EVERETT — The Aug. 1 primary ballot for Position 2 on the Everett City Council includes an incumbent with a background in architecture and crunching numbers, a city planning commissioner who serves in the United States Army Reserve and works on affordable housing issues and a third candidate whose campaign has been largely invisible.
Jeff Moore, 56, is seeking a third term. He’s executive director of finance and business services for Everett Public Schools after spending more than a decade as an architect.
Moore has followed in his father’s footsteps. Bill Moore joined the City Council before becoming mayor from 1977 to 1990, making him one of the city’s longest serving mayors. The old City Hall has been named after the elder Moore. Jeff Moore said his dad wasn’t one to bring politics to the dinner table, but as a child he did get to meet the likes of U.S. Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson, Henry Kissinger and then-Vice President George Bush.
Jeff Moore touts his experience, financial background and years of volunteer work with nonprofit groups, including Rotary, the YMCA, a hospital foundation and the United Way. He said his initial years on the council were marked by some tough financial times.
“It’s hard to have a lot of vision until the economy recovers,” he said. “For me, the best is yet to come for the Everett City Council.”
Moore pointed to economic development efforts to keep the Boeing 777 wing center in Everett, spur new construction at the riverfront and the Port’s Waterfront Place, bring passenger flights to Paine Field and open a new Washington State University building off North Broadway.
At the same time, the city also has been trying to confront homelessness, drug addiction, and mental illness through its Community Streets Initiative. It also took the unusual step of bringing a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, alleging the drugmaker knew it was supplying traffickers and flooding the black market with OxyContin but chose to ignore it to maximize profits.
Moore said he wants to see the city take the work of Envision Everett, a long-term planning committee, and pursue goals it has outlined. He’d like the city to begin talking about “the how to, the how much and the when,” he said.
He also said he wants the city to invest more money in economic development.
Alex Lark, 30, works for Housing Hope, an affordable housing nonprofit. He grew up near Mount Vernon on what he describes as a casual farm where he’d tend llamas on pasture land his family leased out. Lark worked for U.S. Sen. Patty Murray and former Congressman Brian Baird and for the Korean Embassy’s Congressional Section. He’s also an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve.
Lark said he became drawn to Everett on train trips between Seattle, where he went to college, and Skagit County.
“I wanted a community where I could be more involved, not a community where I could be lost in the noise,” he said.
He speaks earnestly about policy making, a subject some folks might find mundane.
“Policy is a way to make people’s lives better,” he said. “You give people hope, you give them opportunity.”
Lark, who rents, is particularly focused on affordable housing. He said there is a great need to increase and diversify the city’s housing stock. He’s interested in pursuing a sweat-equity home ownership program and a nonprofit land trust to reduce mortgage costs.
“We need to make sure we have a rich transit ecosystem for Everett,” he said. That could include rideshare programs and more bike lanes.
He talks about “urban villages” with transit stops and the need for better “pedestrian connectivity” with wider sidewalks, particularly south of 41st Street. “There’s a lot of psychology that goes into a good sidewalk,” he said.
Jordan Marsh, 27, has run a low-key campaign. He checked a box in paperwork filed with the state Public Disclosure Commission indicating he would spend less than $5,000 in his run for office.
Repeated attempts to reach him went unanswered.
Marsh did submit a statement for the primary election voter guide. In it, he said he moved to Everett from his home state of Florida when he was an AmeriCorps volunteer. He also indicated that he has been a student at Edmonds Community College and had done some disaster relief work while part of the Civil Air Patrol.
He identified “homelessness, unaffordable housing and a regional traffic nightmare” as pressing local issues.
“I believe we have the resources needed within our community to solve our problems, the only thing missing is the vision for the kind of community we all want to live in and the framework to get us there,” he wrote in his statement.
Moore and Lark each talked about the possibility of council districts for the city of 108,000. Council members are now chosen at-large.
Lark said he favors districts because it would give council members a chance to build a closer rapport with constituents. It would also provide wider geographic representation.
Moore, the lone council member living south of 41st Street, predicted districts will happen some day.
“To me, it has never been about if, it’s when,” he said.
Above all, Moore said he would want the process to be one with a lot of public input. He envisions a maximum of four districts with a primary vote within each district and a city-wide vote in the general election.
The candidates with the top two number of votes will advance from the primary.
A position on the Everett City Council pays $28,163 a year.
Ballots returned through the mail must be postmarked no later than Aug. 1. Ballots may also be returned through a ballot drop boxes until 8 p.m. Election Day.
Moore’s candidate website can be found at jeffmoore4council.com.
Lark’s website is alexlark.org.
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; firstname.lastname@example.org.