Here is an analysis of the political forum put on by Indivisible Marysville, a grassroots progressive organization, at the Red Curtain Center Tuesday night. Beckeye Randall was emcee.
First up is Marysville City Council. The top two in the Aug. 6 primary advance to November’s general election. The other race is for Marysville mayor, where both candidates advance.
In general it was a lovefest for what the city already is doing. There weren’t a lot of new ideas – mostly support for what Mayor Jon Nehring and the council already are doing. This column will try to point out the few differences.
I had no idea who I was going to vote for going into the event. I actually was pulling for Noah Rui to add some youth and diversity to the council.
•Todd Fahlman was the big winner. He brought up more new ideas than any other council candidate. It was mentioned he is a salesman, but part of being an effective leader is being able to sell your ideas to others. He definitely led the discussion and the others followed his lead. Examples were adding another embedded social worker and listening to constituents.
When schools were brought up, he mentioned getting parents involved early on and keeping them involved all through school instead of just “throwing money” at the issue. When a hospital was mentioned, he said if people get behind it maybe new construction monies could help pay for it. He supports better zoning for more affordable housing.
•Kelly Richards was a strong speaker. He is on the planning commission. He believes in making decisions that are the best for the most people.
•Gary Kemp was a better speaker than he said he was. He has the support of labor. He supports the responsible bidder on projects, not just the low bidder.
•Rui just is not ready. He needs to learn more about the city. He is active on the mayor’s diversity committee.
•Jeff Seibert was a no show. And he didn’t return the questionnaire we sent him. I have a hard time believing the former councilman is a serious candidate this time.
•Jon Nehring is one of the best city leaders I’ve come across in my 35 years in journalism. He’s accomplished so much. He listens and is forward thinking. He’s also moral and humble, which makes him a perfect politician in my eyes. As long as he stays that way, he deserves to keep the job.
He pointed out that crime is down and the success of the embedded social worker program. He talked about how downtown and Smokey Point have been cleaned up. He mentioned success in getting money for interchanges at I-5 that will reduce gridlock in the future. When a hospital was brought up, he said that would cause an increase in property taxes, which most people don’t support. He didn’t answer Fahlman’s comment about the First Street Bypass just changing where gridlock will occur. And he wasn’t challenged at all about how fast growth as occurred in town without traffic mitigation. He mentioned the success of the Cascade Industrial Center, but wasn’t challenged on how long it’s taking to get the waterfront developed.
•Michael Patrick was a pleasant surprise. He had some interesting ideas. He said Marysville is the biggest city in the state that doesn’t have its own hospital. With growth the way it’s projected, Providence Everett will be at 92 percent capacity. He mentioned studying if Marysville residents vote that they want a hospital, maybe they could help improve the one in Arlington, rather than build their own.
He is in management at Boeing and said Marysville “is a sweetheart situation for them,” with the Cascade Industrial Center so close by.
Some in the audience, and among the candidates, are concerned that Marysville is not a small town anymore. That ship has sailed. But Patrick said it can “bake a new pie” by supporting “ma and pa” businesses along State Street “to keep that small-town feel.” He asked if businesses can get breaks to locate at CIC and the waterfront, why not on State?
He said while he supports the embedded social worker the city’s just “treading water.” He said police need to go harder after drug dealers. The public, especially families, needs better education on not giving money to drug users and panhandlers. And people need to be more aware of not purchasing stolen merchandise. Drugs will go away if the money isn’t there, he said.
I think they all are off. Instead of trying to fix people already addicted to drugs, we need to stop the problem before it starts. We need better education and social worker help in schools to make sure kids never start. The Marysville School District can’t seem to do it on its own, so maybe it needs pressure and help from the City Council to make it happen. They are separate entities, as it was mentioned several times, but that doesn’t mean they can’t work together on a huge local problem.
There was quite a bit of discussion about the poor reputation of Marysville schools, and how people are moving to areas where their kids can go to Lake Stevens and Lakewood. A tip for all the candidates. Please don’t pass around false information. In that setting, the audience is expecting truths. I’m not going to point out anyone but more than one false fact was stated. If you’re not sure of something, don’t say it. Or, if you heard something but didn’t check it out, please let the audience know beforehand. There are already too many false facts being spread around nowadays.