Lisa Utter (left), Josh Binda (center) and James Rutherford.

Lisa Utter (left), Josh Binda (center) and James Rutherford.

Fair taxation, affordable housing fuel debate in Position 3 race

Lisa Utter, Josh Binda and James Rutherford are seeking Position 3 on the Lynnwood City Council.

LYNNWOOD — Former City Councilmember Lisa Utter will face activist Joshua Binda and former city council candidate James Rutherford in the primary for Position 3 on the Lynnwood City Council.

The trio are vying for a four-year term as the successor to Councilwoman Ruth Ross, who chose not to seek re-election.

Utter and Binda, chair of the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Commission, align on many issues, including expanding access to affordable housing and investing in “green” energy and infrastructure.

During Utter’s council tenure from 1998 to 2009, she said she helped secure an Association of Washington Cities grant which cleared the way for creation of a diversity commission.

“But more than that, there was a conversation about and an acknowledgment about the diversity that we have in the city,” she said.

Utter is passionate about decriminalizing poverty, which she said begins with fair policing.

“I’ve done a lot of work on the state level and local level in terms of decriminalizing poverty and having police respond appropriately or in a way it’s not going lead to bad outcomes for people who are mentally ill, or people who have substance abuse (issues),” Utter said.

She has worked for the National Alliance on Mental Illness and most recently the South Snohomish County Emergency Cold Weather Shelter.

Utter served on the Community Transit Board for a decade, as well as the Sound Transit Advisory Group, where she had the opportunity to weigh in on the expansion of transit services and subsequent development that is spurred.

“Now that that’s actually happening I would like to make sure that we focus on the things that we were aiming for,” Utter said. “That it’s walkable, that it has lively, livable streets … that we have public spaces that are green and the parks that make (the city despite) more density, still a pleasant place.”

Binda, a well-known name in local social justice efforts, is making his first run for office. As an activist and chair of the DEI Commission, Binda said he has had the opportunity to feel the pulse of the community.

“I think there’s been a lot of people in our current local government that have been kind of stagnated,” Binda said. “I think they need a new perspective and a new mindset — a new way to push them in the future and not keep us stagnant where we are. I feel that I am a competent person to do so.”

If elected, Binda said his primary goals include promoting the development and accessibility of housing for people of all incomes, working toward fair policing and continuing to invest in green spaces and public transit. Binda said he also hopes to increase transparency in the city’s budgetary decisions and work toward fair taxation.

He said he will be guided by community input, rather than his own interests.

“I want to be a voice of the people, I want to be a representation of the people,” Binda said. “I’m not coming in with my own vision, my own goals — I want my vision to be the people’s vision. That’s why I’m so active in the community because that’s my ultimate goal.”

Binda, 21, studies political science at the University of Washington. In his free time he has volunteered at the food bank and served as an administrator at the Covid Lab Center in Lynnwood.

Like Binda, Rutherford said he would work toward fair taxation, if elected.

Rutherford, who previously ran for council in 2019, is a retired veteran who has lived in Lynnwood for over five decades.

According to the voter pamphlet, Rutherford has served on several community boards including the Airport Community Council and Alpine Ridge Community Council. As and individual with a disability, Rutherford said he would serve as an advocate for others with disabilities.

“I ask for your vote as your representative for a government that will serve all Lynnwood citizens rather than the special interest groups,” Rutherford said in the voter’s pamphlet statement.

Rutherford 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; Twitter: @BredaIsabella

Joshua Binda

Experience: Chair, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Commission, 2021; Board Member, WA-GRO Foundation; Board Member, League of Women Voters of Snohomish County;


Lisa Utter

Experience: City Council, 1998-2010;


Talk to us

More in Local News

Staff are evaluating two more light rail alternatives for the Everett Link extension. One would follow Interstate 5 north of 128th Street SW to the Everett Mall and back to the freeway. Another would go west of 128th Street SW to Highway 99 and north to Casino Road. (Sound Transit)
Snohomish County leaders reject light rail routes bypassing Paine Field

Those options weren’t what voters approved — and would be like “butchering” the plan, the Snohomish County executive said.

A Sound Transit train arrives at Westlake Station in downtown Seattle. (Sue Misao / Herald file) May 2019
Should light rail skip Paine Field and Boeing? We asked, you answered

More than 300 Herald readers responded to an online poll. Here are the results.

Councilmember Megan Dunn, left, stands next to County Executive Dave Somers as he presents his 2023 budget proposal to her, Councilmember Nate Nehring and Councilmember Sam Low. (Snohomish County)
As County Council begins budget talks, here’s how you can weigh in.

Department heads will make their pitches in the next few days. Residents will get a say at a forum and two hearings this month

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Highway 9 work could disrupt travel through Lake Stevens

Construction is set for roundabouts on South Lake Stevens Road and one at North Davies Road and Vernon Road.

Lynnwood City Council members, from left: Jim Smith, Shirley Sutton, Shannon Sessions, Josh Binda, George Hurst, Julieta Altamirano-Crosby, and Patrick Decker. (City of Lynnwood)
No penalty for Lynnwood council member’s ‘underinformed’ views on racism

The City Council didn’t censure Jim Smith after a report found he discriminated against a Black city employee.

All ears: Mukilteo couple provides surgery for kids born without ears

Dr. Prabhat and Trish Bhama are part of a HUGS volunteer team providing treatment for microtia in Guatemala.

Everett gets state Auditor’s Office stewardship award

State Auditor Pat McCarthy presented the award during the most recent Everett City Council meeting.

Representative Rick Larsen speaks at the March For Our Lives rally on Saturday, June 11, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Larsen to hold community meeting in Everett on Monday

The veteran Democratic lawmaker will address recent legislation passed by Congress and other topics.

Tribal members dance to start an assemble on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day Friday evening at Tulalip Gathering Hall in Tulalip, Washington on September 30, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
‘Still here’: Tulalip boarding school descendants celebrate resilience

On Orange Shirt Day, a national day of remembrance, the Tulalip Tribes honored those who suffered due to violent cultural suppression.

Most Read