EVERETT — One has played a key role across decades in helping to shape the city and its economy.
Another has spent much of a lifetime telling stories about the people who live here.
The third was drawn to serve his country in the U.S. Marine Corps and followed that with a musical pilgrimage that took him around the globe and broadened his horizons.
The three candidates for Position 1 on the Everett City Council have diverse backgrounds. Voters in the Aug. 1 primary will determine which two will continue to the general election in November.
Paul Roberts, 65, is seeking re-election to what would be his fourth term. The north Everett man points to a record of service that also includes six years on the board for Everett Public Schools, a spot on the Sound Transit board of directors and 16 years as the city of Everett’s planning director. It was during his watch that Naval Station Everett was added to the waterfront and the Boeing Co. began gearing up for a major expansion at its south Everett operation, creating space for the 787 and 777X jobs of today.
“I am proud of the work I’ve done,” Roberts said. “It is real clear that we are going to have a new mayor. I would like to think that my experience in working with the Navy and aerospace industry and working with infrastructure and the economy and the environment and the community will be of some value.”
Lee Dart, 57, is publisher of MyEverettNews.com, a hyper-local news site that he runs solo. It is his latest journalistic endeavor. For many years he was known as by his on-air identity Tony Stevens, and reported the news for KRKO 1380.
Dart said his primary concern is public safety. People tell him they no longer feel safe in the community. Leaders in City Hall have been slow to fill open spots in the police department and to address problems with morale in the fire department, he said.
He hopes to bring some common sense, good will and commitment to tackling the challenges in the place he calls home.
“I am an Everett guy who has lived here nearly all my life,” said Dart, who makes his home in central Everett, not far from Evergreen Way.
Justin Murta, 38, is an employee benefits consultant who also has a career as a music promoter and DJ. He points to the eight years he served in the Marine Corps as preparation for what would be his first elected office. His military service and music career have exposed him to different ideas, and his political leanings (Murta ran as a Libertarian Party candidate for state insurance commissioner in 2016) offer fresh perspectives that he says are sorely needed.
Everett, he said, “is like a dinosaur of all the surrounding communities.” It doesn’t know whether it wants to be Auburn or Bellevue, he said.
Murta moved his family from Snohomish to Everett’s Pinehurst neighborhood about a year ago. He hasn’t regularly attended City Council meetings.
Not enough is being done to address property crime, transient camps that surround the city and the poor repair of homes and businesses, he said.
“I want to live in an enjoyable environment,” he said. The community needs more leaders who will encourage and empower people to make a difference through volunteering and other forms of involvement, Murta said.
Economic policies also need re-examined, he said. To his thinking, the Navy base has bottled up key real estate on the waterfront. Meanwhile, tax breaks for Boeing translate into greater pressures for other area businesses, he said. That problem is exacerbated when so many Boeing employees don’t live in Everett, he said.
Dart also questions tax breaks for Boeing and large developers. Likewise, he said the city needs to take a fresh look at its priorities.
“Do we need two golf courses in a city our size?” he asks on his campaign website. “Do we keep spending money on a pool when the YMCA is about to build a new facility a mile away and there’s a chance for a partnership.”
Dart said the dozen years Roberts has served on the council is plenty. He’d like to see Everett adopt term limits, as is the case for Snohomish County government.
Roberts counters: How well has that worked out for the county? He points to the mess that Aaron Reardon made after he succeeded longtime former County Executive Bob Drewel, who had to step down because of term limits.
Yes, Everett has challenges, but it also is doing a lot that is right, Roberts said.
“We are not in a rut,” he said. “There are very few places in the nation that have the economic (strengths) that we have.”
The city has 55,120 eligible voters. A position on the Everett City Council position pays $28,163 a year.
To learn more about the candidates, go to:
Lee Dart: www.electleedart.com/
Justin Murta: electjustinmurta.com/
Paul Roberts: paulroberts4future.com/