Opinion

Experience counts | Editorial

Islanders must decide between two excellent Island citizens, Debbie Bertlin and El Jahncke, who represent very different demographics, points of view, skills and ambitions to fill Pos. 7 on the Mercer Island City Council.

Educated and articulate, Ms. Bertlin grew up on the Island, works for Microsoft and lives here with her family. She is involved and focused on issues that relate to the needs of families and children as well as quality of life. She is an active member of the Mercer Island Preschool Association, the virtual cradle of Island activism, and the Conservancy Trust. She wants the Council to take a holistic approach to Island issues — taking the time to trace how a decision will affect citizens of all levels. She is critical of how the need for service cuts have affected certain groups. She calls for more transparency and collaboration between the city and its citizens.

Incumbent Jahncke has lived on the Island with his family since 1978. He and his wife raised three (now grown) children, one of whom is a teacher here. He has served three terms on the City Council. Prior to his Council tenure, he was elected to a four-year term on the School Board and has served on many boards and committees. He works for a firm that manages multi-million dollar investments in real estate. He is the only person on the Council who has such in-depth, hands-on financial expertise.

Mr. Jahncke is a hard-headed, matter-of-fact numbers guy, who is focused on the practical. Yet he understands the need for cooperative relationships focused on common goals. His top priority in the coming term, he said, is coordinating with the school district on the financing and rebuilding of Island schools.

While it is easy to parse how edicts may affect one sector or program differently than another, the bottom line is to keep essential services at the top of the list. The trick is to listen and remain just flexible enough to make adjustments along the way.

We believe that Mr. Jahncke’s expertise and financial focus on the city’s essential duties give him the edge over Ms. Bertlin. We endorse him for City Council Pos. 7. However, we absolutely want to see Ms. Bertlin run again in 2012.

 

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