On Nov. 13, four men on the Everett City Council made the wrong decision for the citizens of Everett. They had the best opportunity they are ever likely to have to start correcting the gender imbalance on the council. Even after the frontrunner, June Robinson, dropped out of the running to pursue a likely soon-to-be-vacant seat in the Washington House of Representatives, the council still had a diverse field of four well-qualified women from whom to choose. Instead, the council chose one of the two remaining male candidates, again leaving only one female member.
Whether or not Rich Anderson turns out to be a good council member, this action diminishes the quality of the council. The message sends a chill through the ranks of women who may be thinking about leadership in Everett. In effect, it reinforces the reality that half the possible people from whom to choose are ineligible. Why should even a well-qualified woman go to the effort of seeking such an appointment if she is repeatedly shown that she has little chance of winning? Then we are all cheated out of benefiting from her potential leadership. These were not token women candidates who were passed over. They were accomplished, dedicated citizens of Everett who could have made a difference.
Paul Roberts and Brenda Stonecipher are to be commended for their votes. It’s a shame and a disservice to the people of Everett that more on the council did not join them.