Letters to the Editor, Oct. 2, 2019

Candidate endorsements

Cartwright for local focus

In the upcoming election, I read that several candidates are intentionally “keeping it local” and only taking funding and endorsements from Mercer Island citizens. I’m impressed. This is an important statement that speaks loudly. As an example – I found Heather Cartwright is one of these candidates that says she’s “100-percent funded and endorsed by Islanders.” Her opponent, Craig Reynolds, has taken in money from off-island, and is soliciting endorsements from major political parties.

For me – this scenario speaks volumes about where these candidates focus will be after the election. When it comes to tough negotiations in the region, who will have Mercer Island as a priority? Will it be someone like Craig, who’s indebted to regional interests for funding his campaign? I doubt it.

My vote will be with candidates like Heather Cartwright who care about Mercer Island citizens. It’s pretty clear when you look at her website that she’s not only got real business credentials and success, but that she is truly is active and engaged on Mercer Island. It’s an easy voting choice for me. I want someone in office that cares about our community and has already shown real leadership on Mercer Island, not one looking to get into office so they can serve other political interests.

Let’s get more candidates like Heather Cartwright in office.

Robert Reid

Mercer Island

Bertlin for all Islanders

At a time when Mercer Island is facing wrenching changes – severe financial challenges, turnover in key positions at City Hall, important negotiations with Sound Transit and more – we need the experience and leadership of Debbie Bertlin on the city council. She is passionate, smart, and knows Mercer Island like no other candidate.

She was a leader and community activist long before she was elected to city council. She formed a community group to lobby successfully for pedestrian and cycle path on 72nd Southeast, and she led the effort for an improved toddler play space at Luther Burbank Park. Debbie is not motivated by ego but by her genuine desire to make Mercer Island a better place.

Since she was elected in 2011, she has grown in her ability to collaborate with others to solve problems, to truly listen to all sides of an issue, to manage priorities under stringent budgetary conditions. Her background at Oracle and Microsoft give her skills in economic development and business operations and management that we need. Debbie makes decisions based on data and facts, but always with consideration of the impact on the community.

She has a vision for the future while also respecting the past.

At a time when local politics has become divisive Debbie exerts a positive, calming influence. She is a strong advocate for the needs of all Islanders, from kids to parents to grandparents.

She is a tireless advocate for our Island, while at the same time recognizing that we cannot be insular.

I will be voting for Debbie Bertlin, and I hope you will too.

Jane Brahm

Mercer Island

Hanlon represents Mercer Island

Jon Hanlon has set himself apart as the candidate in the Position 3 race that will represent Mercer Island interests. When elected to the city council, his priorities are clear: Hold to the Sound Transit Settlement agreement – any amendments require environmental impact study (SEPA); focus city on efficiency and process improvement within city operations; review and understand infrastructure (road, water, sewer) status — establish maintenance program that is data-driven; protect parks and open spaces from the threat of development.

Having the ability to execute on these priorities is crucial. Jon has the professional experience and perspective to drive execution. As a technical leader who has successfully implemented, improved and operated safety and mission critical programs over a 20-year career in aviation and technology, he knows how to drive change without compromising the objective. The current council either does’t know how to make these changes or is unwilling. In either case, it is unacceptable for Mercer Island to accept the status quo.

John Hall

Mercer Island

In support of Cartwright

If you visit city council candidate Heather Jordan Cartwright’s website, you can’t miss my endorsement quote: “Having worked closely with Heather for many years, I can attest she is a smart, creative, hard-working problem solver with fresh ideas. She cares deeply about our community, our schools, and fixing our city’s financial problems. I know that Heather will do an amazing job on the city council.”

Let me expand on that endorsement – though it says a lot.

When I think about the job of serving on Mercer Island City Council, I want someone who will do the following: Listen, ask thoughtful, smart questions, carefully consider all sides of every issue with a clear head, discuss issues with others in a respectful and kind way, and see through the clutter and focus on what’s really important to Mercer Islanders.

Heather Cartwright embodies all those qualities. She’s the one I call when I need a complicated issue explained well to me.

What will Heather do as a member of the city council? Heather will fix this budget mess. She’s got the financial know-how, the guts and the smarts to get it done and lead. Heather will keep public safety a top priority. As a mom of three girls who has commuted to both Seattle and the Eastside, Heather can fix this transportation mess and keep our island families safe. Heather will be a hard-working, transparent steward of the people’s dollars. She’ll bring back programs that enhance our community and say no to those that waste our money.

