Growth is big issue for at-large candidates

By Leslie Moriarty

Herald Writer

MONROE — Three political newcomers are vying for the Monroe City Council at-large seat in the Sept. 18 primary election.

Bruce Hansen, William Craig and Verna Korslund are seeking the two-year position being vacated by Penny Sopris-Kegerreis, who is running for a four-year term Position 2 seat.

Hansen, isn’t a new face in Monroe issues. He’s been active with the Monroe Citizens for Responsible Growth and the Sky Valley Community Forum, both of which work to enhance life in and around Monroe.

Hansen says growth is the biggest concern for residents of Monroe. He supports the city being well planned, and said that Monroe has already reached its 20-year urban growth area boundaries after seven years.

He said the city council needs to prepare itself for when Snohomish County adds additional UGA boundaries and must make sure that the city has adequate services including police, fire, streets, sewer, parks and schools before further housing developments are approved.

Korslund says the council needs to be more aware of not overtaxing city services.

"With the influx of people, not only are we getting traffic that is out of hand, but we are also burdening our police, fire and other services," she said. "The council needs to allow growth and development. But it needs to approach it at a slower rate. There is an accountability issue here."

Craig also believes growth and traffic are major concerns.

"We need to pay closer attention to growth," he said. "We can overgrow if we’re not careful."

Craig, owner of a downtown Monroe bookstore, said he decided to run after attending council meetings this year.

"I went because I was upset at how slow the downtown street improvement project was going," he said. "It opened my eyes, and I decided downtown (merchants) need some representation on the council."

Korslund said she is running because she wants to represent the good of the entire city. She said her opponents have special interests in the areas that they live or work in.

"I’ve been going to council meetings on and off for the past six years," she said. "I’ve lived in this area for 31 years, and I want to make sure that growth happens in a reasonable fashion."

She lives in the north area that was annexed to the city about two years ago.

Hansen said he’s been in the trenches working for the good of the city for years and now wants a position so he can more effectively help manage the city’s growth.

Both Hansen’s wife, Diane, and Korslund’s husband, Larry, are on the city’s planning commission, appointed by the mayor.

Craig said that he’s not comfortable with that, and he thinks he is the choice for the job because he is independent from such possible conflicts.

"I have no ties to any city government officials," he said.

Hansen and Korslund don’t think that their spouses’ service on a city advisory commission is a conflict.

Hansen said he is best suited for the job because of his familiarity with city issues. He said he also has dedicated himself to open, responsive and responsible government.

Korslund said she has a more rounded background and the ability to look at the "bigger picture."

"I will look at things analytically and how the issues affect all parts of the city," she said.

You can call Herald Writer Leslie Moriarty at 425-339-3436

or send e-mail to moriarty@heraldnet.com.

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