Letters to the Editor, Oct. 9, 2019

Elections

Reynolds for gun violence prevention

Craig Reynolds is a thought leader in city affairs and in gun violence prevention.

Having been an activist on gun violence prevention (GVP) for 25 years, I worked with dozens of Mercer Island volunteers in our community to collect thousands of signatures for Initiative 1639 recently. Craig was an active volunteer for 1639. Craig is also an active participant in events related to GVP and has been endorsed by the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, the leader in GVP in Washington. Craig has contributed money and time and also has written professionally about the importance of insurance in holding irresponsible gun owners accountable. This is an important step in preventing gun violence.

GVP is important from a local perspective. People who say that it should all be done at the state level are missing a lot. For instance, we need local officials to agitate to change pre-emption laws so cities and counties can regulate guns and gun crimes locally. Why do we have the same laws for a remote area in Eastern Washington and on Mercer Island?

Then, there is the matter of applying existing laws and funding to prevent violence. Is Mercer Island Police Department funded to take advantage of these recently passed laws to prevent domestic abusers from owning guns? Schools and the community at large need access to good mental health counseling. Local leaders can help with ideas and funding for mental health counseling, protection at public events and coordination between law enforcement and the school district.

The data from the Mercer Island School District PTA polls is clear — people on Mercer Island are clearly worried about gun violence and expect our city elders to take a leadership role in preventing gun violence.

If you care about gun violence prevention, please vote for Craig Reynolds.

Bharat Shyam

Mercer Island

Bertlin’s memory fails

I had to chuckle when I read the response recently by Debbie Bertlin to a question posed by the Mercer Island Reporter about preserving Mercerdale Park.

Debbie seems to have forgotten that from 2014 – 2019, she led the charge to have a section of Mercerdale Park be given away to a private developer that would have destroyed the ambiance and pastoral setting of that park. Also, the Northwest Native Garden and Bicentennial Park would have been demolished in this transaction. (Back issues of the Reporter can fully document Bertlin’s votes and actions.)

Fortunately, a community-wide effort to preserve Mercerdale Park from private hands and development was successful, and we are still able today to ask the question “What should be done in the future to preserve and enhance the park?”

As we move forward, let’s not forget one’s past actions.

Peter Struck

Mercer Island

Boldly step into future

Change is challenging yet filled with opportunities. Whether it’s new garbage trucks or a developing town center, change will intrude on our lives and routines.

We can deny, resist or become angry about the changes we are experiencing. Nevertheless, as hard as we try, the future is coming and it will bring change.

We can choose to fear change or boldly step into the future. We can shape that future, anticipate issues and expand our horizons.

The transit station for light rail is an example. We can build hypothetical walls around the station to keep off-Islanders out, or we can invite our neighbors to enjoy a thriving town center. Then we can use the increased sales tax revenues to preserve what we value.

To deal with these changes in a positive way, we need a city council that envisions and creates that future. That’s why I’m supporting Debbie Bertlin, Dave Rosenbaum, Wendy Weiker, Craig Reynolds and Patrick Allcorn.

We can take advantage of a future to opens doors and give us opportunities.

We can be smart about the future.

Carol Friends

Mercer Island

Rosenbaum support

As a former city councilmember, I would like to ask you to join me in supporting Dave Rosenbaum for Mercer Island City Council Position 1.

Dave’s family has been on Mercer Island for three generations, giving him strong roots in our community. He values our parks, our partnerships with the schools and our history.

His background as a policy adviser in Washington, D.C., gives him proven experience. He has skills in collaboration and decision making that lead to sound decisions. We need this as we move forward. Someone who knows us, works for us and can bring us together.

I support Dave Rosenbaum because he brings a background in issues a city council deals with all the time: Budgeting, public works, public safety, and transportation.

I support Dave Rosenbaum because he understands the unique character we have here in our community and will stand up for us regionally, locally and with all people.

Our community needs someone with these roots, these skills and the understanding that we are stronger together.

We need Dave Rosenbaum leading us into the future.

Judy Clibborn

Mercer Island

Competence for council

I’ve known Jake Jacobson for over 20 years. He has a Stanford law degree specializing in construction law, he’s spent a career in construction, and he was featured in the prestigious Daily Journal of Commerce (https://www.djc.com/news/co/12096972.html) as president of the Associated General Contractors of Washington. Jake is a construction professional with more experience and skill budgeting, implementing and negotiating (with outside agencies) construction projects than all the current councilmembers combined. Beyond that, he has worked to support the schools, Youth and Family Services, our parks and has all the positive qualities Islanders seek (jakeformi.com).

Our city council has been fumbling and stumbling, especially on construction projects. The council has dumped $700,000 of Island funds into the Tully’s sinkhole (Agenda Bill 5541, March 19) with no chance of full reimbursement and no end in sight for additional funds. On Oct. 17, 2017, our council voted to accept the Sound Transit bus intercept, but now they’re acting like they didn’t know what they were voting for. There’s no way the current council can bring either of these projects to a satisfactory conclusion.

We’re due for the perennial letter from the “former mayors” and other partisan groups telling us to vote the party line, which has gotten us to where we are now. Jake is using his personal success to fund his own campaign and give us a one-time opportunity to have a top construction professional on our city council, which is desperately needed. I urge Islanders to take him up on it and vote Jake Jacobson.

Ira Appelman

Mercer Island

Reynolds for council

I have endorsed my neighbor Craig Reynolds for Mercer Island City Council for two reasons — his personal values and skills qualify him, and I believe his policy positions are right for the Island.