Our city council represents us. It represents our voice. Heather is that voice of reason we’ve all been looking for. I hope that you’ll join me in supporting Heather Jordan Cartwright for city council.

Kathy Moffett McDonald

Mercer Island

Bertlin for council

Speaking from personal experience, I support Debbie Bertlin. Debbie was one of only two council members willing to meet to discuss our concerns about school re-zoning. Her thoughtfulness earned my respect even though I did not get the decision I hoped for. Many council and community meetings later, I find her informed and concerned about what best serves this community. We are a small community overwhelmed by King County and larger neighbors. Pragmatism is the alternative to losing everything. I believe Debbie is working pragmatically and in our interests. Her role as chair of the Sound Cities Caucus for the Growth Management Planning Council provides Mercer Island an influential voice in regional decisions.

It is disturbing that some would throw out accusations without examining the underlying facts. As reported, Debbie sent a single email from her city account. Although the council thought a “reasonable reading” was an ethics violation, it clearly viewed it as a “foot-fault” and determined that it had no impact whatsoever on the election process. Another reasonable reading is that Debbie wanted to accurately reflect public statements made by city staff, which any citizen is entitled to request. Let’s focus on issues that go to the heart of this community’s concerns.

The assumption that a candidate who pays for his/her own campaign is somehow above bias is troubling. Public disclosure of contributions provides a useful tool to examine a candidate’s potential biases. This is especially helpful when a candidate has little public service experience for us to judge. Debbie met with me knowing only that I was a Mercer Island resident and long before I ever supported her elections. Her actions speak loudly about how she conducts herself as a city councilmember.

Please join me in supporting Debbie Bertlin for city council.

Marie Bender

Mercer Island

Rosenbaum for council

I am an enthusiastic supporter of Dave Rosenbaum for city council. I was looking for a candidate who is congenial, smart, positive and sincere, and whose background would add value to dedicated service. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Dave and I’ve found my candidate.

Many issues are pending before the council and these will be replaced by countless more. Therefore, I am most interested in what is important to a candidate and whether they have the ability to work effectively for those priorities as various issues come before the Council.

Dave’s priorities include preservation of parks, increased support for Town Center and small businesses, improved on-Island transportation, high-quality services including police, fire, water and sewer, and mitigating climate change. He realizes that resolution of the city’s financial issue is a fundamental concern, and he is ready to work with the community, council and city staff to find a solution. I agree with Dave’s priorities and believe that he can work in a collegial manner on the council to effectively advocate for his views.

Dave brings experience from a decade of work in the public sector for the federal government. As a Congressional staffer, he spearheaded a successful effort to save $2.1 billion and, at the same time, improve the experience of veterans appealing claims to the Veterans Affairs Department. Dave’s strength is to listen to constituents and to build consensus. This experience will be valuable as Islanders continue to identify what is important and determine how to ensure that what is valued is retained.

Dave’s belief that the real strength of the Island comes from the wonderful people who make up our community perfectly expresses who he is. He trusts that we can work together to ensure that we continue to enjoy a high quality of life and respond to challenges that will come. He is ready to lead. I encourage you to join me in voting for Dave Rosenbaum.

Carolyn Boatsman

Mercer Island

Reynolds has what city needs

I’d like to share why I’m endorsing Craig Reynolds for city council. Craig graduated from MIT with a math degree and works as an actuary. I figure we need someone who can understand budgets and dive deep into fiscal matters. He’s also even keeled and open to finding resolution. I know our city and council have had some fraught past and we need someone who can make the system work together. I believe we’re lucky Craig is volunteering to work for us.

Sandra Schilling

Mercer Island

Voting for safety

I am writing on behalf of the five public office candidates running for election or re-election to our city council. I am extremely pleased and appreciative that Wendy Weiker, Debbie Bertlin, Craig Reynolds, Patrick Allcorn and Dave Rosenbaum have all received endorsements to their campaigns from the Alliance for Gun Responsibility in Washington state.

While it may not seem that Mercer Island is a high-risk community, gun violence is a real factor in all communities across our state and our country. Whether it is suicide, domestic violence, homicide or a mass shooting, gun violence is preventable and I am proud that our city council candidates recognize that they can all play a role in keeping our community safe and advocating for this important issue.

As a concerned parent and community member, I will cast my vote for these candidates who represent my views on this critical component of public health and safety. Our families, schools and community at large will all stand to benefit from leaders who will fight for a Mercer Island free from gun violence. Action begins locally.

Lori Cohen-Sanford

Mercer Island

Thompson already doing the work

All elections matter, but this November’s Mercer Island election is critical.

