Letters to the Editor, Oct. 16, 2019

Letters to the Editor, Oct. 16, 2019

Election letters; troubling advertisements

Rosenbaum knows what matters most

Dear Editor,

As Mercer Island residents for the past 31 years, we would like to encourage you to support Dave Rosenbaum for city council Position 1. After raising our daughters here, we are now fortunate to be watching our grandchildren grow up on the island. We love living here and know that Dave understands, and will enhance, what matters most to Islanders.

We have known Dave’s family for 45 years and know that he has inherited their kindness, focus on service, and dedication to bettering our community. He is thoughtful, detail oriented, and focused on delivering results. He has the vision to lead our community into the future, as well as the ability to listen to the perspective of all Islanders as challenging decisions are made. Above all, he has a strong moral compass that will guide his decision making.

As ballots arrive this week, we encourage you to make the best choice for the long term success of our community and vote Dave Rosenbaum for Mercer Island City Council Position 1.

Ginny and Kern Hardman

Mercer Island

Reynolds for consensus building

I am pleased to support Craig Reynolds for city council, believing he is clearly committed to restoring the full services that make Mercer Island unique and has the experience and knowledge to pursue that goal. Most importantly, he listens well and earnestly to all opinions, intent on finding and working toward the common purpose.

Craig’s background as an actuary with a Massachusetts Institute of Technology math degree who analyzes long term fiscal solutions, his experience leading an organization with a budget similar to Mercer Island’s, and his work on Mercer Island’s Planning Commission provides the experience we need to deal with fiscal and land use questions.

As I see him listening sincerely to all points of view, I also see that he recognizes the phrase from John Donne’s poem “No man is an island, no man stands alone.” Might he say, “No city is just an island…” recognizing that our island does not stand alone? Craig will be able to listen with concern to the region’s needs while clearly advocating for Mercer Island’s specific needs.

Perhaps Craig can also pursue that elusive goal of educating us on a variety of topics: The various components of our property tax; how our city portion compares to our neighboring cities’ portion; what percentage of our budget comes from local sales tax, property tax and other sources versus neighboring cities’ percentages.

I encourage you to vote for Craig.

Harriett Morton

Mercer Island

Troubling advertisements

I was troubled by the four political advertisements paid for by Seth Landau in The Mercer Island Reporter in its Oct. 2 issue.

Let’s look at the facts of those advertisements. “Huge raise in garbage bill for no reason.” The contract with Republic Services was up for renewal. Mercer Island called for bids for a 10-year contract and Recology was selected based on best rates and other factors. The garbage rates are going up by 8 percent.

“If you are against the levy we never needed, vote no Bertlin.” Washington State law limits increases in the overall levy rates for property taxes to 1 percent. However, the limit is not based on the increased value of the property, but rather on the amount of the property taxes assessed the prior year. The gap between the 1 percent a year increase and the inflation rate of, say 2 percent, means the revenue collected every year buys less than the year before. It’s like your boss giving you a 1 percent cost of living raise when the actual cost of living increased by 2 percent. The city derives 41 percent of its revenues from property taxes, so the discrepancy is no small amount. The city has had windfalls, used its reserves and reduced its services to balance its budget. Remember, the failed levy was to maintain the then current level of services.

“Bertlin found guilty of ethics violation” This is true. She used the city’s email address when she should have used her private email address. She apologized and admitted her mistake. You will need to judge how serious this ethics violation is.

“Two terms is enough! Vote no Bertlin.” Most institutions need institutional memory. Where would our city be if Aubrey Davis had not served for 11 years?

Bob Ellis

Mercer Island

Deputy mayor backs Jacobson

I have had the privilege of serving on your city council since 2017. As deputy mayor for the past year-and-a-half, I have become fully aware of how past council action and inaction have disadvantaged Islanders and led to the most unprecedented and significant loss of mobility in Mercer Island history.

In just a few years, Islanders have lost the right to use the Island Crest Way to westbound Interstate 90 on-ramp, the I-90 center roadway reversible lanes, and single-occupancy-vehicle access to the outer I-90 HOV lanes. In the coming years, and certainly under the decision making of the next council, Islanders stand to lose more mobility rights. This time, with the committing of city street and intersection capacity, which is owned and paid for by Islanders, to Sound Transit for a bus intercept that will transfer thousands of bus riders a day to and from trains on Mercer Island.

Current Sound Transit and Metro proposals have all of these bus riders disembarking buses on the wrong side of North Mercer Way, crossing North Mercer Way, and further restricting the precious remaining vehicle access to westbound I-90. This, along with a rejection by Sound Transit to provide dedicated law enforcement resources to ensure transit operations do not contribute to increased crime or a degradation in public safety.

If elected, Jake Jacobson’s Princeton and Stanford Law education, professional experience dealing with state Department of Transportation, Sound Transit, King County Metro, and a host of other governmental agencies will materially improve a future council’s ability to protect Islanders’ rights under the settlement agreement and stop Sound Transit’s continued expansion plans for a Mercer Island bus intercept. Jake Jacobson provides a clear choice for Islanders and supports sensible mobility choices along with sustainable spending policies.

Please join me in voting for Jake Jacobson, Position 7, Mercer Island City Council.

Salim Nice

Mercer Island

Supporting Bertlin

When I moved to Mercer Island, I had confidence in the sensibility and generosity of the community. I still do. That said, I am amazed by the level of fantasy, fiction and general nastiness that has surfaced this election season on social media and elsewhere. Fortunately, the results of the primary re-confirmed the intelligence of fellow Islanders by overwhelmingly supporting the re-election of Debbie Bertlin.

