Wednesday, the editorial board endorsed the re-election of Lynnwood Mayor Nicola Smith and continues today with endorsements for three positions on the Lynnwood City Council.
As noted yesterday, Lynnwood — home to about 38,000 residents and the county’s fourth-largest city — in recent years has grown and developed as a culturally diverse city. That growth will continue, especially when Sound Transit’s Link light-rail system arrives in 2024 and Lynnwood becomes the northern-most terminus for the system for the next 15 years, while the line to Everett is built.
The city’s administration and its council will confront issues related to that growth, including affordable housing, delivery of city services and social issues such as homelessness and addiction, and, of course, the budget and taxes.
Position 1: Current councilmember M. Christopher Boyer did not seek re-election. The open seat drew the candidacies of Van AuBuchon, who previously served on the council from 2012-15 and lost a bid for re-election in 2015, and Christine Frizzell, who has not served in an elected office, but previously ran for council in 2015.
AuBuchon, who owns an IT consultancy business, has extensive service with the city, even beyond his four years on council, where he served on committees for finance, planning and SNOCOM. He served for three years on the planning commission and also served on the Visioning Lynnwood panel, which worked on a framework to guide growth. In the community he has volunteered with Pacific Little League, financing the construction of the Lynndale Park fieldhouse and Scriber Lake High School’s junior/senior program.
Frizzell, self-employed as an accountant, has extensive community service related to homelessness, low-income housing for seniors, a children’s camp and as a mentor to incarcerated women at the county jail.
AuBuchon, in discussions with the editorial board and at a recent League of Women Voters forum, said he wants better controls on the city’s spending and budgeting and would not agree to future tax increases. He is supportive of reducing the city’s current car tab tax charged to residents. Regarding affordable housing, AuBuchon said the most effective way of making housing equitable for all residents would be to increase the minimum wage in the city and control tax increases that make housing less affordable.
AuBuchon’s no-tax-increase pledge can be taken seriously, but knowing that there are concerns on the council regarding the city’s budgeting practices, Frizzell’s accounting experience should be of value to the city. Her community service also provides her with connections and an understanding of the problems the city faces with homelessness, affordable housing and rehabilitation.
Frizzell, while sharing AuBuchon’s concern about economic disparity, does see a role for the city in working with organizations and churches on regional social issues. She has also voiced a commitment to represent the city’s interests when dealing with Sound Transit and the newly merged south county fire and rescue district.
Frizzell offers the better skill set for the council.
Position 2: Ian Cotton is completing his first four-year term on the council and is challenged by Shanon Tysland, running in his first campaign for office.
Tysland has lived in Lynnwood for 16 years and has built a successful physical therapy, fitness and nutrition business in the city. His community service includes his current appointment to the planning commission and as a trustee for the Edmonds School District Foundation and serves on the school district’s sports medicine advisory board. He also assisted with the city parks work on the Interurban Trail.
Cotton, who has lived most of his life in Lynnwood, is employed as an engineer with “green building” LEED certification and has overseen project teams and budgets. During his first term, he served on the SNOCOM board and as president of the city’s Transportation Benefit District, as well as council committees on finance, its disability board and as liaison to the city diversity commission. His service also includes time on the city planning commission. He also volunteers as a mentor and Sunday school teacher.
Tysland showed he is well-informed on city issues and expresses concerns about protection and maintenance of city parks, roads and infrastructure and would seek more outreach to city businesses. Tysland also recognizes the major work ahead for the city in advance of light rail’s arrival.
Cotton has used his first term well to inform his work on council, particularly on transportation issues and the fire district merger. Regarding growth, Cotton says the city should consider annexations that would boost its population above 50,000. Reaching that threshold would open the city’s eligibility to federal grants for various needs as well as other opportunities.
Tysland would offer the council his business experience and an impressive grasp of issues, but Cotton has been an effective council member and warrants a second term.
Position 3: Ruth Ross is completing the first term of her second stint on the council. She is challenged by Rosamaria Graziani.
Graziani has worked as a lawyer, educator and translator, including Spanish language translation for the White House. She has volunteered time as a translator and educator to the city, United Way and Lynnwood’s library. And she serves as president of the Diversity Council of South Snohomish Council.
Graziani is critical of tax and utility fee increases in the city, and their impact on seniors and working families.
Ross, an analyst for the state Department of Social and Health Services, previously served on the council from 2006-09. Prior to that she worked as a code compliance officer for the city from 1995 to 2001. Her current council service has included liaison work to city commissions on parks, the arts commission, historic preservation, SNOCOM and Snohomish County Tomorrow.
Ross has certified leadership training through the Association of Washington Cities and has a master’s degree in public administration.
She is supportive of recent changes to zoning that will allow for more multi-family housing and for detached housing in single-family neighborhoods, seeing those as a good way to increase the stock of equitable housing in the city. At the same time, Ross said the city needs to take care as residential development occurs, that low-income families and seniors aren’t displaced or are provided with better options for housing.
While Graziani offers an impressive resume of work for the city and region, Ross has shown herself to be responsive to residents and active on the council, including work to win grants that will fund renovation of 36th Avenue, work that will begin next year.
Ross merits re-election to the council.