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Mercer Island candidate letters | Election 2021

Editor’s note: Due to the volume of letters endorsing Mercer Island candidates and a finite amount of print space in the Mercer Island Reporter, these letters will be published on our website. They are in no particular order.

Salim Nice has earned another term

I am voting to reelect Salim Nice for Mercer Island City Council.

Salim’s positions align with most Islanders’ priorities, and his decisions on the council have assured me that he will continue to serve our community well.

Salim heard citizen concerns about public safety, and strongly supported policies that devoted resources to MIPD. Salim conducts himself with the highest ethical standards, and has led the council to improve ethics, transparency, and accountability in all city government.

Salim believes that peaceful enjoyment of Mercer Island is the right of all residents, and has been steadfast in opposing overdevelopment in neighborhoods, protecting parks, and keeping services.

Finally, Salim’s professional experiences have served the city as he advocates for smarter spending and long-term financial stability.

See for yourself. Go to the Mercer Island Council YouTube page, and watch Salim speak about any issue. You will find that Salim is guided equally by passion for Mercer Island, strong leadership principles, and a deep understanding of the issues.

Oh, I almost forgot. According to his website, Salim is endorsed by Mayor Wong, Deputy Mayor Weiker, Councilmember Rosenbaum, Councilmember Jacobson, and Councilmember Anderl. Those councilmembers, along with thousands of fellow Islanders, see Salim’s strengths. Vote Salim!

Ryan Rahlfs, Mercer Island

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A few words about Ted Weinberg

As we get into election season, I wanted to share a few words with our community about Ted Weinberg.

I’ve had the pleasure of serving with Ted for over four years on the Mercer Island Planning Commission.

Ted has an extensive background in local government, working as an IT Resource Manager and Portfolio Manager for the City of Seattle in addition to his service on the Planning Commission.

What strikes me most about Ted is his willingness to listen to others’ perspectives. He genuinely wants to learn from his fellow Islanders and find ways to help.

He did not come into this process with a lot of preconceived notions. Rather, he approached it as a learning and growth opportunity, for himself but also for the community. While he has plenty of creative and thoughtful ideas, he also has a genuine openness.

I encourage anyone who wants to learn more about our local government or just talk about what’s working and what’s not, to reach out to Ted personally. He would love to hear from you.

Tiffin Goodman, Mercer Island

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I support Lisa Anderl

This year’s City Council races are incredibly important for the direction of Mercer Island.

I support Lisa Anderl for re-election because she’s focused on the residents of Mercer Island. She’s running because she loves our community and wants to see Mercer Island continue to be a great place to live, work, raise a family, and retire. Lisa is smart, engaged, and responsive.

She is not running to advance a broader political agenda, as a stepping-stone to the next race, or as a platform to advocate on issues that the Council doesn’t have jurisdiction over.

There is a significant contrast between Lisa and her opponent, Kate Akyuz. Most notably, Akyuz was a vocal opponent of Mercer Island’s anti-camping ordinance – which was supported by an overwhelming majority of Island residents, and ultimately passed with a 6-1 vote.

Because Akyuz doesn’t have a public policy record, it is worth looking at her endorsement list to anticipate the positions she might take as a City Council member. These endorsements include many Seattle and off-Island interests. A few examples:

• Seattle-based Protec17 – which has endorsed Seattle City Council Member Kshama Sawant.

• Seattle-based FuseWA – which supports defunding police.

• Rep. My-Linh Thai – who worked with opponents and Seattle interests in an attempt to “defeat” the Mercer Island anti-camping ordinance, and has sponsored legislation to make camping legal on all public lands (including parks, sidewalks and school property).

The Mercer Island City Council is a non-partisan board with a good track record of working together to solve the town’s issues. Lisa is committed to working towards a vibrant downtown business community, supporting our first responders, and protecting our public spaces, including much needed improvements to Aubrey Davis Park.

Lisa Anderl will, in my view, continue that collaborative approach, and I hope you will consider supporting her for re-election.

Tim Punke, Mercer Island

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In support of Ted Weinberg

I write in support of Ted Weinberg for City Council.

Ted and I agree on many issues. He will support and protect our parks. He is committed to locally controlled police and fire services.

He values the social services provided by MIYFS. He supports retail in town center. He believes in climate change and is committed to taking a leadership role in sustainability. These issues are all important. But issues come and go, and I make my recommendation primarily based on what I know about Ted’s character, judgment, and commitment.

I served with Ted on the Mercer Island planning commission, where I had dozens of meetings where I was able to watch him in action. Here are a few things I observed that matter to me.

