Community weighs in on the election | Letter to the editor

Birney: a true community builder

I first met Angela Birney in 2013, when we were both newer members of the city’s parks and trails commission. All of us were motivated by her immediate dedication and desire to ensure that Redmond was filled with great spaces and places for congregation and recreation, and we elected her to a commission leadership role in less than a year’s time. It was an honor to serve with her, and I was thrilled when she won election to the city council even though I knew I would miss her spirit immensely in our parks and trails meetings.

I saw how hard Angela worked to make sure she was ready to take on her responsibilities as a councilmember — not only in understanding the technical issues of city governance but in making sure her positions were guided by the views and needs of Redmond’s citizens. She’s a true community builder, whether working in one of her official capacities on the council or as the chairperson of Hopelink’s board of directors or just as a friend who wants to help connect you with like-minded people or opportunities that might be of interest. Angela does these things out of a genuine caring nature, and we would be lucky to have someone like that guiding our city as its mayor.

Even if I’d never met Angela, I would be voting for her in the mayoral election based solely on her vision for Redmond’s future and how we will preserve Redmond’s environmental quality, keep the city livable and affordable for more than the wealthiest members of society, provide transit solutions that mitigate traffic congestion, and ensure clarity and accountability in the city’s financial decisions.

But because I know her, I can say definitively that as mayor, Angela will lead not by trying to solve these issues on her own but instead by bringing together city officials, staff, and Redmond residents to deliver results that serve our community holistically.

Please join me this season in casting a positive vote for Redmond’s future by electing Angela Birney as mayor.

Aaron Knopf

Redmond

Why I am voting for Steve Fields

I have met Angela Birney a couple of times and she seems like a nice person, says nice things and is a good force on the council.

I haven’t heard or seen a statement from Angela suggesting there have been some questionable planning choices made by the current administration.

Steve Fields has made statements that indicate he has a grasp on some of the mistakes that have led to massive congestion and existing residents’ projects being ignored.

In my opinion Steve Fields is for development but in a controlled manner.

Here is an example that Steve Fields gets is: why are all the new apartments building built without any setback?

We have thousands of additional people living in the same space with the same road surface.

Aside from the additional traffic from the new residents, there is no way for Uber, Lyft, Amazon, the post office, maintenance workers, pizza deliveries to park and deliver the goods.

This single decision causes traffic congestion.

Why didn’t the city ask the developers to provide a space for deliveries to by setting back from the building?

Traffic wouldn’t have been degraded.

In addition, when developers can build right to the street, during development the street gets blocked off, sidewalks closed. Everyone inconvenienced. The development by QFC has had the street blocked off for two years.

They could build one story higher if they squawk about not how horrible the city is to build in.

Steve Fields gets that existing residents should be considered.

Steve Fields will be our advocate.

I am not sure Angela gets it or will be existing residents advocates.

Brent Schmaltz

Redmond

Executive experience counts

After watching the recent mayor candidate forum it’s become crystal clear that Mr. Fields is the best candidate to be the next mayor of the city of Redmond. The mayor/CEO of a city of more than 65,000 constituents, 600 city employees and a budget of more than $800 million must have extensive business and leadership experience.

Based on Ms. Birney’s response to a question of needing past experience managing staff and budgets, she essentially said that the management of the city is handled by the chief operating officer while she believes the mayor’s job is to shape and direct the city’s vision and to meet with people. I would expect someone whose most significant experience merely comes from volunteerism and community service would honestly and naively believe that a mayor’s role doesn’t require a CEO like experience base.

However that naivety is part of the problem and would continue to jeopardize the future of the city. Her experience as a volunteer, as a community service person and as a city council member makes her good for her current council job and realistically for that job only at this time. Maybe her time can come when she has more executive leadership experience.

Redmond is at a significant crossroads and has serious problems to deal with — significant traffic/infrastructure issues, a dangerous senior center, crime escalation, $42 million wasted on a greenbelt (being called a park), housing affordability, to mention just a few.