Debbie has remained calm, intelligent and maintained her usual constructive attitude throughout innumerable personal attacks that surely impact her and her family, including her daughters. She has stayed high as they’ve gone low. We all know the vast majority of these attacks are based on a false hysteria and aimed at shutting down community policies that just might make us Islanders even better – more public transit options, supporting our teachers and public safety officers in finding affordable housing in the region, and showing our kids what it means to conduct constructive dialogue in the political arena.

My family and I are voting for Debbie. If you have any doubts, I highly encourage you to speak with her directly. I believe that you’ll find, as we did, that she’s a smart, solutions-oriented Islander who wants Mercer Island to be the best place to live and raise a family for generations to come.

Randy Woloshin

Mercer Island

Retain Lisa Anderl

I wholeheartedly support retaining Lisa Anderl in Position 4 on the Mercer Island City Council. Last year I had the pleasure of spending countless hours diving into our city finances with Lisa through our work on the Community Advisory Group (CAG). There is no better situation to discover an individual’s true colors than discussing money and community priorities. Lisa Anderl is the candidate for us.

Lisa takes a practical and rational approach to derive win-win solutions to key issues. She listens, discusses and considers all sides of the situation and viewpoints before moving forward. For example, studying the city’s financial situation, and was a strong proponent of looking for and implementing operational efficiencies before asking residents to pay more taxes. As she and others recommended, efficiencies were found, and the city finished 2018 with a budget surplus, not a deficit.

We need council members who do the work and seek creative solutions to the opportunities we face. Lisa Anderl has proven that she has the skills, fortitude and community values that we need. Remember to mail your ballot by Nov. 5 — you do not even need a stamp. And please join me and all of our Island neighbors in voting for Lisa Anderl.

Elaine Kavalok

Mercer Island

Bertlin’s leadership for Islanders

I’m writing to encourage my fellow Islanders to vote for Debbie Bertlin for city council on Nov. 5. In this election, we have an opportunity to select leaders who have a deep understanding of the complex issues we face, who respect all voices and work to bring them together, who serve as a role model for our children, and who understand how to effectively represent our interests in a fast-growing region. Debbie Bertlin has demonstrated these qualities time and again on our city council and as our mayor.

Debbie’s long-standing record of significant contributions for our community includes: Ensuring we have a variety of playgrounds for our children at Mercerdale and Luther Burbank parks — supporting initiatives that created sidewalks along busy streets including 40th around Northwood and our schools and a crosswalk at Covenant Shores, and actively promoting park re-investment at Groveland, Island Crest Park and our first accessible playground at Luther Burbank; building a more inclusive community through support of celebrations like Juneteenth and commemorating Women’s Suffrage, and inspiring young leaders through her active involvement with high schoolers and in elementary classes, and running mock city council meetings with our boy and girl scouts; modeling the integrity, transparency, and the unflappable approach that we expect from our leaders — she has fostered an environment where city council meetings are respectful, thoughtful and focused on pragmatic problem solving.

Debbie has earned the respect of our regional leaders in her tough stands for Islander interests on transportation and regional development issues. She consistently brings an optimistic and creative approach to solving city problems. She understands how to lead us into the future. Please join me in supporting Debbie Bertlin for city council.

Leslie Meagley

Mercer Island

Support for city council

As one who has worked for many years with the city council, staff and residents to make our roads and trails safer, please join me in voting for incumbents Debbie Bertlin and Wendy Weiker, as well as candidates Craig Reynolds, David Rosenbaum and Patrick Allcorn for city council.

Bertlin and Weiker have repeatedly taken the time to investigate, listen and understand the need to improve our bicycle and pedestrian facilities, especially for students, commuters and families. This has led to improvements in shoulders along East and West Mercer, new safety signage on our roads and new bike lanes on Southeast 40th Street to Northwood School.

Craig Reynolds came to my attention last year as the reasonable voice who patiently explained the Proposition 1 financial issues clearly and in depth on Nextdoor and in the debates. Regardless of one’s vote on Prop. 1, his effort to clarify issues was helpful for the entire community.

Last spring Craig, David and Patrick took the initiative to contact residents and cyclists to learn about safety issues on Mercer Island roads and what needs to be fixed. As longtime residents or parents of young children and students, they are the new candidates who are most knowledgeable and committed to making the improvements that will make our roads safe for everyone — drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.

Jim Stanton

Mercer Island

Longtime residents back Reynolds

We have been residents of Mercer Island for 45 years and we have supported many good people who have run for city council. We applaud and appreciate their enthusiasm to work for the citizens of this wonderful island, trying their best to make decisions that will improve our lives and community. We believe the best candidates for this job should have a solid understanding of how the city works, what the current issues are, a willingness to listen to different viewpoints, the ability to study the facts and an analytical mind that can determine what steps should be taken to grow in the region, while we maintain our island culture in a responsible way.

We are fortunate to have this kind of candidate once again, in Craig Reynolds. He honestly cares about his community and he has the background, experience and temperament to be a positive contributor to the council.

Financial expertise — Craig has a math degree from MIT and he co-manages the Seattle office of Milliman, a global actuarial and consulting firm, where he works to ensure the long-term financial health of his clients.

Budgets — Nationally, he has been chosen by his fellow peers and served as president of the Society of Actuaries in 2015-16, an organization with a membership and budget the size of Mercer Island.

City, regional and land use issues — Locally, Craig served on the Community Advisory Group and currently serves on the Planning Commission, where the hard work of governing starts. These kinds of expertise are essential as we tackle the hard issues of growth, seek new opportunities for revenue and continue to provide the quality of life that drew all of us here to Mercer Island.

The bottom line: Mercer Island needs Craig Reynolds.

He is the most qualified candidate running and has aptly prepared himself for this position.

Please join us in voting for Craig Reynolds for city council, Position 5.

Mary Ann and Bruce Flynn

Mercer Island

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