with council districts providing a good example. Lark is supportive of council districts, seeing it as a good way for council members to build better relationships with neighborhood residents. Moore, a Silver Lake resident and the council’s only south-end representative, believes the support for districts among residents is clear, but wants further discussion and an open public process. He’d prefer to see four council members elected by districts with three at-large positions.
Lark’s commitment to his chosen city is clear, as evidenced by his career and his time spent with the city planning commission as well as with Leadership Snohomish County and the Everett Station District Alliance, which is seeking to create the urban village development he supports.
But Moore has shown himself to be a valuable member of the council and the community, including past work with the planning commission, Everett Rotary, the Providence General Foundation, United Way’s finance committee and the YMCA.
Moore was an outspoken advocate of regular commercial passenger service at Paine Field and, following the economic downturn, is enthusiastic about opportunities for economic development at the city’s riverfront area and the Port of Everett’s Waterfront Place. Moore supports the direction provided by the city’s recent Streets Initiative and supports consideration of a housing levy to help provide more affordable housing.
Moore also wants the city to begin work on recommendations by the Envision Everett committee, the 20-year plan for economic development, transportation, civic engagement, parks and other issues, that released a report in June.
Moore merits a return to council.
Everett City Council, Position 3: Scott Murphy is seeking reelection as he completes his first term on the Everett council. Murphy, who is a CPA, is also president of Goldfinch Bros., a 125-year-old glass company based in Everett. He also serves on the board of directors for Everett-based Mountain Pacific Bank.
He is challenged by Jonathan Peebles and Jennifer Hesse.
The candidates were profiled in the July 16 Herald.
Peebles is a 2014 graduate of Everett High School and currently the program coordinator for the Global Affairs Center at Shoreline Community College. He also is active with the 38th District Democrats.
He believes the city should consider a minimum-wage law that would help residents afford housing in the city and also believes the city should consider caps on rent. He also wants to see more union jobs fostered in the city to provide good wages.
Hesse has taught German at Jackson High School since 2014 and previously taught with the Richland School District for about 10 years until 2014. Supportive of the Libertarian Party, Hesse seeks greater transparency by the city government and greater citizen participation.
Hesse and Peebles backed the most recent proposal for city council districts.
Both Hesse and Peebles show themselves to be engaged and informed.
But Murphy has the background, experience and financial skill that the council and city need.
Murphy provides the perspective of a small business owner, and his background in accounting has been useful during his service as chairman of the council’s budget committee. He has previously served on the city planning commission, was president of the Everett Public Schools Foundation and chairman of the Community Foundation of Snohomish County.
Murphy does have concerns about the city’s finances, as it and other local governments continue to live with limited growth in revenue while the costs of providing government services increase. Murphy can provide the attention to spending the city needs.
Voters should retain Murphy on the Everett council.