Edmonds businessman Strom Peterson is new on the City Council

EDMONDS — Strom Peterson, 40, is a fixture in Edmonds’ business scene.

Anybody interested in Peterson, who was appointed Jan. 20 to fill the vacancy on Edmonds City Council, figures that out immediately.

He’s a board member of the Greater Edmonds Chamber of Commerce, and a past president of the Downtown Edmonds Merchants Association. He’s started two businesses and continues to operate the Resident Cheesemonger, a small shop with a regional following.

While some critics seem wary of that pedigree — Councilman Steve Bernheim lobbied against Peterson’s appointment, warning of inviting “special interests” onto the council — Peterson urges caution.

His is not a traditional “business candidate” platform, he said. He counts as his favorite causes environmentalism, affordable housing and sustainable development.

Peterson is proud of that. And he’s proud of Edmonds’ business community, which shares many of his values, he said.

“The old definitions just do not work anymore,” Peterson said from his cheese shop on Main Street. “It is a new world with the way the economy is, the way the world is, and you cannot go back and forth with those old names.”

Peterson moved to Edmonds in 2001 with his wife, Maria Montalvo, and they both fell in love with the city, he said. She sits on boards for the Edmonds Center for the Arts and the Public Facilities District.

He’s run unsuccessfully for City Council, losing in the primary in 2005 in a race eventually won by current Councilman Michael Plunkett, and losing narrowly in 2007 to Councilman Dave Orvis.

He’s learned a lot from those races, Peterson said.

He’s also won allies. Councilman Ron Wambolt, who actively supported Orvis against Peterson in 2007, is now a supporter of Peterson.

“What we need is somebody who can help us most quickly in terms of revenue generation,” Wambolt said. “We need to look at the business community for new revenues; we cannot ask taxpayers.”

Those new revenues are a priority, Peterson said. They cannot come at the expense of downtown’s charm, where he opposes increasing building heights, but they could come from enhancing Edmonds’ neighborhood centers, he said.

Finding ways to make the city’s neighborhoods more economically active, and more environmentally friendly, should be a priority for the city, Peterson said.

Chris Fyall: 425-673-6525 or cfyall@heraldnet.com.

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