EVERETT — Two people are challenging incumbent Scott Bader for position 5 on the Everett City Council.
Charlene Rawson has been involved in the Port Gardner neighborhood and the city’s Council of Neighborhoods. Joshua Petersen was encouraged to run by the Snohomish County Green Party.
Bader won a special election to the council in 2012 after Councilman Drew Nielsen died in a rafting accident.
Bader said the city is on the right track under Mayor Ray Stephanson and hopes to see continued improvements.
“My main motivation in running is to continue the good stewardship of the city,” Bader said.
He said he is frustrated that the economy hasn’t rebounded quickly enough to provide the job growth and tax revenue to invest in things like the Everett Public Library’s Evergreen Branch or new parks in south Everett.
“Infrastructure, bringing in business, it’s about keeping jobs. Everything flows out of the jobs we have,” Bader said.
In tackling chronic homelessness in Everett, Bader said that the task force assembled by the city brought together a variety of interest groups, so he is inclined to support their plan, provided it not lose momentum.
“It’s only going to be an effective process if we keep at it and it doesn’t become another report to put on the shelf,” he said.
Bader also advocates garnering more support from the rest of the county for initiatives that address homelessness, mental illness and drug use.
“It really is a regional problem,” he said.
Rawson draws from her activism in the Port Gardner neighborhood to advocate building up the city’s Council of Neighborhoods with more staff.
“I’ve seen a gradual disconnect between the city and the neighborhoods, especially after Drew Nielsen died,” she said. Nielsen was also a former chairman of the council of neighborhoods.
“Plus I feel with the rising drug problems in the city, as good as the police department is, it can’t be everywhere. Neighborhoods need to have more responsibility,” she said.
Community policing works when the city supports it, she said, but that involves encouraging the rebuilding of the block watch programs. Rawson also sees the need to provide more mental health services to help address street-level nuisances.
“I remember the Reagan era when we deconstructed the mental health safety net, and we need to rebuild it. Some of these people shouldn’t be out there,” she said.
She also advocates more support for small businesses and moving to a council partly elected by district to give neighborhoods an even stronger voice.
“The way it is right now, if you don’t have a connection or money, it’s difficult to break in,” she said.
Petersen’s biggest issue is also providing more jobs for people, but he thinks the city should take an active role in providing them through a guaranteed jobs program.
“Anyone in the city of Everett who needs a job would be able to be placed,” he said.
This is a similar approach to eliminating homelessness and stopping a street-to-jail revolving door that costs a lot of money.
“A lot of the laws that were passed to try to make homelessness illegal in the end cost taxpayers more money,” he said.
Petersen instead wants to implement a “housing first” model in the city, made possible by restoring vacant homes with work parties to keep costs down.
“Just get the people off the street and into houses and that way they can get their lives back together,” Petersen said.
Money for these initiatives would come from restructuring the city’s revenue stream to provide services for fees, without raising taxes to bridge deficits.
Ultimately, Petersen would like to abolish the city council entirely in favor of direct democracy facilitated by technology.
“To me, the city council is an impediment to a true democratic process,” he said.
Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; email@example.com.
Experience: Everett City Council (position 5) since Nov. 2012. Works as director of parish financial services for the Archdiocese of Seattle. Was on Everett Transportation Advisory Committee for many years, helped organized Cascade View Neighborhood Association, active in the Riverside Neighborhood Association, and was on council of neighborhoods. Also active in Boy Scouts and church.
Experience: Port Gardner Neighborhood Association, including as representative to the Council of Neighborhoods for five years, was on the Snohomish County Parks Board for two years. Also vice-chairwoman of Snohomish County Democrats for the 38th Legislative District. Works in iPhone tech support for AT&T.
Experience: Works as a web developer and programmer for a variety of industries