More 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.

Ted Weinberg for City Council

Early in the campaign, Ted said that, if he were looking for an ideal candidate, he would look for someone who listens well, does the homework, understands land use regulations, analyzes objectively, and is dedicated to what’s best for Mercer Island. In my experience, he’s all of that and more!

I serve with Ted on the Planning Commission, where he can be counted upon for his good cheer, respect, and hard work. He scours the world for new ideas – literally. When he traveled with the Sister Cities Association to Thonon-les-Bains, France, he came back and shared his analysis of the similarities and differences between Thenon-les Bains and Mercer Island, based upon an interview with their staff, with ideas for our consideration! That’s Ted!

Ted volunteered to serve on the Commission to gain experience with land use regulations and the Comprehensive Plan. Ted works as the portfolio manager for the City of Seattle IT department. This background in local government, both as an employee and a volunteer, will help Ted to hit the ground running.

Ted has knocked on thousands of doors and spoken with voters to hear what we care about. Ted supports full funding and local control of police and fire departments, reliable funding for school-based counselors, action to protect the climate, protection and expansion of parks, and a revitalized Town Center. He will work to strengthen partnerships with other government agencies to support schools and address homelessness.

Ted believes that we can accomplish our goals while remaining kind to each other.

Ted has found the campaign exhilarating and thought-provoking. He is more committed than ever to give back to his neighbors by serving as your City Council Member.

Learn more at Ted’s website, where you will find an extensive list of endorsements, including the entire School Board and the MI Fire Fighters Association.

I hope that you will join me in voting for Ted!

Carolyn Boatsman, Mercer Island

Pick candidates who will best represent our entire community

Recently a friend visited from Philadelphia. He lives in a suburb on the Main Line, one of the most coveted in our country. We rode bikes, explored parks and walked around the island. At one point he said, “In this community you have an amazing quality of life.” I was stunned having spent the last while under siege by a small group of people who think it their domain to malign members of our community that disagree with them, and realized he is right despite that fog.

Over the last generation our democracy has eroded as special interests and idealogue divisions make it impossible to come together for our collective wellbeing. We fight as though this were a civil war, some arguing it is. Democracy is made up of many different voices that hammer out policy together, ideally meeting all our needs. To do this work we need people willing to dedicate their precious time to represent ALL.

There are three seats on council up and we will decide who occupies them. We need to elect people who will represent our entire community in good faith, not a small group of individuals with a specific agenda. As an island positioned between two booming cities in one of the fastest growing regions in this country, we face enormous complex pressures both internally and externally. We need a Council dedicated to good and civil governance, that can work together without acrimony, treats hardworking staff with respect and takes comments from the entire citizenry under advisement as they make often difficult, but courageous decisions.

As you consider who to vote for, I urge you to pick the candidates you feel will best represent our entire community. Most of all VOTE.

Lucia Pirzio-Biroli, Mercer Island

Adam Ragheb says thank you

With the November 2021 General Election approaching and ballots already arriving in mailboxes, I would like to give a belated thank you to everyone who voted for me or considered doing so in the primary. Since the primary, I have followed all of the Mercer Island races closely in order to be a better-informed voter. As regards the Position 6 City Council race, it is my belief that both candidates are dedicated, hard-working persons that will work hard to support both our parks and MIYFS. I endorsed Councilwoman Anderl shortly after the primary election and I stand by that endorsement – I like her clear messaging on public safety and housing and I appreciate that off-island interest groups and elected officials that do not live in our city are not present on her list of endorsements. My wife, son, and I are happy to be a part of this small and wonderfully unique community!

Adam Ragheb, Mercer Island

Kate Akyuz for council

Kate Akyuz will be an incredibly effective and refreshing addition to the Mercer Island City Council. I’ve had the privilege of getting to know her over the past few years, and I am convinced that Kate has the right values, vision, and temperament to help guide our wonderful community to a better future.

Kate is a natural-born leader who approaches all issues with objectivity and balance. Setting aside preconceived notions and biases, she doggedly seeks out and listens to all perspectives and opinions. Kate will bring a more collegial, collaborative, and compassionate approach to our City Council, and her decades of relevant experience in environmental science and project management will serve her well as she serves Mercer Island.

Perhaps most importantly, Kate is just a really kind-hearted person with a wonderful sense of humor. She is quick to flash her warm smile and make everyone around her feel just a bit better. We need more of that.

