MUKILTEO — The Mukilteo City Council typically offers moments of drama.
The primary election for a seat on the council is no exception.
Two clashing incumbents are facing off. A controversial candidate who lost in the last council election, despite lots of yard signs and name recognition, is up against two other novices.
And the former Mukilteo mayor who lost to the current Mukilteo mayor is running for a seat on the council.
The council is known for its theatrics.
Members often disagree and can be discourteous.
Mayor Jennifer Gregerson routinely has to remind the council about the rule against “insinuations or derogatory remarks” about her and other members. They voted to put a proposal on the November ballot that could boot her out with a change in the form of government.
Council terms are nonpartisan.
There are three candidates in each field, in Positions 4, 5, 6 and 7.
The primary is Aug. 6 and the general election is Nov. 5.
For this story, candidates were asked two questions: How do you plan to promote harmony among the council members? Why should people vote for you?
Here’s what they had to say:
Charles Eakins, 49, software development engineer
“We’re here to serve the people not ourselves, and that’s the tact we should all take, putting our egos aside and focus on what we should do to help the city move along. I would simply not participate in the drama, like I chose not to move positions when asked by the incumbents.
“I’m focused on the future, and growth. A lot of the problems we have in the Northwest center around not planning for the future. I’ve talked to small businesses, and they’re afraid that they aren’t being listened to, and I will be listening to them.”
Richard Emery, 71, retired contractor, incumbent councilmember
“How to promote harmony: Assume everyone has positive intent and wants to act for the best interests of the city. Listen more, and ask for explanations and information from others about their ideas. Search for common ground, compromise, consensus, ways to move forward. Do not be attached to the outcome. I will strive to do better at all of these.
“I have demonstrated the ability to be calm, thoughtful, and thorough in making decisions and I am dedicated to maintaining the quality of life and services residents deserve and ensuring Mukilteo stays safe, beautiful and sustainable.”
Scott Whelpley, 52, military contractor as a senior project analyst and incumbent councilmember
“I will continue to strive having an effective and mutually supportive working relationship with my fellow council members. I will continue to be respectful to other council members by being punctual, attentive and prepared prior to meetings. The relationships built can’t be taken for granted, requiring attention and work to establish and maintain.
“I have worked to bring complete transparency to our residents. Your well-being and the city’s responsibilities to you as a resident are my first and only priority as proven by my success in ending wasteful spending of our tax dollars and bringing it to light. My duty to you is to continue providing our community with competent, effective government.”
Riaz Khan, 50, Boeing engineer
“I would work with other councilmembers to have an open communication, courage to make pleasant decisions and the compassion to listen to the needs of community. I will promote to work on a common goal and leaving all the differences behind the fence. I will also encourage that council members be more active in the community beyond the council and to have periodical meetings or sending out updated newsletters to all residents.
“I think I am well qualified and much experienced in leadership. My campaign is about providing Mukilteo residents with a better connected community. I also care extremely about the safety, health and well-being of residents.”
Christopher Maddux, 48, IT manager, Electric Mirror in Everett
“In order to achieve harmony among the council, there needs to be an open dialogue and mutual respect between council members. I will be a calm and reasonable voice on the council. I plan to have a continuous, open discussion with each council member, as well as the mayor, so I can understand what frustrations they are having now so we can avoid them in the future. When we understand each other, we can work to resolve conflicts and we can work towards common grounds. We all have a common goal of improving this great city we live in.”
James Yoo, owner of Ace Metal Company
James Yoo, who ran unsuccessfully for city council in 2017, did not respond to requests to provide information. When finally reached by phone Thursday afternoon, he said the primary race was “too premature to give my input and give my philosophy.”
His statement in the Snohomish County Official Local Voters’ Pamphlet includes: “…As an engaged and vocal community member, I understand the importance of standing up for those without a voice….”
Exekiel Aranez, 35, graduate student
“I will put into practice my transformational leadership skills that convey with the mission, people, task, and service. I will set my objectives of mission that describes what is the inspired vision, positive values, and innovative perspectives. For me, my life in politics is destiny. I know that I am a peoples’ champion.
“I have shown my willingness to serve eight years of faithful and honorable service for our great country. Even if it takes a big risk in walking on the frontline at war zones as a United States Marine just to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States of America, I solely made it happen for the people back at home will have that life of freedom.”
Elisabeth Crawford, 31, occupational health and safety specialist, Boeing Co.
“I believe that being trustworthy, bringing passion and collaboration to the city council will influence others and bring some harmony to city council.
“Mukilteans should vote for me because I am committed to Mukilteo and to them. I want Mukilteo to be a welcoming place to raise a family; a tight-knit community where neighbors trust each other, where we preserve beautiful outdoor spaces for future generations to enjoy and most importantly a community where we include everyone. I will serve as an advocate for families and for a healthy environment. I stand for long-term transparent financial planning that will preserve our assets, identify funding needs and gaps and help determine spending priorities.
Peter Zieve, 65, electrical engineer, founder and CEO of Electroimpact
“Contention in the council stems from inappropriate hiring of a ‘policy analyst’ which the council reversed, later discovering extra severance payments. If we keep government efficient this would not happen. Strong civic engagement would unite the council around community goals such as restoring the Lighthouse Parade, cancelled this year for the first time in 53 years. The elected just sitting on the council is no longer adequate for serving the needs of residents.
“These are my four platform positions: protect the mayor-council governance structure; keep government efficient; elected maintain strong civic engagement; keep Mukilteo beautiful — no more up-zoning.”
Joe Marine, 56, American Senior Resources insurance agent
“As a former mayor, councilmember and chair of several boards, I bring experience collaborating to get projects completed. The harmonious key is don’t take it personally when a vote doesn’t go your way; you’re elected to get things done for the community, not for yourself. Instead of bickering, the majority sets aside personalities.
“As a team, we were able to move projects forward to completion, like a new city hall, achieved a AAA bond rating, built a new community center, acquired Japanese Gulch, Tank Farm transfer, and enhanced Lighthouse Park during an economic downturn. I believe we need to see more of this in our elected, a passion to move projects forward that benefit our community.”
Kristina Melnichenko, 34, data analyst
“By approaching all decisions with an open mind and allowing facts and data to drive my decision-making process, I will be an independent voice on the council who any member can look to for support. I would be a pragmatic and data-focused voice that is focused on moving a high-quality Mukilteo forward. I am proud to offer Mukilteo voters the chance to elect more data and results-driven councilors.
“I am an independent, critical thinker. Our current budget and economic landscape make the updating of our tax code a necessity if we are to reap, much less maximize, the benefits of growth. I am ready to focus on and fight for concrete policy that puts Mukilteo first.”
Tina Over, 35, real estate agent at GPlus-Realty
“I am running for council because I want to continue to represent your voice, and your views on council. I want to be one of seven decision makers who develop the future for our city, ensure its alignment with your values, and support the vision that you have for the future for you, your family, and your business.
“I have a small family and a genuine passion for this community, its people and its future success. I have put in the work as Civil Service Commissioner for Mukilteo, a volunteer at our schools and serve on a nonprofit that benefits our high school students. I am here to work for you, for us, for Mukilteo.”