Redmond needs a more strategic vision of the future and it needs an executive-minded and experienced leader who can handle these serious problems and many more. Between the two candidates, Mr. Fields truly has what it takes.

City of Redmond, please don’t vote for the “same as it ever was,” vote for a voice of reason with extensive experience. Please vote for Mr. Steve Fields.

Tony Martin

Redmond

Vote for Fields

What characteristics should we be looking for in our next mayor? Redmond is unique on the Eastside for having a strong mayor, with no city manager. Therefore, our mayor must be well versed in business and employee issues. With an organization of nearly 800 employees, across 12 departments, our city government is a significant-sized enterprise and should require someone with a strong background in business management and employee relations.

On Oct. 3, I attended the mayoral candidate forum sponsored by the Education Hill Neighborhood Association and was surprised to hear Ms. Birney say, she didn’t feel that business experience is necessary to do the job. She also stated, that the mayor’s role is changing and she sees the role of the mayor to be a visionary and face of Redmond. The day-to-day operations will be performed and managed by the COO (i.e., who was recently hired at a significant pay increase from the mayor). She did not mention in her vision that she would be willing to reduce her salary.

Ms. Birney’s continued support of the status quo does not reflect that of a visionary.

It’s not enough to declare a vision for Redmond, the next mayor must also have the financial and managerial expertise to protect Redmond’s valuable assets (i.e., the senior center and the pool). Collaboration with all members of the city council, plus valuing dissent and the ability to think independently are critical to the success of our city.

For these reasons,, I hope you will join with me and support the election of Steve Fields for mayor of Redmond.

Karen Tennyson

Redmond

Khan brings a welcoming voice

Varisha Khan represents our present and future.

Varisha lived on Education Hill, attended Horace Mann Elementary, and graduated from the University of Washington with a bachelor of arts in political science and communication.

Her passion for community and efforts to earn votes is clear — with more than 4,000 homes visited so far and more than 200 people contributing to the campaign.

Varisha brings so much of the expertise, power and representation that we see in younger people.

What I’ve come to love about Varisha is her energy and authenticity — she emanates a realness so many of us have come to admire and value. Varisha brings a welcoming voice to council that will bring new representation to council that will allow all of us to better come together to accomplish the greater good for our community.

Hearing the stories she is already able to tell about the impact her campaign has had on under-represented youth and communities is inspiring. Varisha had me tearing up as she spoke about a 16 year-old sharing that she wanted to run for office too because Varisha looked just like her.

Varisha brings a lived experience nobody else on council can bring. Be sure to vote for Varisha and encourage friends, family, and neighbors to do the same. As we all know, the decision whether or not to vote makes a difference. I encourage all of us to use the power we have to elect Varisha Khan as our next Redmond city councilmember.

Stay excellent, Redmond!

Shawn Roland

Redmond

Khan, a fresh, independent voice for council

Varisha Khan is an exciting candidate, and someone we need on city council. She brings a progressive agenda and a voice for true inclusion, and will be an independent member in our city leadership. She is a Horace Mann alumnus who has moved back home to Redmond to make a difference. She is also a resident of our newly developing Marymoor residential community and brings a needed perspective from this vital, growing neighborhood.

Varisha is a University of Washington graduate with a double major in journalism and political science. She has been involved in a number of nonprofit organizations, and her emphasis has been on making both journalism and politics more representative and more inclusive. One of the reasons we want to see her in city leadership is that she embodies these ideals in her activities and in her goals for city leadership, and will also bring a collaborative work ethic to the council.

In a time where politics are divisive, even at our local level, she’s actively reaching out to all current and potential city leadership candidates to build working relationships to help the city reach its potential.

Her campaign is supported by a diverse group of organizations, including Planned Parenthood, King County, 45th and 48th District Democrats, One America Votes, Women’s Political Caucus, Young Democrats of King County, Women in Color in Politics, and Alliance for Gun Responsibility. She has endorsements from First Congressional District Rep. Suzan DelBene, 48th Legislative District Sen. Patty Kuderer and Rep. Vandana Slatter, as well as numerous citizens who represent all walks of life and all generations.

