Lake Stevens city race attracts three

By Kate Reardon

Herald Writer

LAKE STEVENS — Candidates in a three-way race for Lake Stevens City Council Position 1 are focusing on sidewalks, parks and responsible government as their main issues.

The Sept. 18 primary election will trim the race to two, who then advance to the general election Nov. 6. Beginning in January, newly elected council members will earn $300 a month, as well as up to $200 more per month for extra meetings.

Terms are four years long.

Incumbent Jack Blackwell, 70, said he wants to continue his work in making Lake Stevens the best small city in Snohomish County.

Challenger Nick McLauchlan, 31, said building sidewalks should be a high priority.

Julie Estep, a 38-year-old promotions manager of a bowling alley in Everett, said her issues include sidewalks, safety, city finances and finding solutions by thinking out of the box.

"I’m a firm believer that new blood is always good to keep things new and exciting," she said. "I would be a voice for the people. I’m not shy or timid."

Estep’s husband is council member Rich Estep.

"I think we’re very independent," she said. "There are things we agree on, and there are things in which we beg to differ."

McLauchlan, a city resident for five years, said he would work to have a more accountable city government.

"The city doesn’t do a very good job in letting people know what’s going on," he said, adding that the city’s Web site could be used to improve that situation.

McLauchlan and Blackwell agree the Hewitt Avenue trestle is the biggest transportation problem facing Lake Stevens. The two also agree on annexations — that they should be initiated by the people, not by government.

"The people who want to be annexed should sign a petition and say ‘We want to be annexed,’ " McLauchlin said. "But for the city council to go out and annex, it’s like land gathering. That’s not a government function."

Blackwell, who’s seeking a third term, said he wants to focus on parks, transportation and being fiscally responsible.

"Basically, we need to live within our means and make it the best we can," he said of the city.

McLauchlin said he doesn’t have it in for Blackwell, but believes Blackwell’s two terms have been long enough.

In turn, Blackwell said his experience can help the city accomplish its goals.

You can call Herald Writer Kate Reardon at 425-339-3455

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