Election filing surprises for City Council | Appelman to run against Grausz

Ira Appelman is challenging Dan Grausz for Position 2 on Mercer Island City Council. - File photo
Ira Appelman is challenging Dan Grausz for Position 2 on Mercer Island City Council.
— image credit: File photo

Three Mercer Island City Council members are running for re-election this November. Councilmember and Mayor Jim Pearman will be running for Position 4, incumbent Mike Grady will run for Position 6 and incumbent Dan Grausz will run for Position 2, competing with Island citizen Ira Appelman. The names were made official on June 5, the last day for King County candidates to file for office.

Because Pearman and Grady are running unopposed, they will not raise funds for a campaign. Grausz and Appelman, who will be running for City Council for the first time, begin their campaigns for Pos. 2 this month.

Councilmember Grausz announced that he would be running for re-election in February. He learned that he would be running against Appelman last Friday.

“This doesn’t change my approach. This is the fourth time I’ve run, and every time before I’ve had an opponent. This is the way the system works. It gives people a choice,” Grausz said, adding that he would begin raising funds for his campaign this week.

An Island resident since 1989, Grausz has served on the City Council for nine years. He first entered Island politics in 1999 on a two-year term. He was then re-elected in 2001 and again in 2005.

This year, Grausz’s main priorities are creating a sociable Town Center, improving Island parks and ballfields, and protecting the city’s open spaces.

“I want to make sure we have a vision for the Town Center. We have good development right now, and with the light rail that’s coming in the next 10 years, we have the opportunity to really turn the Town Center into a much greater asset for our community,” Grausz told the Reporter earlier this year.

Appelman will be running for City Council for the first time. However, he has been actively involved with Council issues and has attended nearly every meeting in the past 10 years. The Island resident’s main objective is to ensure “open and honest” governance.

“I’d like to put the public in charge of government, because that’s not the way it’s working right now. As soon as members get on the Council, it becomes a clubby, insider group and the public doesn’t matter in their decisions,” Appelman said, adding that he intends to change this. “I’m attempting to set the highest educational standard on MI for public debate. I have audiotapes. I have documents. You shouldn’t debate anything unless you have the evidence.”

Appelman has a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Stanford University.

Councilmember Grady, who will be entering his second term, places a high priority on environmental issues; in particular, introducing more clean-fuel cars to the Island.

“It’s a good time now [to be on the City Council], particularly with climate change and energy efficiency,” Grady said, adding that he hopes to supply Island parking lots with re-charging facilities for electric cars.

Island Mayor Jim Pearman said that he was not originally planning to run for a third term this November; however, the escalating economic crisis compelled him to keep his seat.

“I don’t think this is the right time for me to exit,” he said. “We’re making some new decisions in the sense of revenue streams. This isn’t the time to break someone in and train them. You need somebody with expertise to make decisions that will impact the budget like never before.”

Asked if he would consider accepting the position of mayor once again, if elected by the future Council, Pearman was ambivalent.

“For the next two years, I would be interested in being mayor. But the time commitment is absolutely huge. There is a lot of behind-the-scenes work you don’t see,” said the incumbent, who is the father of two daughters.

More detail about Mr. Appelman and his campaign views will be published in the Reporter in a coming issue.

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