EVERETT — The Everett City Council could look a lot different next year, or not much at all.
Three of the seven council seats are up for election Nov. 7. Another seat will become available if either of the two councilwomen running for mayor, Cassie Franklin and Judy Tuohy, are elected to that position.
The council members serve four-year terms and are paid $28,163 annually.
Paul Roberts, the incumbent for Position 1, is being challenged by Leland “Lee” Dart, who publishes a local news site. Roberts, 65, has served three terms. Dart, 57, wants term limits for council members and the mayor.
“Twelve years in office is enough,” Dart said.
Roberts has a long history of public service in Everett. “To me, it’s about a strong economic base, the economy, the environment and the community,” he said.
The job market needs to grow less dependent on aerospace, Roberts said. Technology and green jobs are sectors he believes could be fostered here. Everett also hasn’t done enough to address climate change, he said.
Dart said he is worried most about staffing and workload for the police and fire departments.
“We seem to be spending a lot of money on (911) calls that aren’t really a priority,” he said.
The city needs to address its budget deficit, then figure out its role in housing projects, Dart said.
Position 2 incumbent Jeff Moore is facing Alex Lark, who works in affordable housing. Moore, 56, is an architect and executive director of finance and business services for the Everett School District. He is seeking a third term.
Moore says he has shown leadership on the council, especially with finances and during the recession. He’d like to continue to work on social issues facing the city, such as homelessness and addiction. He notes he is the only council member who lives south of Forest Park. He makes his home near 100th Street SE.
“My primary passion is where our city leads in the future …,” he said. “Now is the time to look to what is possible beyond just weathering the storm.”
Lark, 30, believes “housing is by and far the most critical issue.”
“We need to make sure we grow and diversify Everett’s housing stock,” he said.
Lark would encourage more development that combines living spaces with commercial use, in the style of “urban villages,” he said. He also suggests seeking a voter-approved tax increase to pay for public safety staffing. Other areas of interest include green technology, car-share and ride-share programs, and mass transit options. In addition, he suggests the city shed one or both of its golf courses and use that money for economic development.
In Position 3, Scott Murphy is seeking re-election. Murphy, 55, is the CEO of Goldfinch Brothers. He advanced from the primary election along with Jennifer Hesse, 36, who teaches German.
Murphy says his business background has helped him serve the city, including overseeing the council’s budget committee. Expenses are growing faster than revenues, and “it’s just a constant battle,” he said.
He has focused his time on the council on improving services and eliminating waste, he said. He cited his work on economic initiatives as well as the expansion of the Evergreen branch of the library. He has pushed to fill police officer vacancies, he said. He would like to continue his efforts on public health issues, including those related to opioids.
Hesse, meanwhile, says homelessness and addiction should be “100 percent at the forefront right now.” The council needs to be more transparent and work more closely with volunteers and nonprofits, she said.
New building and road projects aren’t reviewed closely enough for safety, she said. She would like to see wider bike lanes, for example.
Hesse says public safety should be the first financial priority. She has questions about the budget but hasn’t reviewed it in depth, she said.
“I have a unique ability to bring people together,” she said. “As a teacher I do that every day.”
As for the seats held by Franklin and Tuohy, if one of them becomes mayor, the council members would have to appoint someone to the vacated seat, according to the city charter. The appointment would last until the next regular election, in November 2018.