Dana, Somers split on what should matter for county

Dave Somers has earned a reputation as a staunch environmentalist during his time on Snohomish County Council.

Steve Dana, a past Snohomish city councilman and mayor, is trying to use the environmental label to unseat the Democratic incumbent in the Nov. 3 election.

Dana, a Republican, even wrote a recent blog post called “The Cost of Fish is Going UP!” In it, he accused Somers, a fisheries biologist, of supporting pricey projects to restore salmon habitat at the expense of farmland.

As much as Dana would like to talk about fish, Somers isn’t taking the bait.

Instead, he wants to talk about roads and the economy. Those are the messages Somers said he’s been getting from voters in the 5th council district covering the eastern county.

“The thing that I heard more about than anything is traffic, road improvements and transportation,” he said. “Mostly they talk about how long it takes (them) to get to work.”

Somers lists endorsements from the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties as well as the Sierra Club Cascade Chapter and Washington Conservation Voters to show his diverse appeal.

Dana said he isn’t against the environment, he’s just critical of Somers’ priorities.

“My preference is to consider people first,” he said. “To say I’m not a friend of the environment isn’t true.”

He added, “If all things are equal and there’s no harm done, then creating (fish) habitat’s a good thing.”

In his corner, Dana has endorsements from the Snohomish County Farm Bureau and property-rights advocates.

Somers said many of Dana’s criticisms about fish don’t hold water.

“He got his facts wrong on a number of cases,” he said.

Somers said he’s also on the same page with the county’s Agricultural Advisory Board, which is moving forward on a plan he submitted to map salmon habitat and farmland to decide which areas should be saved for each purpose.

Of course, there are other issues besides fish and farms.

To improve transportation in his district, Somers supports turning an abandoned rail line between Snohomish and the Eastside into a commuter rail line through a public-private partnership. He also plans to continue lobbying the state and federal government for more highway money. At the top of his project list are a U.S. 2 traffic bypass to clear up congestion in Monroe as well as safety improvements on highways 522 and 9.

Dana said improving those highways have been a priority for too long.

“As a member of the majority party in the county working with the majority party in the Legislature, why hasn’t (Somers) been able to do something already?” Dana asked. “If he can’t produce, maybe somebody else should get a shot at it.”

Dana believes that among voters’ biggest concerns are having a smaller, more efficient government.

In his opinion, the county council got it wrong when drafting the 2009 budget during Somers’ tenure as the council chairman.

“It wasn’t about making a county government more efficient, it was about saving jobs” for county employees, he said.

Dana has held office in the past. He was first elected to Snohomish City Council in 1989 and won a second term in 1993. During his time there, the city council elected him mayor three times.

He promised that his strong Snohomish connections wouldn’t prevent him from working for other parts of the district.

Dana, 59, attended the University of Washington for less than a year in 1968. Before and after that, he worked at a lumber mill. For two decades starting in 1971, Dana attended Everett Community College off and on, taking classes in Japanese, photography and electronics, among other subjects.

For the past 24 years, he and his wife have owned The Hub, a restaurant in Snohomish that previously belonged to Dana’s parents. He also commenting on local issues on a blog at www.nolossforwords.wordpress.com.

Somers, 56, graduated from high school in Napa, Calif., and majored in marine biology at the UW, where he played in the Husky marching band.

In the mid-1970s, his first job out of college was at the Verlot ranger station near Granite Falls. He later worked as a biologist for the Tulalip Tribes and managed the Pacific Watershed Institute, a nonprofit formed by the state.

Somers earned a master’s degree in forest ecology from the UW in 1995.

He won his first council term in 1997, but lost his bid for a second term to Republican Jeff Sax in 2001. Somers beat Sax in 2005.

State Public Disclosure Commission records show that Somers had raised $86,468 in campaign money, while Dana has raised $17,040, according to the commission’s Web site on Wednesday.

The county council post pays $102,779. The 5th council district includes Snohomish, Monroe, Lake Stevens, Sultan, Gold Bar, Index and Maltby.

Learn more about the candidates at www.davesomers.org or www.stevedana.us.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465, nhaglund@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

A big decision for Boeing’s next CEO: Is it time for a new plane?

As Boeing faces increased competition from Airbus, the company is expected to appoint a new CEO by the end of the year.

A Mukilteo Speedway sign hangs at an intersection along the road in Mukilteo. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Mukilteo Speedway name change is off to a bumpy start

The city’s initial crack at renaming the main drag got over 1,500 responses. Most want to keep the name.

Two workers walk past a train following a press event at the Lynnwood City Center Link Station on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Trains up and running on Lynnwood Link — but no passengers quite yet

Officials held an event at the Lynnwood station announcing the start of “pre-revenue” service. Passengers still have to wait till August.

Nedra Vranish, left, and Karen Thordarson, right browse colorful glass flowers at Fuse4U during Sorticulture on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
A promenade through Everett’s popular Sorticulture garden festival

Check out a gallery of the festival’s first day.

Left to right, Everett Pride board members Ashley Turner, Bryce Laake, and Kevin Daniels pose for a photo at South Fork Bakery in Everett, Washington on Sunday, May 26, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Second Everett Pride aims for even bigger rainbow of festivities

Organizers estimated about 3,000 people attended the first block party in Everett. This year, they’re aiming for 10,000.

Pride flag vandalism raises concerns on Whidbey Island

Reports of theft involving LGBTQ+ pride-themed displays have increased around South Whidbey.

The I-5, Highway 529 and the BNSF railroad bridges cross over Union Slough as the main roadways for north and southbound traffic between Everett and Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Highway 529 squeeze starts now between Everett, Marysville

Following a full closure for a night, starting late Sunday, Highway 529 will slim down to two lanes for months near the Snohomish River Bridge.

An emergency overdose kit with naloxone located next to an emergency defibrillator at Mountain View student housing at Everett Community College on Tuesday, March 5, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
As deadly overdoses decline, Snohomish County builds on what’s working

Opioid-related deaths have decreased 20% compared to this time last year. Local health officials say there’s “still much work to do.”

Police blocked off southbound I-5 near Marine View Drive in Everett after an “incident” blocked the roadway on Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (Photo provided by WSDOT)
None injured in shooting that closed I-5 south in Everett

The shooting shut down traffic on the freeway Wednesday near Marine View Drive, causing a major backup.

Edmonds City Council members answer questions during an Edmonds City Council Town Hall on Thursday, April 18, 2024, in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edmonds begins process to join South County Fire

To avoid a lapse in services, the city will likely come to voters in April asking for their final approval.

A man led police on a high speed chase through north Snohomish County on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020. (Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office)
New public database answers Snohomish County’s pressing crime questions

Prosecutor Jason Cummings hopes the database can give a better understanding of the local criminal justice system.

PUD employee Kyle Tucker opens part of the breaker system at the Jennings Park Substation in Marysville, Washington on Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
With eye on growing county, PUD replaces aging Marysville substation

The $8.4 million project north of Jennings Park is expected to be finished in October. It’s one part of a 10-year PUD plan.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.