Jordan Friedman, Planning Commissioner, City of Mercer Island

Lisa Anderl deserves your vote

For three years Lisa has worked tirelessly and effectively to keep MI a great place to live, thoroughly researching the issues, reaching informed decisions that strive to preserve the quality of life on our island.

Lisa advocates for measures that contribute to public safety. She supports strong police and fire departments, city contributions to funding school counselors, and the protection of clean, accessible parks and open spaces.

As an attorney, Lisa is well-suited for the battle against Sound Transit’s bus intercept proposal. She supports the lawsuit requiring ST to honor the settlement agreement, in order to minimize traffic to MI and the impact of the bus turnaround.

Lisa has demonstrated a thorough understanding of the city’s finances. She volunteered on the Citizens Advisory Group committee, formed to find solutions to the impending financial shortfall. She contributed significantly to a recommendation that helped the city survive the financial crisis, and later to deal successfully with the economic downturn due to the pandemic.

Lisa promises to continue to cooperate with our City Manager and Staff, finding more efficient ways to run the city and maintain a balanced budget.

Doorbelling with Lisa, I was impressed with the way she connected with the people we met. She listens attentively and respectfully to their opinions. As she says on her website, she relies on facts and data in making decisions and is open to changing her mind if a better outcome or approach is presented.

Lisa isn’t pushing a broad political agenda, and she is not using her council position as a stepping stone for a more regional political career. Instead, she focuses on how to make life on MI better for the residents.

Vote for Lisa to keep Mercer Island a safe, vibrant and livable city!

Morrene Jacobson, Mercer Island

Let’s reelect Lisa Anderl

I am writing in support of Mercer Island and the reelection of our City Councilwoman Lisa Anderl.

Lisa protects our and our children’s safety as well as the specialness of Mercer Island. She is steadfast in her commitment to safe and clean public spaces, especially for our children. Her policy is to both prevent encampments on public land and to see that those in distress are compassionately provided the services they need.

A further demonstration of Lisa’s commitment to our children is her votes, support and advocacy of mental health counselors for our children.

Lisa additionally prioritizes and advocates for the needs of our Island when some in the region do not have the best interests of our Island in their minds.

Lastly and to some most importantly, she is well-prepared, knowledgeable and budget savvy. Lisa is part of a group on the city council that is committed to providing high-quality service efficiently.

Let’s reelect Lisa Anderl.

Darren Gold, Mercer Island

Importance of retaining Salim Nice and Lisa Anderl on City Council

I think we are faced with challenges that require a balanced City Council with members that have both the aptitude and desire to make a difference.

Both Salim Nice and Lisa Anderl have shown aptitude and desire especially with respect to our Town Center. They have been willing to put in the time to understand retail challenges and possible solutions. They understand the importance of a healthy retail tax base and how it gives us a healthy balance sheet to protect residents on fixed and minimal incomes from excessive property taxes. They understand the importance of a vibrant retail core to provide for resident needs and lowering our contribution to Greenhouse Gases.

On Council, Salim has personally spearheaded the creation of a Parking Management Program to allow shoppers, commuters, retail employees and TC residents to all share our scarce public parking. Without Salim on Council, this program will not happen.

Salim is the sole council member that is a Mercer Island native, growing up here, attending school here, building a family here and now helping to lead here. This gives him a perspective needed on the Council.

Lisa spends more time in Town Center talking to retail owners than all other Council Members combined. When addressing a problem she lays out resident concerns, pro and con, so everyone is aware of differing viewpoints and takes them into account for a lasting solution. I have seen no other Council Member do this to bring residents together instead of divide them.

Being on Council requires aptitude to understand issues in depth no matter the category, business, parks, schools, arts… It also requires elbow grease, the willingness to put in the hours to make a difference. Both Salim and Lisa are known for doing the job and putting our community first even when our interests run in conflict with outside groups.

I believe Salim Nice and Lisa Anderl have shown themselves to be great community stewards earning them a seat at the table to represent us. They add a moderate/conservative balance to the Council while at the same time show the ability to reach across the table to move our community forward.

Jim Eanes, Mercer Island

Civility in Mercer Island elections

Where have gone civility, honesty and decency in our Island city council elections? Over the last few years, we have steadily descended into tribalism where opponent becomes enemy, criticism becomes slander, claims and positions give way ti fear-mongering lies.

