Tom Acker: Acting on behalf of Islanders
We need Tom Acker serving us on City Council. As a Mercer Island homeowner with three kids attending Mercer Island schools and as a professional working off-Island, Tom personally understands the importance of the City Council’s work on the Island’s residential development code, balancing the budget, ensuring the health of our schools, as well as the ease of mobility on and off the Island. Tom grew up on the Island, knows it well, and has kept Island residents and homeowners informed of critical issues facing the City Council such as the Town Center and residential development standards, Sound Transit bus turn-around plans and preservation of the Island’s parks and open spaces. As a concerned resident, Tom has regularly attended and advocated for Islanders at council meetings. As a member on the Mercer Island City Council, Acker would continue to be a champion for Islanders and our beautiful Island community. Please vote for Tom Acker for City Council.
Acker values the voice of the community
As someone who cares deeply about our city, I’m concerned about the transition that has happened on our council over the last four years. For some time, our council has been operating in a mode of closed meetings, limited community visibility and scrambles to extinguish “fires” of outrage from the community when the facts of their attempted direction begin to surface. I encourage our community members to engage in the November election and vote for positive change with Tom Acker.
Government operates most efficiently with transparency and process, but that’s not what Mercer Island has been receiving from our current council. Instead, we’ve been getting local government influenced far too heavily by self interests. We’ve lost the voice of Mercer Island residents and need to get it back.
Over five years have passed since our council first decided to help Youth Theatre Northwest find a home. The council never seriously engaged with the public or any private property owners; only publicly-owned properties were considered. One would have a difficult time finding this information, however, since the site selection subcommittee notes are not public. Without any public comment or process, finding YTN a home turned into Mercer Island Center for the Arts at Mercerdale.
Now our current council has enough information from the recent SEPA determination to know that Mercerdale Park is not a viable option for MICA. Yet, the city is not releasing relevant data (much like the wetlands data conveniently released after the 2015 election) and our council is allowing MICA to divide us as a community. We need Tom Acker to bring our community together. Tom is not a paid mouthpiece for the arts or any other special interest nor does he have aspirations for higher office.
Tom has the ability to bridge across both sides of the MICA issues and find a positive collaboration for the city; Tom Acker raised $3 million in private funds to help MICA acquire private property in our Town Center.
As we look forward for our city, I want to vote for a council candidate that I know values the voice of the community. I want to vote for someone who educates himself of all sides and isn’t a rubber stamp to special interests. I want to vote for someone who will take our city forward. I’m voting for Tom Acker.
Acker will keep the council on budget
I think the sleeper issue in this campaign is the proposed 2018 property tax levy increase. The council, vis a vis staff, has all but acknowledged its inevitability with a communication agenda messaging higher taxes. I agree with the finance director’s budget shortfall analysis as “annual revenue growth is not keeping pace with annual expenditure growth.” Can there be any other explanation than expenditures exceeding revenue?
I appreciate that candidate Joy Langley’s No. 1 priority is “city finances.” The financial stewardship of our money is imperative. But her explanation of “low property tax rates” mimics political double-speak sound bites. She uses the tired justification that, “We have the lowest city property tax levy rate in King County … ” I spent eight years on the council debunking this logic. A low levy rate is off-set by Mercer Island’s extremely high home values. Basic math! Compare a $1 million Island home to a $1 million home in surrounding communities.
Many on the Island overextend to live here. The “low” property tax rate does not make it easier to buy groceries, fill up the car or pay tuition. The politician that references “low tax rates” obfuscates the real issue and calls into question one’s commitment to transparency and understanding of city finances.
At the expense of critical services and the general taxpayer, council members experience huge pressures to maintain staffing, programs and processes while accommodating special interests. Candidate Langley’s explanation of city finances positions her to address budget shortfalls by raising property taxes 4-6 percent, rather than addressing expenditures. Candidate Tom Acker will prioritize services and keep the council on budget.