Voter rejection of Lynnwood manager plan blamed on disinterest

  • Tue Dec 6th, 2011 7:30pm

By Mina Williams Herald writer

LYNNWOOD — One of the casualties of the Nov. 8 election was Lynnwood’s Proposition 1, calling for the shift in city government from a mayor-council format to a council-city manager format.

The ballot measure failed with slightly more than 43 percent of Lynnwood’s 7,556 votes.

“We were disappointed with the turnout,” said Ron Siddell, who spearheaded People for a Better Lynnwood, the citizen group beyond Prop. 1. “We have an issue (in Lynnwood) with poor leadership, bad management, abuse of employees and financial mismanagement. This was an opportunity to start new. What does it take to wake people up?”

Councilman Jim Smith championed the move from the legislative standpoint, convincing his colleagues to get the proposition on November’s general election ballot. At the time, Smith emphasized that the residents of Lynnwood should have the opportunity to select the form of government and have the final say.

Voters did have their say. But Siddell says the measure failed because of a lack of people involved.

“We had too few active supporters,” he said. “We simply didn’t have enough people involved. That’s what I’ve learned. We need at least 50 people who are concerned about the city to make a commitment.”

People for a Better Lynnwood has no concrete plans to mount another campaign, yet there are future exploratory meetings being set in January.

Those meetings will set the direction for the group, whether that is mounting another ballot measure, backing a mayoral candidate, working on ways to change the composition of the council, or simply serving as an ad hoc citizen watchdog group.

“Post-election time is a down time,” Siddell said. “But this mix of poor management and politics is not working for our city.”