Craig is smart, thoughtful and a respectful listener and communicator. He can understand those who might disagree with him and be open minded enough to seek win-win solutions. Through his career as an actuary and his service on the Mercer Island Planning Commission he has proven experience in long term financial planning and land use matters. These skills will be critical as the council works to balance spending while efficiently delivering the services that Islanders want while developing a long-term plan for our aging water and sewer systems.

Craig is committed to preserving the character of our residential neighborhoods and to protecting our cherished park lands. He will support our police, fire and community support agencies and insure that they remain under local control. Craig will stand up for Islanders as we work with Sound Transit and Metro on regional transit issues. He rejects the currently proposed bus intercept options and will seek solutions that preserve traffic mobility and public safety. Craig will work to support local businesses and cultivate smart development of retail and dining options that will improve the vibrancy of our community while broadening our tax base. He is committed to being a wise steward of taxpayer dollars.

I am very pleased that Craig cares so much about our community that he is running for city council. I believe that he will be an asset to that body and to our community. Please join me in supporting him with your vote.

Phil Defliese

Mercer Island

Jacobson for Town Center

Essential. Town Center is essential to my family and three young daughters. We enjoy locally shopping, dining and playing. Town Center is also essential to all citizens of Mercer Island.

Unfortunately, our essential Town Center is under continuous risk. We expect our city leaders to protect and improve our Town Center with more than window dressing. Recently, a letter to the editor used this extremely low bar of window dressing to attempt defending Debbie Bertlin’s deficient record. Instead of describing real policies and real opportunities to improve Town Center, it focused on cosmetics. These near useless activities included “attends Chamber of Commerce luncheons,” “help[s] with the giant scissors at ribbon cuttings,” and “was a huge supporter of Art Uncorked.” As a Mercer Island community, we need real support, not photo-ops.

During Debbie Bertlin’s tenure on the city council, the Town Center retail boundaries were redrawn causing several businesses (e.g. Cascade Frames, HomeGrown, Island Books, Oh! Chocolate and Terra Bella) removal from the Town Center retail core. Now, Mayor Bertlin’s city council moves forward with plans for a large bus intercept on the edge of our Town Center. As many as 14,000 transit riders deposited daily on the outskirts of our Town Center will forever change Mercer Island and its Town Center.

I wholeheartedly support Jake Jacobson’s campaign for city council Position 7. Jake is essential change Mercer Island needs on the city council. He will lead our city council to renew focus on Mercer Island’s business climate. Jake is not running for city council with the aspiration of using his council seat as a steppingstone for higher regional political office. Instead, Jacobson is running for city council to improve his and our Mercer Island including improving the business environment and vitality of our Town Center.

Darren Gold

Mercer Island

Islanders back Cartwright

I’ve lived here for 50 years and have been a Mercer Island Realtor for 40 years, selling the unique advantages of living on our beautiful Island. Bob and I want to preserve our community and everything that makes it uniquely desirable. Over the years we’ve supported school bonds, parks, community centers – you name it.

With our city experiencing financial challenges, we need someone leading our council that not only says “Yes, let’s find a way to preserve our city services,” but someone who can actually get it done.

That’s why in the Nov. 5 city council election, we’re saying “Yes” to Heather Cartwright.

We’re concerned with the recent approach our city took after Proposition 1 didn’t pass (in November 2018) to cut services that create a sense of community instead of finding innovative ways to keep them. Bob volunteers each week supporting seniors at the M.I. Community Center – and many of those services were the first to get cut. And it was so disappointing that Summer Celebration was canceled. This is not the approach to leading our Island that we remember or want for future generations.

Heather cares about people, and she understands Islander values because she lives them every day. For city council, she brings critical thinking, analytical skills, good judgment, an impressive business background and she is willing to devote the time to find balance in our city governance.

We’ve spent time listening to Heather and her analytical study of our city budget during the Citizen Advisory Group and her leadership is impressive. As a mom, her passion and willingness to stand up and preserve public safety and mobility on the bus intercept issue, and her commitment to maintaining our Island values and sense of community is what we need on our city council. Please join us in voting for Heather.

Natalie and Bob Malin

Mercer Island

Jacobson support

Marianne and I encourage Mercer Islanders to vote for Jake Jacobson for city council. Three reasons sum up our view of who should lead our city.

First, the city’s finances and priorities are in poor shape after eight years of mismanagement and it is time for a new city council. The straw that broke the camel’s back for us was the cancellation of Summer Celebration. That was a petty pay back for the vote against Proposition 1 (in the November 2108 General Election). A mayor who truly understood what makes Mercer Island a great place to live and raise a family would never have agreed with that decision.

Second, Mr. Jacobson’s resume shows a career of leadership working to resolve problems and not make them worse. While in private practice, as a key decision maker of a large construction contractor and serving as an arbitrator and member of dispute resolution boards he acquired good judgment, something in short supply on city council.

Third, Mayor Debbie Bertlin’s response to an issue last year revealed her misguided priorities. When considering the qualifications for Mercer Island’s boards and commissions, she argued against any significant residency requirement and she seemed to support Mr. Bassett’s opposition to resumes. I objected to both of those proposals. While she suggested she gave in on the residency issue, she said a residency requirement was “important to bringing forward new ideas, new ways to do things and best practices from around the country, continent and world.” Right, like converting Mercer Island into a regional bus station? With all respect, a person who has lived here, say, five years or more, maybe even raising a family here, is far more likely to understand Mercer Island, its history and needs than someone who moved here last week.

We ask you to vote for Jake Jacobson.

Michael Bond

Mercer Island


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