We respect her passion for a just, forward-thinking Redmond and for city leadership that believes in full equality and inclusion. We firmly believe Redmond needs Varisha on city council.

Phil Miller and Scott Biethan

Former Redmond planning commissioner and planning commission chair

Re-elect Hank Myers

I seldom endorse or vote for incumbents but here is an exception: Redmond needs to keep Hank Meyers on the Redmond City Council. Redmond is a great city and needs to stay that way. Do not let Seattle style politics creep to the Eastside!

I’m an independent voter, and a former 48th District legislative candidate. In this day of increasingly polarizing partisan politics, it’s very important to retain a truly independent voice. I’ve known Hank Myers for several years. He’s worked hard for the residents and businesses of Redmond, serving on human service agency boards and receiving area recognition for his collaborative work. The Redmond City Council is nominally non-partisan, but in this election partisan politics is raising its ugly head.

A check of Varisha Khan’s fundraising shows that nearly 10 percent of her funding comes directly from the Democratic Party and affiliated groups. She is the single largest donor to her campaign, and she and her immediate family donated 15 percent of her funds. Nine percent of her funding is from out of state, and 16 percent from Seattle. Less than 20 percent of her revenue comes from the contiguous Eastside cities of Redmond, Kirkland and Bellevue.

Hank, on the other hand, has not sought political endorsement or funding. All his funds come from local residents and businesses that have built Redmond. For 12 years Hank has been the independent voice on the council. His wise counsel has saved taxpayers money and maximized the benefit to all residents.

I know Hank Myers represents the interests of tax payers, not partisan groups and individuals, most of whom do not call Redmond home. Re-elect your true representative, Hank Myers.

Michelle Darnell

Kirkland

Margeson provides excellent leadership

I am supporting Dayle “Hank” Margeson for re-election to city council Pos. 3 and I encourage you to vote for him as well.

Several words come to mind when talking about Hank and the wonderful community we live in. Dedication, honesty, caring and humor. It’s evident by Hank’s commitment to our city, demonstrating his tireless hours of service to do what’s right for the folks of Redmond. His honesty and thoughtful responses are clear when asked tough questions. His caring attitude for the livability of our area and his approachable style with humility and humor is a genuine trait.

I believe Hank Margeson can continue to provide excellent council leadership for a greater Redmond today and tomorrow.

Chris Lynd

Redmond

Margeson wants the best for Redmond

Hank Margeson has the knowledge and the leadership skills to continue to guide Redmond’s future.

He understands the ins and outs of the complex issues facing our city. He is that rare local statesman who sincerely wants only the best for Redmond. The Seattle Times endorsed him, as have many other people like me who have known and worked with Hank in the community for many years.

Please cast your vote for Hank on Nov. 5.

Peter McDonald

Redmond

Wilkins will act on bullying in schools

Susan Wilkins doesn’t have the money to put signs all over the place but she does have the willingness to act on the bullying issue.

Not long ago the Redmond Reporter (Reporter, Sept. 20) ran a heartbreaking story about a little girl whose parents had to pull her out of school after LWSD ignored months of bullying complaints. The incumbents allowed that situation to develop and continue, so I emailed challenger Susan Wilkins to see if she was open to pushing for reforms.

Her reply was a model of responsiveness. She herself has had mixed results, mostly bad, trying to get LWSD to resolve bullying situations where her own children were attacked.

I have permission to quote from her reply:

“I reviewed the district’s bullying policy and found it to be vague, difficult to use and likely not to provide relief for students being bullied. Nothing has changed in the past decade.

You are correct in stating that making changes will not be easy. I recognize that our sitting board likes to brag about the district and gets angry with those who point out the shortcomings.

If I am elected, I will make it my mission to rewrite the district’s defective and inadequate bullying policy that has caused so much damage to children and families.”

I’ve already filled in the circle for Susan Wilkins on my ballot.

Frederick Wamsley

Redmond

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