With a series of budget cuts that were caused by questionable planning as well as the recession, Lynnwood’s City Council faces more than its share of challenges.
Most of the poor planning, we believe, is fairly laid at the feet of an administration that was overly optimistic, less than forthcoming with financial information, or both. Those who win this year’s four council races will likely have to grapple with more budget challenges, but mustn’t lose sight of the city’s still-considerable potential as a vital economic center for south Snohomish County.
Position 4: We endorse the capable Loren Simmonds’ bid for a fourth term. Simmonds is a thoughtful, even-tempered leader who understands that changing economic conditions are forcing the city to shift to a “new normal.” He emphasizes the need for partnerships going forward, using government as a catalyst to bring a variety of people, ideas and resources together for the common good. He also argues for using neighborhood councils as venues for fostering new ideas from the ground up.
His challenger, Michael Moore, offers little other than vague references to city government living within its means.
Position 5: Given the city’s difficult financial position, Ed dos Remedios’ considerable background in finance is something the council can’t afford to lose right now. Since being appointed for a second time last year, this time to replace Stephanie Wright, dos Remedios has chaired the council’s Budget Task Group, and is acutely familiar with the city’s fiscal challenges. Despite that, he remains optimistic about Lynnwood’s long-term potential. The tools he acquired working as a chief financial officer in the private sector will be invaluable assets as the council navigates through the city’s budget challenges.
His opponent, 34-year-old Benjamin Goodwin, is an impressive first-time candidate who has clearly done his homework on city issues. A recent political science graduate from the University of Washington, Goodwin works in the Costco buying department. He has plenty to offer in the way of intelligence and passion, but would face a steep learning curve. If he doesn’t win, we encourage him to seek other ways of gaining community leadership skills, then trying again for public office.
Position 6: In a close call, our nod goes to the challenger, Sid Roberts, over the incumbent, Ted Hikel, who is seeking a fourth consecutive term and also served two terms in the 1970s.
Roberts would bring positive people skills to a council that has seen more than its share of rancor through the years, and a solid business background as a real-estate broker. He has worked hard to get up to speed on city issues since applying for the council position that went to dos Remedios last year, and would bring a conservative fiscal philosophy that’s clearly needed.
Hikel has served ably, both on the council and on numberous civic and regional boards. If he wins, he’ll no doubt make positive contributions. We see Roberts as a bright, positive addition with a fresh approach that would be welcome.
Position 7: The incumbent, Jim Smith, was a voice of caution before the city’s budget outlook started its dive, and his warnings have largely been vindicated. He was against constructing a new rec center, for example, calling instead for a less expensive, affordable remodel. We strongly endorse him.
His challenger is Van AuBuchon, an information technologies contractor and longtime city resident. He says Smith is driven too much by a personal political agenda. It’s true that Smith has been at or near the center of some sharp battles over the years, but he’s also a savvy council member who asks tough questions — a net plus, in our view.
Van AuBuchon is a thoughtful candidate with useful skills, but he hasn’t made a compelling case for replacing the proven Smith.