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Builder Frieman to run for Council Pos. 3

The race for City Council Pos. 3, presently held by Sven Goldmanis, is off to a roaring start while the other positions remain relatively dormant.

During the past two weeks there have been two new candidates who have announced their intentions to run for City Council in Pos. 3. There are now four candidates lined up for Pos. 3, two candidates after Pos. 5. No one as yet has stepped up to challenge incumbents Steve Litzow and El Jahncke.

The candidate featured this week is an Island native from the First Hill neighborhood. He is an independent business owner who exclusively builds single family homes on Mercer Island.

Jon Friedman

The president of Friedman Homes, Inc., Jon Friedman is now one of four candidates vying for Council Pos. 3, the seat that has been occupied by Sven Goldmanis since 1999.

Friedman is a father of two: a 6-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter. He is a 1985 Mercer Island High School graduate. After living elsewhere for many years, he and his wife, Lori, have brought their family back to the Island two-and-a-half years ago. They now live in the neighborhood near the high school.

“I always knew I wanted to come back and raise a family here,” Friedman said. “There’s nothing like taking your kids through the same system that you went through. My son has the same P.E. teacher that I had. I grew up in the JCC and my kids now get to swim in the same pool and play basketball on the same courts as I did.”

Friedman hopes to bring a voice for families by joining the Council. He said he doesn’t feel the current Council does a good enough job representing the interests and priorities of families.

“Growing up here, working here and now living here, there’s a host of issues,” Friedman said of his ideas for the city. “But really what is the most concerning and most important for me is to be a Councilman for families. I want to be the voice for Mercer Island families.

My view is, when I go about making decisions, I’ll always be keeping in mind is what effect is it going to have on families, he explained. “Is this something that is going to be helpful for families and raising kids or is it something that is going to make it more difficult?’

Friedman attended the University of Washington after high school, earning a degree in political science. He then became a commercially licensed pilot and flight instructor. Just when he finally racked up enough experience to begin flying passenger aircraft, however, he and Lori married and began their family. He began his own home building company on the Island, so he could work and live close to home.

As a developer, Friedman pointed out some of his troublesome experiences with the City’s Department of Development Services. He said that if elected, he would contribute his knowledge and experience with the city’s building codes to help amend or modify the inconsistent codes that developers and builders frequently encounter. Friedman also said he understands the importance of retaining quality planners among the city staff.

“Part of the Council’s job is to write the codes,” Friedman said. “The problem is that some of the codes don’t make sense. They’re ambiguous and contradictory. They need to be looked at by the Council. The turnover (there) also makes working with the city very difficult. The city has to do the work to be able to keep the people with knowledge and experience.”

Friedman is on the board of the Stroum Jewish Community Center. He serves on AIPAC, or the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee, as well.

“I wanted to give back to the organization that influenced me so much growing up,” Friedman said of his experience on the Stroum Jewish Community Center’s board. “Just as I want to do with the city of Mercer Island..”

Islander Mike Cero has also announced his intent to run for City Council. A story on him will appear in the June 13 issue.

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