Top row (L-R): Paul Roberts, Mary Fosse, Paula Rhyne, Greg Lineberry, Don Schwab. Bottom row (L-R):Lacey Sauvageau, Tommie Rubatino, Liz Vogeli, Ben Zarlingo, Demi Chatters.

Top row (L-R): Paul Roberts, Mary Fosse, Paula Rhyne, Greg Lineberry, Don Schwab. Bottom row (L-R):Lacey Sauvageau, Tommie Rubatino, Liz Vogeli, Ben Zarlingo, Demi Chatters.

Who’s running for Everett council? New candidates — a lot of them

Ten people are vying for positions newly defined by districts. Only two are incumbents.

EVERETT — A new form of representation for the Everett City Council brought a wave of first-time candidates into the 2021 election.

Voters will decide for the first time who will represent them and their neighbors in five districts throughout the city. In the running are longtime civil servants and community advocates.

There also are two at-large positions, but they aren’t on the ballot until 2023.

About 20,000 residents live in each district. Roughly half are registered voters.

The Everett City Council has seven members: five from districts and two elected citywide. They are responsible for making laws, writing policies and reviewing the annual budget proposed by the mayor, who runs day-to-day City Hall operations.

Council positions are four-year terms and earn a little over $30,000 a year. The council meets in public every Wednesday, and has done so over video during the pandemic.

Only Districts 1 and 4 have candidates seeking re-election.

Priorities for candidates included addressing the structural budget deficit, climate change, homelessness and a housing crunch.

Paul Roberts (left) and Mary Fosse.

Paul Roberts (left) and Mary Fosse.

District 1: Northwest, Delta, Riverside and Bayside.

Mary Fosse, 39, has been a advocate for the Delta neighborhood, where she lives with her family. She was appointed to the city’s Districting Commission, has run Carnivorous Terrariums and has served as the legislative aide for state Rep. Emily Wicks, a Democrat who represents Everett, Marysville and Tulalip.

As a child, she said, she experienced homelessness. She wants to bring that perspective to the city’s leadership.

The incumbent, Paul Roberts, 69, has said this will be his last election. He has a long career in city planning, including as a director in Everett and Marysville. The Northwest neighborhood resident now consults with cities on climate action plans. On the council, he’s a representative to regional agencies, including the Puget Sound Regional Council Transportation Committee. He’s also a board member for the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency and Sound Transit.

He said the decisions leaders make in the next few years will reverberate for decades.

Fosse’s policy priorities are homelessness and housing. As more people move to Everett, Fosse said, she wants to ensure that housing development is done equitably.

“My neighbors in Baker Heights and many others contact me all the time: They’re being priced out of Everett,” Fosse said.

She said she supported housing-first policies for people experiencing chronic homelessness, a model that first stabilizes people with shelter, then connects them with social services. She suggested the city conduct an assessment of social infrastructure and capacity to plan for future services, such as for mental health.

Roberts supports similar goals through the council’s recent adoption of a housing action plan, a suite of proposals for planning and zoning that could spur construction.

On homelessness, he said, he endorses “every single effort” that adds capacity, such as Clare’s Place and the Pallet Shelter village. Both of those projects were built by the city and are managed by nonprofits.

“We cannot allow that situation to exist,” Roberts said. “We cannot allow a sort of dystopia to exist on our streets.”

Both support asking voters for a tax levy lid lift.

By Tuesday, Fosse had raised over $37,000 in campaign contributions. Roberts’ campaign filings showed almost $24,000.

Paula Rhyne (left) and Greg Lineberry.

Paula Rhyne (left) and Greg Lineberry.

District 2: Bayside, Riverside, Port Gardner, Glacier View, Lowell, Valley View, South Forest Park and Pinehurst-Beverly Park.

Greg Lineberry and Paula Rhyne each hope to represent an expansive District 2, which includes downtown Everett.

Lineberry, 56, retired from the Everett Police Department in June after 32 years. Now he’s the safety, security and health specialist for the Lake Stevens School District. He was an early advocate and leader for Everett Districts Now, the group that collected signatures to put council districts on the ballot, until the council agreed to do so.

