Fair question: Why do first-time candidates run for city council? | Letter

It’s always gratifying to see contested races for city council. New faces abound, which is great. When this happens, it’s fair to ask why these people run. In Jason Antonelli’s case in Redmond, it appears to be all about Jason.

I’m always curious when first-time candidates (especially those without any civic experience) claim that they “will solve our traffic problems.” It’s one thing to point at traffic, but quite another to solve it. Hate to say it, but such promises remind me of “the beautiful health care” we were supposed to have by now. Who knew solving congestion could be so difficult?

From his campaign materials and live comments, it seems Jason’s candidacy is in large measure about shortening his 15-minute car commute from Education Hill to north Overlake. True, not many of us are blessed with a 15-minute commute, but remember — this is all about Jason.

Most trips taken during a day are actually not commute trips, but Jason has a different read…he has called out two types of projects that he would eliminate to make, at best, marginal gains in his already abbreviated commute.

Safety projects? Not relevant! Safety means slowing down in neighborhoods and we can’t have that, can we?

Trail projects? Doesn’t help Jason, so no to that — even if the project is intended to prevent collisions and save lives! I guess that’s just not as important as getting to work a minute or two faster.

Big highway capacity projects cost a fortune and their benefits don’t last long. Antonelli is right that separating the (very well-used) 520 trail from a freeway intersection at Northeast 40th costs money — but that’s money intended to save lives rather than move mostly empty cars.

Honestly, it’s fine to frame issues based on how they affect you, but when you run for office, there might just be a smidgen of responsibility to represent those of us who don’t look, live or even commute the same way you do. That’s what I expect from a council member, but Jason just isn’t ready to go there yet, and so I’m not willing to go with Jason.

There are better, more representative candidates than Jason Antonelli — I encourage you to choose one of them.

Phil Miller