MUKILTEO — Peter Zieve, the president of a major aerospace firm who led a campaign last year to try to prevent a mosque from being built in Mukilteo, says he wants to run for City Council.
Zieve, 63, has launched his campaign with $50,000 of his own money, according to documents filed with the state’s Public Disclosure Commission. Zieve said it is a loan he made to the campaign. This is his first campaign for public office.
Zieve is president and owner of Electroimpact Inc., a prominent maker of automated machines for jetliner assembly and counts the Boeing Co. as a major customer.
Last year, he led opposition to plans for opening a mosque in the city, including an anonymous postcard sent to homes citywide. Zieve later apologized for his actions.
His company also reached a $485,000 legal settlement with the state Attorney General’s Office agreeing, among other things, to adopt nondiscriminatory hiring policies and encourage more job applications from people of color. The court-monitored decree will be in place at Electroimpact for more than three years.
Last year, Zieve gained a reputation for allowing a workplace culture where workers traded hateful jokes about Muslims via company-wide emails. He also was said to pressure single employees to marry and passed over job applicants who appeared to be Muslim.
In an interview Tuesday, Zieve said last year’s postcard campaign alerting people to the planned Mukilteo mosque “was the wrong thing to do.
“It doesn’t make any sense as far as my current way of thinking,” he said.
Zieve said he’s not now opposing construction of the Islamic Center of Mukilteo and wishes backers good luck with the project.
He said he has had a number of meetings with Mohammed Riaz Khan, the president of the group that wants to construct the mosque.
Khan also plans to run for Mukilteo City Council. “We are negotiating a mutual endorsement,” Zieve said.
On Wednesday, Khan said he did meet recently with Zieve at a coffee shop, but he is not endorsing him.
“That’s not true,” Khan said. Zieve is welcome to endorse him if he wishes to do so, he added.
Candidates can file to run for local offices beginning May 15.
Zieve said he plans to run for Position 2 on the council, the seat now held by Bob Champion, council president.
Zieve said there’s been no votes made by Champion that he disagrees with, calling the incumbent “a good guy” who will be hard to beat.
Instead, he said he thinks that there’s not enough representation on the council by people who have children.
“I have no idea if the voters think that’s important or not,” Zieve said. “We’ll find out.”
Zieve’s home is in Harbour Pointe. He has three sons ages 11, 9, and 7 living with him. He said there are no playgrounds in the community, leading a lot of parents to ask why.
The city decided to build the Rosehill Community Center, but “there’s nothing for kids,” he said.
Zieve said the new Boys &Girls Club planned for the city will only have one gym. “We really need two,” to meet the city’s needs, he said. Zieve said he has contributed $200,000 to the project.
He said he thinks the city’s dog park needs improvements, including better drainage to keep it from being a “soppy, stinking mess in the winter.”
Zieve has a doctorate in mechanical engineering from the University of Washington. He founded Electroimpact in 1986.
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; firstname.lastname@example.org.