(1) Ted did his homework. He came to every meeting well prepared with thoughtful and creative ideas about how to make Mercer Island a better place.

(2) Ted listens. During our shared time on the commission, we dealt with many contentious issues, and meetings often had many Islanders coming to offer comments on our work during “appearances” time. Ted listened attentively, and he referred back to what he heard during our discussions.

(3) Ted is courteous. He never uttered a critical word of anyone, no matter how strongly he disagreed.

(4) Ted is humble. He was never one to grandstand. He was more interested in the right decision than he was in getting credit for the decision.

(5) Ted’s ethics were unquestioned. He was truthful and open.

(6) Ted is open minded. He came to every issue willing to consider new ideas.

These traits will make Ted a great city councilmember. He will do what is best for Mercer Island. Please support him in this important race for City Council.

Craig Reynolds, Mercer Island

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In support of Daniel Becker

Twenty-one years feels like a long time, but in so many ways, it isn’t. Daniel Becker and I began working together as senior class officers exactly two decades and one year ago this month. I was always blown away by Daniel’s passion, level-headedness, and talent… even as a teenager.

Daniel has always been that one person who steps up to do the work no one else will, often behind-the-scenes. He operates with integrity, openness, and an authentic desire to help his community. It has been wonderful to get to know Daniel again, decades later, now that we both moved back to Mercer Island (with kids-in-tow!). No surprise, he is as passionate about his community as ever, and I believe he lives his life in service to that passion.

From student council then to city council today, I am delighted to support Daniel Becker’s candidacy for Mercer Island City Council on November 2.

Julie Sandler, Seattle

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In support of Brian Giannini Upton

Mercer Island is far from Spokane, in culture as well as miles.

Yet, If I lived in Mercer Island School District, I would enthusiastically vote to reelect Brian Giannini Upton to school board position #4.

You’re probably aware that Brian is a dedicated and hard-working school director. What you may not know is that he’s admired statewide as a tireless champion for all of Washington’s 1.1 million schoolchildren.

Brian and I serve on the Legislative Committee for the Washington State School Directors Association, which leads advocacy efforts on behalf of the state’s 1,477 school directors. Though he and I often approach issues from different perspectives, I am always impressed – and usually swayed – by his passionate advocacy.

If a legislative proposal would have an unintended consequence, it is Brian who will uncover it. If research is needed, Brian is quick to volunteer. If there are dissenting voices, Brian values their opinion.

Like his non-partisan position on the school board, Brian’s committee work is unpaid, takes a tremendous amount of time, and is easily dismissed by voters.

Yet, his state-level leadership greatly benefits Mercer Island, providing deep knowledge of issues and the opportunity to build relationships with state elected leaders. That equips Brian to effectively advocate for the specific needs of Mercer Island students.

For all of those reasons, and because his dedication also benefits students in the school district where I serve, I hope you’ll vote to reelect outstanding Mercer Island School Board Director Brian Giannini Upton.

Dan Hansen, West Valley School District Board Director, Spokane

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Re-elect Lisa Anderl

Over the years, Lisa has impressed me with her calm and steady presence on the Mercer Island City Council.

Lisa dives into the issues facing the city, researches them and understands them at a depth that must of us don’t have time, desire or capacity to understand.

I appreciate that Lisa does this work on behalf of Mercer Island residents. It takes untold hours to make informed decisions that do not have unintended consequences.

Lisa has taken a long-term, strategic view to keep Mercer Island a safe and livable city. During Lisa’s tenure she has supported a strong police and fire department to enhance Public Safety, allowing quick emergency responses and strong enforcement of our laws.

As an attorney, Lisa was particularly well suited to understand the Nov 2017 settlement agreement and requested that Sound Transit honor its terms and is working diligently to minimize the impact of a bus turnaround on Mercer Island, including the safety and capacity of North Mercer Way as thousands of commuters shuttle across the main arterial to catch light rail.

Lisa has a deep understanding of the city’s financials. She participated on a volunteer committee, the Citizens Advisory Group (CAG), that was formed by the city to advise it on possible solutions to an impending financial crisis.

Lisa was one of a small group who made a recommendation that positioned the city to not only survive the crisis, but to weather a pandemic and related economic downturn. Without bold steps and her leadership the city would not be in its position of strength today, including the Council’s unanimous support of continuing the city’s contributions to funding school mental health counselors and a more vibrant, livable town center.

Lisa Anderl has earned our respect and votes through her hard work and contributions to our city. She has offered more than promises, she has delivered results. Our city is a better place because of Lisa. Please join me in casting your vote for Lisa Anderl.

Sarah Smith, Mercer Island


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