With the primary election set for Aug. 6, there are multiple candidates running for Lynnwood City Council positions. To help Lynnwood residents learn more about the candidates, Lynnwood Today sent a questionnaire asking about each one’s vision for the future of the city and how they plan to address issues the city faces.
We will post these as we receive them.
Jim Smith is a former city councilmember and one of six candidates vying for the position 4 seat now held by Councilmember Shirley Sutton, who filed to run against incumbent Shannon Sessions in position 7. Other candidates include Van AuBuchon, Diodato Boucsieguez, Naz Lashgari, Ashkan Amouzegar and James Rutherford.
Q: Why are you running for Lynnwood City Council? What do you hope to accomplish?
Smith: We must represent ALL of the citizens of Lynnwood, not just certain special interest groups. Lynnwood residents deserve to have their voices heard and be represented by leaders that are seasoned in the community as well as sensitive to their issues.
There is no other candidate in this race who has more experience, been more dedicated to their community or has had as many years serving local organizations in so many areas, as myself.
Q: What is your 10-year vision for Lynnwood?
Smith: As I look into the future 10 years from now, I see Lynnwood as a place that residents, businesses and visitors find special with welcoming, courteous people, offering a high quality of life as a place to live, raise children, shop, work, enjoy recreational opportunities and socialize. In 2030, I see Lynnwood as:
- A city that is attentive to, and seeks to provide for, the health, safety and welfare of all its citizens.
- A city with an informed citizenry working with an open, responsive government that seeks out and integrates public input.
- A city with an economic base that provides for the needs of its citizens without raising taxes and provides quality employment opportunities.
- A city that manages its traffic well, and is united by a safe and effective system of streets, sidewalks, and trails.
- A city that is family friendly with clear public priorities, and that efficiently and effectively utilizes its public resources, that actively protects significant open spaces and trees (I love trees!).
Q: What ideas do you have for addressing the city’s homelessness issue?
Smith: When most people think about the homeless, they picture the street people that are standing with signs at intersections and encampments on the side of the road. And that is the most immediate, and critical, group we need to address. The fact is, most of our street people have an addiction problem. For the last eight years I have been closely involved with the homeless at Neighbors in Need here in Lynnwood. I have also been involved and served for Operation Sack Lunch/Only Serving Love (OSL) in downtown Seattle. What I see is a need for less enabling and more enforcement.
It is probably best summed up by Dr. Robert DuPont:
“We’ve got a mismatch between treatment that is short, and the disease that is long. Addiction is one of the most serious, most prevalent, often fatal diseases, and it needs to be managed for a lifetime, like diabetes is managed for a lifetime, like asthma is managed for a lifetime.”
We need viable and readily available treatment programs, long term follow-up, and especially firm enforcement. Simply providing a shelter over someone’s head, giving them daily meals, and clothing, is not helping them out of the addiction trap they have made for themselves. We need more tough love in order to help them and our community.
Q: What experience would you bring to the council and how is it relevant to the position?
Smith: Having lived in Lynnwood for decades and being involved on a local level, there is no one running that comes close to my experience. My past and present community involvement includes:
- Police and Fire Disability Board member
- Neighbors in Need helping the homeless
- Snohomish County Board of Health Chairman
- Angel Flight pilot
- Parks Board Liaison
- Washington Pilots Association State President
- City Council President
- Fire Department Liaison
- Rotary International member and officer
- WSDOT Aviation Advisory Board Member
- Junior Achievement Instructor
- Trinity Lutheran Church longtime member
- Lynnwood Festival Chairman
- Seafair Commodores Officer
- Washington Air Search and Rescue
- Library Board Liaison
- Jaycees State President
- Edmonds Community College Business Management Board
- South County Court Advisory Board
Q: How do you plan to involve residents in the city’s decision-making process?
Smith: Outreach must include personal, one-on-one contact. Hosting open houses is nice but isn’t enough. I have always found that talking to my neighbors, reaching out to people I meet at local stores and elsewhere is the best way to gauge local sentiment and learn a lot about the culture of Lynnwood.
An open house or event might only bring in 20-30 people interested in a particular issue out of nearly 40,000 residents. I will continue to personally reach out to my neighbors, and actively attend community events. It is important to me to make myself accessible to my Lynnwood constituents.
Q: What do you think the city needs to do to address the increased traffic congestion and population growth that will accompany light rail arriving in Lynnwood in 2024?
Smith: History will show that light rail will be the biggest cause of record congestion in Lynnwood. Surrounding communities will benefit greatly from light rail, yet the residents of Lynnwood will pay for it with traffic gridlock. Citizens of Lynnwood are actually double hit. We have skyrocketing car tabs (partially thanks to Lynnwood’s car tab taxes) and will experience doubling of travel time around and through Lynnwood.
Once elected, this should be one of the first items to discuss and how we are going to mitigate it.
Q: What plans do you have for helping to ensure the financial stability of the town?
Smith: Currently, Lynnwood is stable financially. But it hasn’t always been that way. The city administration was not prepared for the 2009 economic downturn. Unfortunately, it was the people of Lynnwood that were penalized with a plethora of new taxes and fees for that administrative oversight.
We need to get our spending under control, build a viable surplus, and not balance the budget by tapping into our “savings accounts”.
Q: Where are your favorite places to spend time in Lynnwood?
Smith: Many of the senior-housing facilities in Lynnwood give me the greatest joy of my week. I am thankful that I have a musical talent to bring joy to these residents. Bringing them musical therapy through singing and guitar warms my heart whenever I see them smile and sing along.
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
Smith: I applaud the many people that have shown interest in this campaign. I hope that they continue to be engaged and work for, as well as learn from, the citizens of Lynnwood.
Q: Where can readers go to learn more about your campaign?