A new day | Editorial

The Mercer Island City Council will choose a new Councilmember on Jan. 18. Islanders are lucky to have 17 fine and qualified citizens willing to step forward to serve on the Council. The applicants are: Robert Bersos, Mary A. Yakmoto, Carrie Wernick Newman, David Laub, Tana Senn, Deborah L. Bertlin, Aric Weiker, Steven C. Marshall, Jane Meyer Brahm, Patricia M. “Patti” Darling, Aaron Kornblum, Rachel Reynolds, Adam Cooper, David Wells, Jon Friedman, Craig A. Pedersen and Clark Powell. Islanders already know the names of most — for these are people who we have stood alongside for many years — on the soccer field, at our church or synagogue, at fundraisers, and schools and at the park, grocery, drug store and coffee shop.

Bringing in a new Councilmember quickly without the vetting of an election presents some risk. Yet it also brings opportunity. A new person with skills and insight will add vitality and depth to Council deliberations. Our brief review of the candidates’ application materials reveals a good deal of skill and experience across the board. These attributes should allow any one of them the ability to size up a situation and jump in quickly to address the work that awaits. However, the real test is how the new member will work in and with the existing Council and help it move forward in making some big decisions that will shape the city and its residents for decades to come. And we can only guess at how that might work. Nonetheless, we wish them well and do not envy the City Council, which must choose just one of them.

Of all of the priorities listed by the Council, we were surprised to see just a cursory mention of the needs of our business community here. In the Town Center, commercial space remains vacant or underused. All of the talk about controlling the intrusion of light rail into the community must go beyond parking stalls to making sure our business base remains robust and growing. Our city’s fiscal health depends on it.

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