Ryan for county council

Blessed are the policy wonks, for theirs is the kingdom of public service.

Snohomish County Councilmember Dave Gossett is the consummate wonk who mastered the mechanics of county government to make this region a better place. A former mayor of Mountlake Terrace and a recovering bureaucrat (he was a legislative analyst for the council for 11 years), Gossett is completing his third and final term on the council.

His example underscores the need for wise souls to gravitate to public life, that to serve is to internalize the minutia of transportation, public works and land-use planning leavened with humanity. It’s meaningful, unsexy, essential work.

Gossett’s legacy is both intangible — his regional credibility as a member of the Puget Sound Regional Council; and unheralded — bringing the prescription-discount drug card to Snohomish County. Like Bob Drewel, Gossett’s footprints will grow more visible long after he passes the baton.

Terry Ryan, who served for 17 years on the Mill Creek City Council and eight years as mayor, has the integrity, experience and work ethic to emulate the Gossett model (Granted, the wonk bar has been set very high.) Ryan deserves the support of voters.

The fourth council district is a nest of suburban towns feathering out from cul-de-sacs to there-there communities: parts of Bothell, Brier, Lynnwood, Mill Creek and Mountlake Terrace. This is a district where questions of land use and public safety crystallize.

Transfer of development rights? Densification is more than a buzz word for south county citizens who like the idea of smart growth but aren’t keen about development in exchange for farmland and open space.

Ryan is circumspect in his approach to Executive John Lovick’s operating budget, a 5.4 percent increase over last year’s. He’s also weighing the wisdom of four new county positions, including an ombudsman and sustainability officer.

Ryan was a budget hawk on the Mill Creek council, a virtue that will translate well to county government (Ryan’s opponent, Robert Reedy, is an inactive campaigner.)

There’s much to get done, from shoring up a dysfunctional jail to finding a sustainable plan for a new county courthouse. Ryan is up to the challenge.

A Kidder Matthews VP, Ryan is a youth sports coach with a capacity to attract businesses to his town — from Lowes hardware to the UW bookstore (!) He said he was inspired to run by the example of his late father, who rose from the bottom rung of King County government to number two in the executive’s office. That required grit, spirit and judgment. The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.

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