Guest editorial: A non-partisan election in Mercer Island?

Mercer Island City Council elections by design are nonpartisan. Given this, it seems very strange that some candidates in order to promote their candidacy do so on the basis of partisanship. I refer to those candidates who consistently publish their endorsement by the 41st democratic district. They are aligned with the legacy council supported by the 41st district from 2011 until 2019. The partisan positions of Mercer Island Council members endorsed by the 41st democratic district that have caused harm to the Island are:

1.Waiving our SEPA rights rights over East Link and cost the city at least $25 million in mitigation funding that every city negotiated for. They also refused to negotiate for reserved park-and-ride space, because they thought MI owed the region.

2. Unilaterally signed off on a bus intercept that would have routed buses through our town center along 27th

3. Promoted paving Kite Hill in Luther Burbank Park for a regional parking lot that would not be reserved for Islanders.

4. Allowed very tall mixed-use developments in the town center without any impact fees that moved the costs for schools, roads, water and sewer from the development to the citizens,

5. Stacked commissions like the design commission and planning commission with political appointees with zero experience in land use or development, which led to some terrible decisions and recommendations.

6. Some wanted to remove the misdemeanor provision in Ordinance 21C-02 so police could not remove homeless camping in our parks except by going through a lengthy and expensive civil process that would have basically prevented the city from prohibiting camping in the parks.

7. At the end of the legacy council’s 8 year run the city manager resigned, as did the finance dir., city attorney and several other dept. heads, and the new city manager dismissed the HR director., hired a new parks director. and basically started the city on the long road back to financial health.

What is it about these candidates that makes them believe that they cannot win elections simply on the merits of their record and platform regarding the issues?

Candidates opposing the candidates endorsed by the 41st District have no partisan endorsement. They campaign on the merits of their position, not a political party. Their focus is the well-being of Mercer Island and its residents not expansion of a political agenda. Why do we permit this?

Gary D. Robertson, Mercer Island