Pitching in | Editorial

It is a new year and a new day. There is a new City Council with mayor Bruce Bassett at the helm and Council newcomer Debbie Bertlin in place. There is work to be done. A major goal of the new mayor  is to finally put the Lindell lawsuit against the city behind us and move ahead.

In the aftermath of the suit, the City Council, as promised, ordered internal reviews of two key city functions and the city manager. Those are now complete. Changes have been made. Are they sufficient? Time will tell. Are there those who will never be satisfied with the outcome of the lawsuit brought by the former employee? Yes. The Council is mindful of the damage and the lingering resentment held by some. But for most, it is time to move on. There is too much to do in the coming months to spend any more time looking backward.

The design and financing phase for new Island schools is underway. There are crucial questions to answer. As the reality of tolling sinks in to drivers regionwide, what will happen with the capacity of the Island’s park and ride particularly with light rail coming? The Council has already begun looking at a parking facility in the Town Center. How will the Town Center and its increasing population — that includes retirees, young professionals and families — be affected? More broadly, how will growth shape life on the Island in the future?

It is also a new day in how the planning and financing of key community initiatives will come about. More than ever, citizens must become involved in making our community work. An example is the availability of the 5-plus acre Stevenson property. Some say it should be purchased for open space or a park. What the city needs is a group of citizens to come forward to champion the idea and make it  their own. An excellent model is the 21st Century Schools Committee. The group, formed by the Mercer Island School Board and superintendent, brought together Islanders with talent and expertise to help decide how to move ahead on replacing Island schools. The very same model can be applied toward other community initiatives.


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