“I’m just very concerned that the city is at a crossroads right now,” Lineberry said. “I’ve never seen anything like this in my entire career in terms of homelessness, camps on streets and sidewalks.”

Rhyne, 41, has two decades in public service working in governments in King and Snohomish counties. She’s the legislative aide to Snohomish County Councilmember Megan Dunn, a Democrat.

She said she wants the city to work toward more housing options for people who live on the streets, and to decrease the years-long wait for someone to get permanent supportive housing. She also wants to expand services to support recovery and re-entry into the workforce.

Lineberry supports more options for shelter, such as the tiny home villages near the Everett Gospel Mission. He also wants the city to enforce laws, such as Ricky’s Law for involuntary treatment, that push people toward recovery.

Both candidates wanted to encourage density along bus and rail lines. Lineberry thought of it as one way to act on climate change. Rhyne pointed to the city’s housing survey and the resulting Housing Action Plan, which called for more duplexes, triplexes and developments close to transit corridors.

They had differing views on other subjects.

Lineberry is wary of merging the city’s fire department with a regional fire authority but expressed interest in asking voters to form a park district, which would be its own government and would create a new tax. Parks are “always on the chopping block,” he said.

Rhyne is skeptical of a parks district but wanted to explore further the idea of a regional fire authority.

She supports a levy lid lift going to voters but only if it includes a rebate for fixed-income residents. Lineberry said his support was contingent on knowing “line by line” how the increased revenue would be spent.

As of Tuesday, Rhyne raised over $31,000 and Lineberry had over $33,000.

Don Schwab (left) and Lacey Sauvageau.

Don Schwab (left) and Lacey Sauvageau.

District 3: Boulevard Bluffs, Harborview-Seahurst-Glenhaven, View Ridge-Madison, Evergreen and South Forest Park.

Don Schwab and Lacey Sauvageau are seeking their first publicly elected positions.

Sauvageau, 27, is a dispatcher for Snohomish County 911.

She did not respond to interview requests. But ahead of the primary in July and in her campaign statement, she said her focus was on affordable housing and “keeping Everett a safe place to live.”

To cut the budget deficit, she suggested consolidating redundant programs. For example, the city could merge Everett Transit with Community Transit, she said. Her budget priorities are infrastructure, social services, law enforcement and improving downtown and the waterfront, most of which is Port of Everett property. Outside funding through grants was one of her targets.

Schwab, 55, retired after 30 years as a firefighter in Everett, where he was a union leader. He works as the deputy treasurer for Snohomish County and lives in the Boulevard Bluffs neighborhood.

His focus is on the budget, communication with residents, addressing homelessness and district-specific needs related to new housing, pedestrian safety improvements and public safety. For the budget, he wasn’t ready to commit to a levy lid lift. But if it does happen, he said, he wants those funds committed to specific services, such as fire, library or parks departments, instead of an overall revenue increase.

Housing development should be based on the needs of each neighborhood, Schwab said.

Sauvageau said the city needs more apartments and condos.

Sauvageau submitted for “mini filing” with the state Public Disclosure Commissioner as a candidate who would not raise and spend more than $5,000. Schwab raised over $35,000.

Tommie Rubatino (left) and Liz Vogeli.

Tommie Rubatino (left) and Liz Vogeli.

District 4: Westmont, Holly, Cascade View and Twin Creeks.

Tommie Rubatino is challenging Liz Vogeli to represent southwest Everett.

Rubatino, 32, is part of the family behind the Rubatino garbage and recycling removal company. But he isn’t involved in the company operations.

He’s a youth pastor at Northshore Christian Church and Academy in Everett who felt compelled to seek office because he “no longer felt safe” letting his children walk around the Holly neighborhood alone.

“I just wanted to see my neighborhood be safe,” he said.

