Candidates for Mukilteo City Council Position 1 are (from left) Anna Rohrbough, James Yoo and Riaz Khan.

Commercial flights are a big issue in Mukilteo council race

MUKILTEO — Three candidates are competing to replace Ted Wheeler, the Position 1 representative who has been on the City Council since 2014 and who decided not to seek re-election.

Riaz Khan, 48, ran unsuccessfully for the council in 2015 and for the Legislature last year. He is president of a group that plans to build a mosque in the city.

Anna Rohrbough, 44, is a leadership coach who has served on the boards of the Mukilteo Chamber of Commerce and the Sno-Isle Library Foundation.

James Yoo, 76, is a first generation Korean-American. He runs a local metal recycling company with 25 employees.

The city long has fought allowing commercial flights at nearby Paine Field. With the court battle concluded, Alaska Airlines has announced plans for daily flights starting next year.

Rohrbough said the city should start building influence to protect Mukilteo. The city needs to work with Snohomish County to try to mitigate issues, such as noise abatement and directing airfield traffic away from Mukilteo Speedway, she said.

Khan said residents “don’t want Sea-Tac here,” but agreed that the city should work on decreasing the noise created by the flights. He noted that Alaska Airlines is using new technology to reduce noise.

No flights should be allowed after 8 p.m. because “kids go to sleep at 8 p.m.,” Khan said.

Yoo said he opposes the commercialization of Paine Field. He said he thinks that if any airlines use the site, the city should ask the county for a share of the revenue generated by flights to alleviate traffic congestion.

Construction on the new $134.7 million ferry terminal is beginning this year, raising issues about traffic and parking at an already jammed waterfront.

Rohrbough said she’s been impressed by how the state ferry system has addressed city concerns. But the city faces a major issue in how it manages more parking and traffic, she said.

Khan said a proposed 500-car garage will not be enough and suggested adding off-site parking and a waterfront shuttle.

Yoo said the city’s young families need more space for recreation. He said he’d like to redevelop the waterfront area with less commercialization and more room for family activities.

The candidates say they’ve been hearing a lot from potential voters on social issues.

Khan noted that he organized a rally in April aimed at bringing the community together and promoting healing after the shootings of four young adults last year.

It showed people “what we can do as leaders,” he said.

Rohrbough said homelessness, panhandling, and drug abuse are topics she often hears about.

The city now contracts with Lynnwood for a medical services officer, who can help with issues such as overdoses, drug abuse, and resources for assistance. Rohrbough said she would like to see if it could be converted to a full-time position.

Yoo said he’s running for council because he thought it was time to devote his talents to public service.

“I want to be a champion for senior citizens in this town, and provide a good community for young people,” he said.

The city soon will get a new Boys & Girls Club. Yoo said he’d like to see the current building in Old Town converted into a senior center.

The two candidates with the most votes in the August primary will move on to the November general election.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486;

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