Top (L-R): Linda Redmon, Tom Merrill, David Flynn. Center (L-R): Lea Anne Burke, Felix Neals, Karen Guzak. Bottom (L-R): Larry Countryman, Steve Dana, John Kartak, Brian Mills, Kari Zimmerman.

Top (L-R): Linda Redmon, Tom Merrill, David Flynn. Center (L-R): Lea Anne Burke, Felix Neals, Karen Guzak. Bottom (L-R): Larry Countryman, Steve Dana, John Kartak, Brian Mills, Kari Zimmerman.

New Snohomish mayor, council aim to bring city ‘together again’

Conservative Mayor John Kartak has conceded. Two like-minded council members are losing to challengers.

SNOHOMISH — As it became more apparent he would lose last Tuesday’s election, outgoing Mayor John Kartak wrote a Facebook post.

“Snohomish is, always has been, and always will be WONDERFUL,” he wrote Wednesday. “This is because of who the COMMUNITY is, not because of who’s in office (whether that is me or anybody else).”

The post included a video of him walking into Piccadilly Circus, a bar on First Street, explaining that though he was behind challenger and current City Council President Linda Redmon, things could turn around.

On Friday evening, he called Redmon to concede.

“He spoke of God’s will, congratulated me on becoming mayor-elect, and talked of his plans for the transition,” Redmon wrote in a Facebook post Friday. “His thoughts were to make the transition as smooth as possible for our staff, and he offered to do what he could to make me comfortable in beginning the work. I very much appreciated the care and thought he had put into how to pass the baton. Thank you, John.”

Some of those who voted for Kartak say Redmon will serve the city well.

“I don’t know her heart, her attitude as much, but just from the things she’s said, I think they’re good, too,” said Ken Sparre, a decade-long Snohomish resident. “I think she’s honest and I think she has a valid viewpoint.”

Similarly, Gloryanne Carswell, manager of the Rosella Gallery in downtown Snohomish, said she voted for Kartak but saw “positives from both candidates.”

“I’m a firm believer that what’s supposed to happen will happen and that votes have been cast, voices have been heard,” she said.

It appears to be the end of an era in Snohomish. As of Friday, Kartak and his fellow conservative-leaning council members, Larry Countryman and Steve Dana, were losing their races to more progressive candidates: Tulalip Tribes land use planner Lea Anne Burke and former Snohomish Mayor Karen Guzak.

The newly elected council includes more women and progressive attitudes. But that doesn’t mean the electorate leans more progressive than it did four years ago.

All of the races in Snohomish were close, and less than half of those eligible in the city actually voted.

Some Snohomish small business owners declined to comment on the election results, fearing they would lose customers because politics are “so divisive” in the town.

“When you look at the election results and realize that for most of the races there’s kind of a clear (partisan) lean for each of the candidates — but the city isn’t 75% one way, 25% another,” Redmon said. “It’s almost 50/50, so we have to make sure that we include all viewpoints to best represent the city.”

Progressive-leaning incumbent Tom Merrill, who fended off challenger Brian Mills, said there is really only one big difference between the current and incoming council.

“I think it will be one that’s a little calmer,” he said. “There’s a possibility of bringing the city together again.”

The newly elected council members share concern for the environment, lowering barriers to housing, listening to their constituents’ concerns, fixing aging infrastructure and preserving the town’s historic charm. Merrill, Burke, Guzak, David Flynn, who defeated Kari Zimmerman, and Felix Neals, who holds a council seat by appointment and ran unopposed, have similar visions for the city.

They each bring their own ideas and priorities and aren’t “a voting bloc,” Guzak said. “But I think that there will be much more compassion for each other’s point of view.”

Guzak added that she’s hoping for a better working relationship with the new mayor.

Kartak’s tenure as mayor has been polarizing.

After crowds of armed people descended on the town of 10,000 in response to an unconfirmed Antifa threat in spring 2020, Kartak’s name made international headlines. He faced questions from local news outlets, and some locals called for his resignation.

Some stood by his side through it all.

“John Kartak has done a good job for running the city for the four years that he’s done it,” Countryman said in a post-election interview. “He basically kept this promise. And I have no real regrets.”

Countryman added that he hopes in the future the city can “get rid of all the progressives that are presently on council.”

Dana said that regardless of who’s in office, they simply “need to be accountable to the voters.”

“We’re all committed to doing our jobs — focusing on what our responsibilities are as a council and having a lot of good dialogue,” Burke said. “I’m really excited.”

Isabella Breda: 425-339-3192; Twitter: @BredaIsabella.

Talk to us

More in Local News

A car breaks and waits for traffic to pass before turning onto 123rd Avenue on Monday, Nov. 22, 2021 in Lake Stevens, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Can roundabouts, lower speed limit make 84th Street NE safer?

Maybe, but transportation and disability advocates want design features to make crossing safe.

Two brother bear cubs, burned in a fire last summer, were recently reunited at PAWS in Lynnwood. (PAWS) 20211129
Bear cubs, burned in wildfires, reunited in viral video in Lynnwood

The brother cubs are being treated at PAWS Wildlife Center. They were injured in a wildfire near Lake Chelan.

Madison is one of three aging elementary schools that would be torn down and replaced if the Everett schools bond is passed next year. (Sue Misao / Herald file)
Everett school leaders have 2 big levies on February ballot

The district is asking voters to renew a levy for programs and operations, and to pass a $325 million capital and tech levy.

Everett officials have questions about a 125-room hotel shelter

City Council members say they weren’t aware of the county’s proposal until it made headlines.

A fatal crash prompted closure of West Mukilteo Boulevard between Forest Park and Dogwood Drive Friday afternoon. (Everett Police Department) 20211126
2 identified in deadly T-bone crash in Everett

Otila Retel Azanedo de Jones, 67, and William Jones, 85, died at the scene.

Reagan Dunn to take on U.S. Rep. Kim Schrier in 8th District

The Republican is challenging incumbent Democrat Kim Schrier in a district which could include a slice of Snohomish County.

A man died after he was found with gunshot wounds Saturday in downtown Everett. (Caleb Hutton / The Herald)
Man dead after shooting in downtown Everett

The man, believed to be in his 40s, was found near California Street and Rockefeller Avenue.

Rear Adm. Christopher Sweeney, commander of Puget Sound-based Carrier Strike Group 11, in Bremerton on Nov. 23, 2021. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Justin McTaggart)
From Everett, this rear admiral commands a Navy strike group

Christopher Sweeney leads Carrier Strike Group 11, a force of aircraft and ships stretching from here to San Diego.

A rainbow appears in front of Andy Huestis and his girlfriend Alisha Garvin as they and other families gather to remember the victims on the third anniversary of the Oso mudslide on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 in Oso, Wa. Huestis' sister, Christina Jefferds, and her baby granddaughter, Sanoah Violet Huestis, were among the 43 people killed in the mudslide.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Funding secured: Mudslide memorial will be a place to remember

Since 2014, families have mourned at a roadside shrine near Oso, but “we knew we needed something bigger.”

Most Read