Letters to the Editor, July 24, 2019


Become informed voters

For the last year, I have fought against the creation of the Community Facilities Zone in my neighborhood of Mercerwood. Prior to this, I thought that votes for city council were essentially interchangeable, and that basically the same policies would be pursued no matter who held the position. I was wrong.

All city council elections, including the Position 7 primary on Aug 6, deserve our fullest attention. To help you vote, I encourage you to write down the three things that you love about your neighborhood, and then write down at least one government policy that could take that beloved thing away. Contact each candidate and ask their positions on the issues that matter to you. As you listen to their responses, consider their approach to transparency, accountability, and putting Islander’s first.

I’m voting this election cycle to support safe streets, mobility, sensible land use and parks. Join me in making your list today.

Ryan Rahlfs


Jacobson support

Our community, the city of Mercer Island, is facing a number of projects, issues and challenges ahead. We need a community member with the right skill set to help lead us forward on the best path. In my opinion, Jake Jacobson is the right choice for city council Position 7.

Jake practiced law in the very areas challenging Mercer Island and has been an executive in the construction business for the past 25 years. He is well versed in how construction and development issues will affect our community. Jake has continually assessed and managed risk, negotiated contracts and proposals and ensured compliance with federal, state and local laws, regulations and contractual requirements. As a lawyer and a contractor, Jake has extensive experience in negotiation and successfully resolving a plethora of issues with public agencies specifically including the state Department of Transportation, King County and Sound Transit.

Our city needs someone who understands and respects the high value that Islanders place on the quality of public education. I have had the pleasure of volunteering with Jake on the successful 2014 and 2016 school bond and levy campaigns. Jake has and continues to be generous with his time and talent for our Mercer Island community.

I am confident that Jake will help lead our community to a brighter future with emphasis on mobility, fiscal sustainability, preservation of our parks, safety for children and all residents, and our community’s continued pursuit of academic excellence.

Ralph Jorgenson

Mercer Island

Bertlin support

I’m writing in to voice my strong support for Debbie Bertlin for city council. I’ve known Debbie for almost the entire 14 years that I’ve been on the Island. Debbie has deep roots on the island — in fact, when she first came to our house, she knew it better than we did ourselves, because she had spent a lot of her high school “friend time” with her friends in our bonus room.

During that time, Debbie’s approach to decisions has been consistent. She works to carefully understand the problem and the solution space, listens to understand what people want (everyone, not just the most vocal people), and works to carefully craft solutions. Debbie spends countless hours meeting with community members — I can’t tell you the number of times she has suggested meeting at the crack of dawn or earlier when I wanted to talk with her. Debbie listens closely and understands the issues and tradeoffs fully.

Debbie deeply understands what makes Mercer Island special: Our people, our beautiful physical environment, the feeling of security, and the sense of community that we all feel. She’s exactly what we need as we face our next set of changes and challenges, together.

We are facing a critical choice — do we attempt an isolationist strategy while sitting in the center of the nation’s most thriving metropolis, or do we work smartly on our own issues and with the region that we live in the midst of? Debbie understands how to make this work, and how to make the future of the Island even better than its past.

Dan Grove

Mercer Island

Russell support

Since Robin Russell moved to town center Mercer Island to be nearer to her dad (a resident of Aljoya), she has immersed herself in our community’s activities and issues. You’ll find her actively engaged in our community — at city council meetings and community forums, working as a volunteer to protect our parklands, and walking her dog, Annie, all over town.

She’s smart and savvy. She delves into the complexities of issues facing our city and is outspoken in her drive for honesty and openness. Right now, her major focus is advocating for citizens to prevent Sound Transit from transforming our Town Center into a major regional transit hub. Our current city council has capitulated to regional pressures at the expense of Island residents, and Robin wants this to stop.

Residents should be the designers of our town and of our island, and Robin is passionate about honoring the needs and wishes of our community over regional interests.

Previous mayors and councilmembers have guarded our Island and protected our citizens from regional claims (otherwise we would have had no lid park, but instead an eight-lane highway roaring through our town center). Robin would carry on this legacy of Islanders first.

As a first-time candidate, Robin is building her base, and so needs all our energy and support. Running against an incumbent mayor is a big challenge.

If you care about our island, please vote for Robin.

Meg Lippert

Mercer Island

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