Letters to the Editor, Oct. 30, 2019

Letters to the Editor, Oct. 30, 2019

Political letters not in print.


Last fall, voters sent a message to the Mercer Island City Council with the resounding defeat of Proposition 1—the measure to fund public safety, youth and family services, parks, and recreation. It failed by 16 points. Despite the wide margin, it was not a vote against these services, but rather a vote reflecting the perception among many citizens that the council prioritized new tax revenue over tough decisions on operations, equipment and personnel.

Prior to moving to Mercer Island in 2016, I served eight years on the city council in Newcastle, including two years as Mayor. Given that experience, I can say with confidence that a vote for Cartwright, Anderl, Jacobson, Hanlon and Thompson will restore fiscal discipline and maintain the high level of service that Islanders rightly expect. With proper prioritization of the budget, the two are not mutually exclusive.

Steve Buri

Mercer Island

Bertlin and Rosenbaum support

Too much of our public discourse in America, including Mercer Island, is toxic. We need thoughtful leaders who advocate effectively, listen and treat others respectfully. I write to recommend two council candidates who fit this model.

Debbie Bertlin displayed these qualities during the recent tumultuous process to remodel our library. I was one of five trustees on the KCLS Board and witnessed how the city and its citizens responded to KCLS’ flawed process. There were many who confronted KCLS with vitriol and hostility, who frankly tended to be met with greater resistance from the KCLS staff and trustees. Councilmember Bertlin and others were much more effective, engaging and persuasive. Her leadership and advocacy played an important role in moving KCLS to listen to the city’s concerns and to scale the remodel project appropriately.

David Rosenbaum would also lead in this model. A third generation Washingtonian, Dave’s family exemplifies leadership, dialogue and community building. Dave’s father served as respected spiritual leader of a Mercer Island congregation for seventeen years. In particular, he’s known as a leader in inter-religious dialogue. Dave’s wife is Pacific Northwest director of the Anti-Defamation League, one of the nation’s leading organizations fighting against hate and promoting tolerance. Dave is a bright, active listener. As the council is dealing with important state and regional agencies, he may be the only candidate with recent federal government, having worked in the Senate and House of Representatives on issues we care about such as public safety, transportation, public sector budgeting, education, economic development and infrastructure. Equally as important, Dave was revered by his colleagues for his ability to listen, dig deep into the facts, and work across partisan barriers to achieve results. I know he’ll bring these skills to the council and be an effective city leader.

Rob Spitzer

Mercer Island

Jacobson support

We believe it is time to have fresh voices on Mercer Island’s city council, and we are fortunate to have Jake Jacobson running for Position 7.

Jake is a graduate of Princeton University and Stanford Law School. He served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War, and is the recipient of the Purple Heart. His business career includes 25 years of construction management experience. As executive vice president of Osborne Construction Company, and president of Associated General Contractors (AGC), Jake has specialized in negotiation and government contracts. This is the kind of experience we need as our city council finds itself having to negotiate with government agencies such as Sound Transit and the state Department of Transportation.

Jake is opposing Debbie Bertlin. During Bertlin’s eight years on the council, we lost the SOV lane and are left with the bus intercept. She favored raising property taxes and backed Proposition 1, which was soundly defeated, showing how out-of-step she is with Island voters. She says “Our parks are a treasure,” but almost destroyed Mercerdale Park by supporting the construction of a 28,000 square-foot building for MICA in the park. She recently said she wants to see our Veterans’ Pergola take a more prominent role in Mercerdale Park. However, when she and the council canceled our Summer Celebration, they also canceled an 11-year tradition of holding a “Veterans Appreciation Event” at the Pergola following the veterans’ participation in the annual parade.

As a 30-year Mercer Island resident, Jake knows and supports our community, and understands the importance of having a city council which is responsive to the needs of our community, while keeping it fiscally sound. Please vote for Jake Jacobson for Position 7 on Mercer Island’s city council.


Erick and Judy Leithe

Mercer Island

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