Vogeli, 44, is a volunteer community organizer who was elected to the position after Cassie Franklin was voted in as mayor. Now she’s seeking her first full term. If re-elected, she has a suite of policy goals related to housing, renter protections and rights, transportation improvements and campaign finance.

She pointed to her record: no votes on the federal $6 million COPS grant to hire 16 police officers and elimination of an ordinance that allowed multi-family supportive housing on surplus public property in single-family zoning.

“I am in it for the people, not just the people who typically vote,” Vogeli said. “We need representation on this council for all of the residents.”

On housing, she is eager for the city to implement its Housing Action Plan. But with about 46% of residents owning the home they live in, she said it’s important for the city to enact stronger protections for renters.

“More than 50% of Everett residents are renters,” Vogeli said. “There’s no way to get around that in four years.”

That could include a rental registry, more code enforcement and stiffer penalties for code violations and repeat offenders. She wants to reveal owner identities behind limited liability companies “so actual people can be held accountable.” Having a list of rentals can help the city properly staff its code enforcement unit, she said.

Rubatino is concerned with public safety and said he’d ensure emergency response services are well funded and have necessary training. He’d also like to see more projects like the Pallet Shelter village, more police-embedded social workers and expanded treatment services.

“Until we get these foundational things taken care of for our city, we will continue to slide in the direction we’ve been sliding, and I don’t want Everett to become like Seattle,” he said.

Vogeli favors supportive housing for people experiencing chronic homelessness.

Both candidates are hopeful for more investments in pedestrian safety such as sidewalks, bike lanes and transit. Vogeli also wants the city to lower speed limits.

She opposes ceding Everett Transit to a merger. Instead, she wants the service to go fare free, which she said could be funded through a mix of federal money, development parking limits and the city charging for public parking.

“People aren’t going to like it at first. But our kids will and our grandkids will,” Vogeli said.

Rubatino said he needs more information before weighing in on a levy lid lift.

Vogeli said her support for a levy lid lift is “likely,” but she prefers a wealth tax instead of furthering a “regressive” tax system.

She also wants the city to pursue campaign finance limits.

“There’s no reason it should cost $40,000 to run in a district,” Vogeli said.

As of Tuesday, Rubatino’s campaign raised over $21,000. Vogeli had over $23,000.

Ben Zarlingo (left) and Demi Chatters.

Ben Zarlingo (left) and Demi Chatters.

District 5: Cascade View, Pinehurst-Beverly Park, Cascade View, Twin Creeks and Silver Lake.

Demi Chatters and Ben Zarlingo are seeking their first public elected office.

Chatters, 46, is the operations director of a law firm in Seattle and has served on the Snohomish County Human Rights Commission and school advocacy groups. She also is developing a business for hair and skin care products based out of her Pinehurst-Beverly Park neighborhood home.

Zarlingo, 64, is a retired electrical engineer and an independent consultant who has led the Silver Lake Neighborhood Association.

Both candidates said the budget is the top priority. They also shared similar ideas to resolve it through merging the fire and transit departments with regional agencies, as well as a levy lid lift, though Zarlingo said his support wasn’t assured.

They also agree that Everett’s growing homeless crisis should be addressed through a regional approach because the city can’t shoulder all of the service costs.

Chatters envisions bolstering resources for the Community Outreach and Enforcement Team, which embeds social workers with police officers in contact with unsheltered people, as well as adding more permanent supportive housing.

“We’ve got to work with our local organizations and provide them with funding to expand the programs to meet basic human needs,” Chatters said.

Zarlingo said strategies in place now should continue, such as coupling the tiny home village with the “no sit, no lie” law.

“If there were effective and proven solutions to this, they would have been done by now,” he said.

To encourage more housing, Zarlingo wants the city to increase density through accessory dwelling units (also called mother in-law apartments), town homes and some home-based businesses.

Climate action can be accomplished through the city’s plan and other policy decisions, Chatters said.

Both candidates had raised over $13,000.

Ben Watanabe: bwatanabe@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3037; Twitter @benwatanabe.

This story has been modified to reflect that Liz Vogeli previously was elected to the city council position.

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