Lynnwood City Council: Crowded field seeks to help guide fast-changing city

LYNNWOOD — Facing dramatic change — a massive annexation and a super-sized city center project — Lynnwood is home to Snohomish County’s most crowded election.

There are 14 people running for office here, more than any other local government in the county.

Ten of them are running for three City Council seats, all of which will be on the Aug. 18 primary ballot.

The four-year terms will pay $19,800 a year plus medical benefits.

“It is definitely a crowded primary,” said Kimberly Cole, who is running for Position 1. “There’s a lot of door-belling, fundraising and getting out to voters the old-fashioned way.”

Position 1

Incumbent Lisa Utter is abandoning her seat to run for mayor.

Four people are vying to replace the 12-year veteran.

One of them is Cole, 30, a legislative aide for Mike Cooper, chairman of the Snohomish County Council. Cole is also an elected commissioner at Stevens Hospital.

Cole said existing positions in local government give her a unique edge, particularly with regard to annexation.

“There will be existing relationships and zero learning curve in terms of getting to know the different facilitators with that area of unincorporated county,” said Cole, who hopes to focus on public safety.

Cole’s opponents are all running for their first elected office.

“It is kind of a new thing,” said Michael Megill, 48, a real estate professional who has been on the city’s parks board. He has pushed for the new recreation center. “People said, ‘You should run.’ I said, ‘I should run the other way.’”

Nevertheless, Megill’s desire to see the city grow pushed him into the race. He’s been attending council meetings for months, and thinks quality development for the city center project is important.

Lynnwood’s growth also pushed Dan Swank into the race. Swank, 42, is the co-founder of Telco- Pacific, a wireless telecommunications company.

The city needs to be smarter with its money, he said. Spending $26 million on a new recreation center is irresponsible, he said.

“In many regards, we’re going in many directions that I agree with,” Swank said. “But if we don’t apply practical, business-minded approaches, we’re going to suffer.”

The final candidate for the seat is Donald Chan, 22, a federal accountant. He could not be reached for an interview.

Position 2

One-term incumbent Mark Smith has drawn two opponents.

Smith, 47, executive director of the nonprofit Clothes For Kids, wants to keep pushing the city towards sustainability, he said. “I’m very keen to have a walkable, pedestrian-friendly community,” Smith said.

Craig Parsons disagrees. He’s running primary as a protest against the removal of vehicle parking spaces to make way for bikes, he said.

Parsons is a 51-year-old computer engineer.

Parsons and the third candidate, Douglas Ivar Kerley, oppose the city’s new recreation center.

“We’re in terrible financial difficulties. How can (we) possibly justify doing that?” said Kerley, a 60-year-old retiree. “I don’t think we need to turn the Lynnwood pool into Wild Waves.”

Position 3

Council president Ruth Ross, 49, has served for eight years. Making sure annexation is done correctly is her top priority, she said.

Both her opponents are concerned about runaway taxes.

“People don’t feel like the city is being run like a business. It is being run like a tax-and-spend type of thing,” said Bob Young, 55, the president of an aircraft repair station at Paine Field. Young volunteers with the city’s Citizen Patrol.

Kerri Lonergan, 45, is the vice president and co-owner of the Lombardi’s Neighborhood Italian Restaurants chain.

She’s running to restore fiscal responsibility, she said.

“That’s been lacking for a while,” said Lonergan, who sits on the boards of the Washington State Health Insurance Board and the Ballard Chamber of Commerce. “And I think we’re paying a price for that.”

Chris Fyall: 425-339-3447,

Position 1

Name: Donald Chan

Age: 22

Occupation: Federal accountant

Name: Kimberly Cole

Age: 30

Occupation: Legislative aide, Snohomish County Council

Name: Michael Megill

Age: 48

Occupation: Real estate agent, time-share planner

Name: Dan Swank

Age: 42

Occupation: Operations director, chief operating officer, small wireless telecommunications company

Position 2

Name: Douglas Ivar Kerley

Age: 60

Occupation: Retired, disabled

Name: Craig Parsons

Age: 51

Occupation: Microsoft certified systems engineer

Name: Mark Smith

Age: 47

Occupation: Non-profit executive director

Position 3

Name: Kerri Longeran

Age: 45

Occupation: Vice president, co-owner of Lombardi’s Neighborhood Italian Restaurants

Name: Ruth Ross

Age: 49

Occupation: Office manager, Hamilton Jet

Name: Bob Young

Age: 55

Occupation: President, accountable manager at two aircraft component repair stations at Paine Field

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