The indecent attacks on Kate Aykuz by supporters of Lisa Anderl are case in point: They imply she is a socialist; that she wants homeless encampments in our parks and parking lots; that she seeks to de-fund the police; that she is a subversive tool of the Seattle City Council. I would hope Lisa would disavow such politicking and show her decency and neighborliness.

City council electioneering has become a disgrace to our Island culture and community; it’s time to restore mutual respect and civility in our public square.

Fletch Waller, Mercer Island

Councilmember Nice has earned my respect and my vote

As a passionate parks’ user and advocate, and as a dedicated shopper at the Thrift Shop, I initially thought that Councilmember Nice’s plan to use the former Recycling Center for Thrift Shop use would be a good one. Councilmember Nice proposed this as a way for the Thrift Shop to expand Thrift Shop sales and increase revenue, which is used for Island priorities, such as funding school counselors.

Councilmember Nice and his colleague Councilmember Jacobson invested countless hours analyzing budgets and creating spreadsheets that the public could understand to obtain support for this proposal from the community and from other Councilmembers.

As time went on, the project outgrew the footprint of the Recycling Center, and morphed into a plan for an additional building on the site, which I opposed. At that point, I was delighted that Councilmember Nice responded to community input and voted to terminate the plan he had been instrumental in creating.

It’s rare for a public official to come up with a creative solution to a problem, tackle the spreadsheets, wrangle the details, gain the support of his fellow councilmembers, take it to the community, follow through, and then be willing to respond to changing conditions and listen to the citizens who he represents.

It takes openness, humility, and courage, to admit when a plan in which you have invested creativity, time and energy is not the best pathway forward. Councilmember Nice proved he is up to it.

Islanders need Councilmembers who come up with solutions, invest time and brainpower in their planning, and then be flexible enough to pivot to another idea if warranted.

Let’s re-elect a Councilmember with a proven record of dedicated community service: Councilmember Salim Nice.

Meg Lippert, Mercer Island

Daniel Becker has my vote

Daniel Becker is my neighbor. We walk our dogs and we talk. He has many positions I strongly endorse: keeping our Fire Department local and supporting our law enforcement services; his promise to create and implement a Climate Action Plan; his support for Mercer Island Youth & Family Services and our wonderful parks and his ideas to re-envision our Town Center

For 28 years I was the Executive Director of Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce. I have a lot of history with the Town Center. Most of what is there now has been in place for 20 years. The first multi-story buildings brought controversy, retail, restaurants and a new vibrancy to the town center. That was then. This is now. It’s time to do more. Daniel’s position on the Town Center is to “imagine a place less utilitarian and more pleasant to walk around; a way better ratio of restaurants and retail; perhaps even a bustling central plaza surrounded by shops. All while recognizing that most people will still be driving there and we don’t want to be anything like Seattle or Bellevue.”

The last official “Town Center Vision” was done in 2016. We were anticipating light rail. Light rail is about to arrive. It’s past time to take another look at what we want in our town center. We owe it to our residents and to the many business owners who have invested and supported our community to renew our focus on the Town Center. It won’t be easy. As we know, there are challenges but with fresh ideas and leadership from people like Daniel Becker it can be done

It’s time to take a new approach to the many challenges the Island faces now and going forward. Daniel Becker is someone who will do that.

Terry Moreman, Mercer Island

Why I support Ted Weinberg

As we debate the multitude of citizen concerns this election season, one question keeps emerging: Which candidates have the experience to lead, the ability to truly listen to all sides, and the tenacity to find solutions that better our island? To me that answer is clear and that’s why I support Ted Weinberg for City Council.

Ted will bring more than 30 years of leadership to the Council. Through his service as a Mercer Island Planning Commissioner, he has built deep knowledge about our community, having worked on the City’s Comprehensive Plan, Shoreline Management Plan, Critical Areas Ordinance, and dozens of other planning topics over the past four years. Additionally, his positions at Microsoft, Avanade and the City of Seattle have given him a wealth of knowledge and perspective from both the private and public sectors that will be critical as we face complex issues.

For more than 6 months, Ted has been walking every MI neighborhood and listening to us residents. He is committed to maintaining the City services we all appreciate, to finding long term solutions, and to collaborating with neighboring cities and communities to address regional issues, from growth management to homelessness, because those affect the livability of this community.

We are fortunate that Ted has stepped forward to serve the MI community and I hope you will join me in supporting him in the November election.

Leslie Meagley, Mercer Island

Ted Weinberg for council

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