SNOHOMISH — In his bid for reelection, Mayor John Kartak will face City Council President Linda Redmon and Samuel King, a U.S. Army veteran who is running for the opportunity to create a “direct democracy.”
Since he was elected in 2017, Kartak said some of his biggest achievements include decreasing “visible homelessness,” using funds from the former K-9 unit to support a Community Outreach Officer and reducing city sewer and water bills.
Kartak, who promised in his 2017 campaign to work full-time as mayor, said in a July 19 interview with the Herald that he thinks the part-time salary should be increased from $18,000, where it has been set since 2017.
The city of Snohomish is home to about 10,100 people.
“My campaign is centered around protecting our small-town values,” he said, “and that comes first. And two other things that are really important to me is that I support representation of the community and I support transparency.”
Kartak has received criticism for his response to a late May 2020 display of racist symbols and language when 100 vigilantes, many of them armed, swarmed downtown Snohomish in response to an unconfirmed threat that an anti-fascism group was headed to town.
In a July 15 interview with the Herald, he doubled down on his support for the vigilantes, adding that he believes the news organizations covering the events were at fault for drawing attention to the hateful symbols.
“I’m proud of our business owners who showed up to stand in front of their doors… It seems like every picture I saw that was shown and put on TV and in the newspapers by Seattle media was put in a way to paint everybody on First Street as white supremacists,” Kartak said. “And I take exception of that.”
On Monday, July 19, Kartak made a Facebook post questioning new legislation coming that aims to mitigate police officer misconduct.
“Why in the world have we (the People) allowed Seattle/King County anti-police sentiment to dictate to all the other 280 cities (and other 38 counties) how to provide our own, local police services?” he wrote.
Redmon, the current council president, has led conversations in the community about race and equity.
Since she was elected in 2017, Redmon has participated in conversations to ensure federal aid is equitably distributed, and advocated for policy changes that would allow for the creation of more housing in the community.
She has helped guide discussions surrounding racism and discrimination and engaging the youth population. Redmon is credited with creating the Snohomish City Youth Council and bringing Snohomish High School and AIM High School students into the conversation.
Redmon said she feels equipped to lead with an equity mindset.
“I’ve been spit on because of the color of my skin, I’ve been called names, I’ve experienced all of that, my mother has experienced all of that and so I know that there can be real physical and mental harm. And to have that be dismissed as a reality for people in our town, I think it was incredibly harmful and really, really disrespectful,” Redmon said. “I know also how important it is to make sure that we do adequately consider those things as we make policy, as we try to understand the impacts of our decisions.”
Some of Redmon’s top priorities include expanding renewable energy and ensuring policies and practices are environmentally sustainable, strengthening partnerships with nonprofits to address homelessness and securing funds to increase housing availability.
Redmon said she is refraining from participating in council discussions regarding the salary for the mayor’s job but if she were to vote, she would not support an increase.
“Especially right now — so many of our community members are looking for work or aren’t getting the number of hours they’re used to,” she said. “Everyone is a little concerned about whether we are going to continue on a good trajectory… so it’s just bad timing to be discussing it.”
King, a first-time candidate, said he believes residents see the city’s current governing system as “broken,” and he believes a direct democracy can fix it.
A direct democracy, King said on his campaign website, includes widespread community participation in decision-making processes, fostering “rational discussion where all major points of view are weighted according to evidence,” and ensuring all members of the population have an “equal chance of having their views taken into account.”
“I genuinely believe that united we stand, and divided we fall,” King said in the voter’s pamphlet. “So we must transition away from a ‘representative’ government that only represents a few, and to a Direct Democracy. Where each of our voices and beliefs can be used. Where instead of a dozen people trying to figure it out, we’ll have thousands.”
King could not be reached for comment by the Herald’s deadline.
The two candidates who receive the most votes will appear on the general election ballot in November. Mail-in ballots must be postmarked by Aug. 3. Ballot drop boxes and in-person voting are available until 8 p.m. on election day.
Isabella Breda: 425-339-3192; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @BredaIsabella.
Experience: Mayor, 2017-current; Growth Management Policy Board, Puget Sound Regional Council;
Experience: Snohomish City Council President 2017-current; Board of Health District 5 representative; Alliance for Housing Affordability Board; Association of Washington Cities Legislative Priorities Committee
Experience: U.S. Army Veteran; Volunteer, Boys and Girls Club