Opinion

Reporter picks for City Council

We applaud all the City Council candidates for their willingness to seek election to positions that will be hard, sometimes contentious, but valuable work.The six candidates bring a variety of backgrounds, knowledge and viewpoints in their bids to help lead the Island for the next four years.

With that said, we think incumbents Dan Grausz and Jim Pearman, along with newcomer Mike Grady, should be elected to the council. Each of them demonstrates a breadth of knowledge on issues that face Mercer Island, beyond the Interstate 90 center HOV lanes issue, which is one of the top reasons their challengers give for running for office.

The Reporter agrees with the council's decision last year to amend the 1976 Memorandum of Agreement, the document that governs how I-90 operates between Seattle and Bellevue. The 2004 amendment allowed a project, called R8A, to add a new HOV lane to either direction of the I-90 bridges to move forward.

It also ensured that Mercer Island would be compensated if light rail were to replace motor traffic in the center lanes, something the original 1976 MOA never guaranteed. Indeed, the 1976 document called for the center lanes to be designed for permanent transit use. While literally an island, Mercer Island cannot act as one politically. Grausz, Pearman and Grady understand that to be a player in a region that includes Seattle and Bellevue, the Island has to cooperate with others to make sure its interests are not left out.Transportation and traffic are, above all, regional issues.

That cooperative stance was rewarded last week when the mayors of Seattle and Bellevue, King County Executive Ron Simms, and Sound Transit Chairman John Ladenburg, signed a letter clearly supporting MI SOV use of future HOV lanes.

Just as important, the Island may face significant unforeseen issues in the future, and the candidates we have endorsed have the experience, knowledge, and practical backgrounds to thoughtfully address whatever may occur, rather than react to the issues of the moment.

For Pos. 2, we endorse Dan Grausz

Grausz has been one of the most active members in his six years on the City Council. He has often led the charge on issues such as park preservation and acquisition, and pedestrian and bicycle safety.

He is the council's ideas guy and in particular says he believes government can be a force to do good.

For Pos. 4, we endorse Jim Pearman

Pearman is one of the council's most thoughtful decision-makers. He has demonstrated in his first term that good decisions are based on facts, not politics, agendas or advancing pet projects. He bases decisions on listening to the information, gathering expert opinions, and weighing the pros and cons of an issue. These qualities ensure good public policy.

For Pos. 6, we endorse Mike Grady

Although Grady is a newcomer to Island politics, he is experienced at navigating the public policy minefield as a policy analyst for the National Marine Fisheries Service. He has worked in resource and growth management issues. He demonstrates a thorough understanding of the issues Mercer Island currently faces and, most important, will likely face in the coming few years.

Note: Editorial board members, Ken Glass and Elliot Newman did not participate in candidate interviews or these endorsements as they had already publicized their choices. Mary L. Grady, editor of the Mercer Island Reporter is not related to Pos. 6 candidate, Mike Grady.

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