Michael D. Curry and Ted Weinberg. Courtesy photos

Michael D. Curry and Ted Weinberg. Courtesy photos

Curry versus Weinberg: City Council Position No. 4

  • Monday, October 18, 2021 8:30am
  • News

Michael D. Curry

* Why are you running for Mercer Island City Council?

Running for city council is a call to action for me. I’ve had three others in my life. Military, youth coach and professional coach. One of my priorities is maintaining the quality of life that brings great people to the Island in the first place. Also, I will work to regain the trust between the citizens of Mercer Island and the council. We must work together to move forward. I’ve accepted no off-island endorsements or donations. My focus is Mercer Island and the great people on it.

* What do you feel are three of the most critical issues on Mercer Island and how do you hope to address them?

Public Safety — When emergencies occur, time is critical. Having and taking care of our first response teams will ensure that Mercer Islanders receive the care and protection needed to quickly save lives and protect property.

Parks — Ensuring our parks stay healthy and vibrant for Mercer Islanders of all ages to enjoy and make great memories. This would include proposing suspending the use of glyphosate until such time that studies conclude that there is no public health, wildlife or impacts to salmon runs due to runoff. When elected, I will work with the council to review this for future consideration.

Retail — Supporting and advocating for a strong retail business base on Mercer Island creates a vibrant, diverse community, keeps Islanders on Mercer Island, and boosts revenues. Once elected to the city council, I will be focused on working with local businesses and the Chamber of Commerce to create new retail opportunities that enhance the character of Mercer Island.

* What’s your life philosophy and how can you apply that to council matters?

My philosophy is stay humble, laugh often, practice humility. As your councilmember, I’ll listen more than I talk, appreciate all points of view, and always try my best to hear the quietest of voices.

* The last 18 months during the pandemic have been tough on everyone, and it continues to be that way. What will you do in your role as a councilmember to support the community and strengthen the city?

As a newly elected councilmember, I will lead with empathy and compassion. I will work with my fellow councilmembers, the city manager, and fellow Islanders to identify ways we can continue to come together as an Island but stay within guidelines.

* What’s special about Mercer Island, and what are some improvements you feel could be made?

The people make Mercer Island special. Different backgrounds, cultures, ethnicity, the list goes on. I am committed to protecting our unique Island from outside influence or interests. I also commit to working with the council to represent and act upon the most pressing issues for Mercer Islanders. Issues such as public encampment and regional assistance, protecting parks and green space, school counselor funding, and working with the Mercer Island Police Department and first response teams to ensure public safety are critical.

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Ted Weinberg

* Why are you running for Mercer Island City Council?

I’ve been an Islander for 40 years, and I love my hometown. I love Mercer Island’s intelligent, dedicated, and compassionate people. I love our beautiful and safe neighborhoods and parks. I love our top-notch schools, of which I am a graduate, as are both of my adult children. When my youngest child entered college four years ago, I had extra time and decided I wanted to do more to give back to the community. That’s when I chose to join the planning commission.

During my four years on the planning commission, I’ve concentrated on honing my listening skills. Every community member who comes before us has a unique perspective that contributes to the overall picture for the topic at hand. And it’s only with that full picture that we, as a commission, can work collaboratively with city staff to draft legislation that works for everyone on the island.

I am the only candidate for seat 4 who has direct municipal government experience. This experience means I will be a more effective councilmember and will be better able to serve the residents of Mercer Island.

I will work hard to maintain and rebuild the core services which support our quality of life: public safety (fire and police), public works, youth and family services, and parks and recreation. I will also leverage my strong relationships with other governmental agencies both on and off the island to ensure Islanders’ interests are protected on matters that affect all of us.

* What do you feel are three of the most critical issues on Mercer Island and how do you hope to address them?

1. We need to restore and maintain our city’s core services: fire, police, public works, parks and recreation, youth and family services, permitting, and administration.

2. We need to maintain and expand our community’s parks and open spaces.

3. We need to develop an inspiring and multi-faceted plan for revitalizing Town Center.

* What’s your life philosophy and how can you apply that to council matters?

Over the years I have read dozens of books on leadership including biographies of all the U.S. presidents and many corporate and social leaders. With each book I look for anecdotes that show what strategies have succeeded or failed and in what contexts. In biographies, I look for what decisions that individual made during his or her lifetime that led to permanent positive change.

I would summarize my leadership philosophy as follows:

I listen carefully to everyone and research topics thoroughly to gather the knowledge needed to decide what direction to go.

I then provide a compelling vision for the future; something that inspires my friends and co-workers to help create something together that we can all be proud of for years to come.

I then pursue that vision like a skipper sailing towards a dot on the horizon with a steady hand at the helm.

I also endeavor to manage expectations proactively and embody integrity by saying what I’m going to do, and then doing it.

At all times, keep learning, keep laughing, and keep a healthy work-life balance.

* The last 18 months during the pandemic have been tough on everyone, and it continues to be that way. What will you do in your role as a councilmember to support the community and strengthen the city?

Mercer Islanders have responded to the pandemic of 2020-2021 with strength, resiliency, and a firm belief in science and reasoned action. We were one of the first cities in the state to exceed the 90% mark in vaccinations for those over age 12 and are currently well over 95%.

That said, we have all suffered losses during the pandemic. Ten of our fellow Islanders lost their lives to COVID. Many of us have lost friends or family members. But nearly all of us have lost something less tangible –- that feeling of safety, freedom, and inter-connectedness that makes life on Mercer Island so special. Yes, we’ve adapted –- telecommuting, extended family holiday and birthday gatherings over Zoom, postponed weddings and other life-milestone celebrations. We’re all eager for herd immunity to fade the pandemic into being just-a-flu-like ailment so that most of us can resume or redefine normal life.

The city of Mercer Island does provide services to help those of us who feel ready to reach out for it. Senior services, individual and family counseling, family assistance, food bank, our healthy youth initiative, our youth mental health counselors, and of course our thrift shop. As a city councilmember, I will ensure that these services have a solid, recurring financial foundation and that we do our part to build a better post-pandemic world.

* What’s special about Mercer Island, and what are some improvements you feel could be made?

Mercer Islanders are intelligent, compassionate, and dedicated people. We live in beautiful neighborhoods with parks and open spaces that enable us to breathe, relax, and revive every day. We live in one of the safest communities in the region due to the excellent work of our police and fire departments. We have top-notch schools.

In the coming years, Mercer Islanders will need to tackle several challenging issues.

We need to leverage the arrival of the light rail station and the millions of dollars of development money from Sound Transit to strengthen our local businesses, provide more commuter car and bicycle parking, and develop better last-mile solutions.

We need to encourage, incentivize, and where possible require the transition of heating and transportation systems from fossil fuels to clean energy solutions. Fifty percent reduction in greenhouse gas by 2030 must happen and we need a measurable year-by-year plan to get there.

Finally, we need to make a concerted effort to shift our public dialogue towards kindness, respect, and civility. We need to support professional journalism and transition our civic discourse towards those social media platforms that are moderated enough to keep the conversation civil and productive.


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