Races in Edmonds center on budget, sewer, police levy

EDMONDS — Three incumbents, three longtime city government watchdogs, a former lieutenant governor’s daughter, and a former international television news reporter are vying for four open seats on the Edmonds City Council.

Edmonds, like most cities, has questions swirling around its budget. Edmonds also is faced with the possible location of King County’s proposed Brightwater sewage treatment plant in town and a recent controversial City Council vote on planned residential developments.

The council decided in early August to have appeals on planned residential developments go to Snohomish County Superior Court, rather than continuing to have them heard by the City Council. Some residents decried the move, saying the council was skirting its responsibility. Supporters of the vote said it depoliticizes the process, assuring that developers won’t sway council members.

Peggy Pritchard Olson is looking to bring a change to what she sees as a negative spot on the City Council in incumbent Lora Petso.

Petso, 41, who has been in the minority on many 6-1 votes, is looking to keep the seat for a third term and cites her experience — she has the longest tenure of any candidate running in November — as a reason voters should stick with her.

She calls herself a consistent advocate for neighborhood protection, and a "budget hawk" interested in preserving the small-town character of Edmonds. She is also strongly opposed to siting Brightwater in Edmonds, having voted for two resolutions against it.

Olson, 53, the daughter of former Lt. Gov. Joel Pritchard, says it’s time to bring a change to the council. She says Petso’s approach and frequent "no" votes are a way of avoiding responsibility for the council’s actions.

Olson said she learned much from her father about politics and is ready to bring that experience to the City Council. She is president of the Friends of the Edmonds Library and vice president of the Washington Tea Party, which is fighting the siting of Brightwater in Edmonds.

Alvin Rutledge is making his fourth run at a City Council position, while Mauri Moore, a former Woodway Town Council member, is looking for an Edmonds seat for the first time.

Rutledge, 63, is a fixture at City Council meetings and has done work for the Edmonds Kiwanis and the Friends of the Library. The library group commended him for his work on the successful 2001 campaign to annex the city into the Sno-Isle Library District.

Moore, 52, is retired from a career in TV journalism that included work overseas, such as coverage of the first Persian Gulf War. She was appointed to the Woodway Town Council in 1994 and served more than two years before resigning in August 1996 when she and her family moved to Costa Rica for a year, and then came to Edmonds.

Both candidates want accountability for the city’s budget, have concerns about economic development, and have said they would bring the $1.7 million property tax levy back to voters if it fails in November.

The City Council’s vote on planned residential developments is what drove Don Kreiman into a race against incumbent Richard Marin, but Kreiman says he has concerns on other matters, including the budget.

But the land-use vote, which Kreiman calls "a big mistake" and says he would ask to be reconsidered if he’s elected, was the last straw.

"A year ago, this is the last place I thought I’d be," Kreiman, 51, said of his election bid.

Marin, 58, is seeking a second term. He made an unsuccessful run for the City Council in 1999, losing to then-incumbent Jim White. He was appointed to the council the following year, when White left at the end of 2000. Marin then ran unopposed to keep the seat in 2001.

Marin could not be reached for this story, or for inclusion in The Herald’s Election Connection section (see Page B2).

Longtime City Council watchdog Richard Demeroutis wants to bring about change, saying the council ducked responsibility with its vote on planned residential development appeals, and by sending tax increase proposals to voters.

His opponent, Dave Orvis, voted for both and stands by those decisions. In addition, Orvis, 35, maintains he will fight any talk of allowing casinos in Edmonds, and that he will continue to oppose Brightwater’s location there.

Orvis has a broad look at economic development, noting the city must decrease red tape and upfront costs for businesses, which he believes will help develop the Highway 99 strip.

Demeroutis, 48, says it will take a "long, long time" for economic development to pay off and said the focus should be on cutting spending and other ways of raising revenue.

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