In spite of our city running surpluses for years, we now have a budget crisis as those surpluses were dissipated on council pet projects and poor fiscal oversight. Dan Thompson opposed the November 2018 General Election Proposition 1 until unpopular council policies were addressed and a levy could pass, and the true budget numbers were released, because as we have learned the city’s budget estimates for Prop. 1 have proven to be wildly off. Dan was also the first person to raise the dire need for water and sewer line replacement, which cost the city more than $2 million just for temporary costs due to the breakout of E. coli.

Dan fought the first proposal for a bus intercept in 2014, and has been a leading opponent of Sound Transit’s proposals to bring up to 14,000 off-Island riders to Mercer Island by bus each day.

Dan is an attorney who has worked tirelessly to protect our neighborhoods and parks. He worked with SOS to save and permanently protect Kite Hill by making it part of Luther Burbank Park, fought to rewrite the residential development code to preserve neighborhood character, fought the rezoning of the Linear Parks next to Freshy’s and Tully’s, fought to get a tree ordinance to protect significant trees during development, appealed to GMHB to fight rezoning of our neighborhoods and to force the council to adopt a transportation concurrency ordinance so Town Center development meets our street and intersection capacity. Dan, along with another citizen, read the new garbage contract and discovered the hidden taxes, and fought to remove the waiver for drive down service.

Dan represents Islanders and accordingly has refused to accept off-Island contributions. In sharp contrast over a third of his opponent’s contributions are from off-Island, including a large contribution that his opponent accepted from the political arm of the Master Builder’s Association, the deceptively named Affordable Housing Council.

Dan has been doing the work the council should have been doing over the last eight years. We need Dan on our city council.

Carv Zwingle

Mercer Island

Jacobson for city council

Jake Jacobson has the ability, the knowledge and the experience the Mercer Island City Council needs to deal with the challenges our community currently faces.

For over 18 years, Jake practiced law, concentrating on public procurement, government contracts and construction, as well as management labor and employment law. He has skillfully and successfully negotiated with agencies such as the state Department of Transportation, King County and the city of Seattle.

Since 1995, as an executive in a large construction company, Jake’s responsibilities included assessing and managing risk, negotiating contracts and dealing with all aspects of real estate development.

As a strong advocate for Mercer Island, Jake will focus on issues we feel are vital to the future of our community, such as minimizing the impact of the bus intercept, preserving our residential neighborhoods, beaches, parks and trails, and dealing with our aging water and sewer systems to ensure access to safe, clean water.

Jake is funding his campaign himself so that he will not be beholden to donors. When he looks at issues, he has promised to make decisions based first on policies that benefit Mercer Islanders, his constituents. He will support policies that benefit the region when they align with our Island’s priorities.

Please join us in voting for Jake Jacobson, a candidate whose lifetime of experience makes him ideally suited to serve on the Mercer Island City Council.

Terry and Morrene Jacobson (no relation)

Mercer Island

Reynolds support

I moved to Mercer Island three years ago from the East Coast, thanks to Amazon. We chose to live on Mercer Island because of the wonderful schools, the proximity to Seattle and the beautiful parks. I told my friends back east that I was moving to Seattle to join the Resistance.

We are fortunate to live in this special community that’s so close to Seattle that my husband can bike to work. But, I wonder how it’s possible that Seattle doesn’t have a viable public transportation system. While some neighbors on NextDoor are vocally against growth and are suspicious of new things, most of us know we can’t hide from change. Our region is growing and MI needs to be at the table, participating and leading the conversation. Craig Reynolds is the most qualified city council candidate to navigate the changes ahead for our region, while maintaining the integrity of our Island.

I met Craig through my involvement in Mercer Island Democracy in Action (the Resistance.) He’s open, honest and incredibly smart. I support Craig Reynolds for city council because he has the financial experience and business skills to grow Mercer Island into an even healthier and more vibrant community. Craig is an actuary with a degree in math from MIT. We need Craig’s proven business skills to carefully budget and manage our city financial plan. Craig has served on the MI Planning Commission and is familiar with the city’s land use issues. Moreover, Craig is a coalition builder, a good listener with an open mind. Craig loves Mercer Island. I’ve walked for hours with Craig ringing doorbells and meeting with and listening to constituents. Mercer Islanders want to preserve our parks, to keep our Youth and Family Services mental health providers, and to maintain the quality of our community. I trust Craig to continue to listen to Islanders, to recognize opportunity for positive change and to represent Mercer Island’s interests in the growing Seattle region.

Please join me in voting for Craig Reynolds for city council.

Gail Dawson Morrison

Mercer Island

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