Sounding off on last issues’s city council letter | Letter

Phil Miller (Redmond Planning Commission) recently questioned why people without civic experience run for city council. His letter underscores key several issues facing Redmond voters.

First, why are we suddenly seeing so much interest in council races? The trend began three years ago with two levy increase proposals. The council was told victory was a lock. The council even reduced the cost by nearly half. Contrary to conventional political wisdom, Redmond voters soundly rejected both proposals. This year, for the first time in memory, all council positions on the ballot are contested. Each position has a “City Hall” candidate (Byron Schutz, Tanika Padhye and Roy Captain) and one or more “outside” candidates. Neither political party in the districts covering Redmond endorsed a City Hall candidate, another first. Anyone who thinks the levy elections and the current contests are flukes is missing the big picture.

Second, why do people without civic experience run? To get on a board or commission, you must be appointed by the mayor. With more than 30 years of government affairs and transportation experience, I applied four times and was rejected each time. If you represent an independent or contrary philosophy, it is unlikely you will be appointed to a board or commission. If I wanted to be involved in my community, I would have to get elected. David Carson, one of the most engaged and dedicated council members I know, was an outsider when he ran. John Marchione also ran for city council without having been appointed to a board or commission.

The most disappointing part of Mr. Miller’s letter was asserting reasons why all of Jason Antonelli’s ideas won’t work. The attitude is, “You have a new idea, I have complex reasons it won’t work.” In my experience, when the word “complex” is used as an explanation, it means, “you can’t possibly understand the issues, and even if you could, there isn’t much that can be done.” If you don’t like the current situation, accept it or move.

Why do people without experience run for office? Because they are told to stay out of the process. Told not to engage on boards if they aren’t an insider. Told to support tax increases and to trust that government will spend it well. As problems get more obvious and taxes increase, is it any wonder people have decided that the same old routine isn’t working for Redmond?

Hank Myers

Redmond City Council member