With the primary election set for Aug. 3, multiple people have filed to run for Lynnwood City Council and Mayor.
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 are posting these as we receive them.
Christine Frizzell is currently a Lynnwood City Councilmember who was elected to the Position 1 seat in 2017. Last December, she announced would be seeking the mayor’s job after current Mayor Nicola Smith said she would not be running for a third term. Frizzell is one of three candidates running for mayor and will face fellow Councilmembers Jim Smith and George Hurst in the Aug. 3 primary. The top two candidates will advance to the November general election.
Q: Why are you running for mayor? What do you hope to accomplish?
After almost four years on council, I am more convinced than ever that I am the best person to provide collaborative, future minded and equitable leadership for Lynnwood as we move forward.
I grew up in Lynnwood and have watched it change into what it is today – a city that is incorporating growth in housing and business, expanding diversity and inclusion, providing safety, and striving to remain relevant to all who live here. I attended (city) council meetings and (city) finance meetings for three years before I was elected to council. Those meetings cemented in me the desire to serve our city as an elected official.
What started as an awareness of what a city actually does through the Lynnwood University classes held by the city, led to attending many city meetings and gatherings, which led to volunteering around the city, and ultimately led to running for and being elected to city council. These activities have prepared me to use my broad range talents to lead our city into its next chapter.
I bring my passion for this city, my 40-plus years of finance experience, my leadership skills, my ability to collaborate, and my compassion for everyone who calls Lynnwood home. Change is the only constant that we have, and we must face our change head on. Under my leadership we will examine our finances to ensure we are being the best stewards of the tax dollars we have been granted. I will continue to listen and learn from people of other races, cultures, religions and political leanings. I will work with our small businesses to increase their impact in Lynnwood. I will make changes that support the ideals of inclusion and equity in city hall and throughout our city. I will support our police and fire agencies as they provide safety and emergency services to our community in responsible and equitable ways.
Q: What is your 10-year vision for Lynnwood?
I cannot begin to imagine what our city will look like in 2031. We will be dealing with challenges we have not even thought of today – driverless vehicles, even more dependance on technology and the internet, solar and other green power, delivery drones, more people in smaller spaces, food scarcity, and perhaps another worldwide event or disaster. We must be prepared to meet these needs and we must build the framework now.
The City of Lynnwood employs some of the best and brightest people, and I continue to be amazed at their passion for our city and the wealth of knowledge and expertise they bring.
As mayor, I will continue to empower our employees to grow, learn and cultivate fresh ideas to keep our city growing and providing the best for our community.
Q: In your opinion, what is Lynnwood’s most pressing issue and what are your solutions for resolving the problem?
Our businesses that have weathered COVID-19 need to be heard and have a more visible partnership with the city. Our businesses provide jobs and opportunities for many who live in our community. They provide 40% of our city’s budget in the form of sales tax. In 2019, and again in 2021, I initiated business roundtable discussions. We heard of many challenges — some that need to be addressed by city hall, some to be addressed by our buying public, and some to be addressed by managing our growth.
We need to review and update our business policies to be relevant and reasonable as we look for ways to thrive in a post-COVID marketplace. We need to partner however possible to create opportunities for growth. As we come out of COVID, we need to highlight local businesses and provide unique ways for them to thrive.
Q: What ideas do you have for addressing the city’s homelessness issue?
Homelessness has its roots in many causes. I have worked in homeless outreaches since 1995. Solving homelessness is more than providing a roof over people’s heads. We must partner with social workers, medical and mental health professionals, job trainers and non-profit groups to make a difference in this area.
I have been a board member of the Jean Kim Foundation for Homeless Education since 2015. Before I was elected to council, I brought a proposal for allowing temporary shelters in our city that would house people who wanted to attend college and provide a better path for themselves. It took over a year to get the ordinance created and passed. That shelter site is still going strong and is a model for other non-profit organizations to follow. I want to encourage other agencies and organizations to adopt this model but only if services can be provided. One of the biggest lessons we have learned is that roofs by themselves are not a long-term solution to people who have spent time on the streets.
I am a continuing member of the Jean Kim Foundation, and we have run the Lynnwood Hygiene Center as a facility for our homeless neighbors to get a shower, fresh clothing, a quick meal and clean drinking water. In its first year of operation, we provided for more than 8,000 showers. We have worked closely with nearby businesses, Lynnwood police and our parks department to maintain respect and order as we provide an essential service for more than 700 people.
Q: With the creation of the housing action plan and other blueprint policies, what are your thoughts and ideas for addressing Lynnwood’s need for more diverse housing types?
We face housing concerns – home ownership is out of reach for most, rents are too high for many who work here, and homelessness has affected many in our community. Half the people who live in our city rent their homes. I will push for rental reform that is advantageous both to renters and to landlords. People deserve quality spaces that are safe and clean. Landlords deserve to have their property treated with respect and care.
We need a new mindset about what is possible and not be set on doing it the way it has always been done. We must think beyond the model that created Lynnwood 50 years ago. Our city is not in the building business. It is the city’s job to provide opportunities and pathways for developers, builders, business owners and to bring these new processes to fruition.
Our development services department recently completed the Housing Action Plan. I was energized to establish and co-lead a group of people with hands-on knowledge to add insight and value to the Plan through the council Housing Policy Committee.
As we value our single-family neighborhoods, we must also make room for changes. Where single family homes have stood since the 1950s, we need to allow duplex, triplex and four-plexes. We need to provide space for “missing middle” housing (condos, cottage-style housing, etc.) that does not drastically alter a community’s look and feel. Many of our aging apartment buildings will likely be re-built over the next 20 years. We need more conversations with owners and renters to determine how best to meet their needs in our expanding housing climate.
Another part of our housing process must include affordable housing. People who qualify for Section 8 housing, and other rental assistance, are often frustrated because there is so little affordable housing available to choose from, if any at all. Lynnwood must creatively incentivize owners and builders to provide this essential need in our city.
Q: If elected mayor, what leadership experience would you bring to the council and how would it be relevant to serving as the city’s leader?
My strongest leadership skill is collaboration. I recognize that work done in the mayor’s office is more about team effort than solo action. We must have input from all levels of an organization whether it is a business, non-profit group, or city, county or state government. We must be more inclusive in our meetings and decision-making processes. I have the endorsements of state Reps. John Lovick, Cindy Ryu, Lauren Davis, Sen. Jesse Salomon, Snohomish County Councilmember Stephanie Wright, and the mayors of Everett, Mukilteo and Mountlake Terrace as well as other community and elected representatives. I know how important it is to collaborate with other leaders.
I have chaired many committees and been on multiple boards. Those activities have created an awareness of how important each decision can be.
I have been self-employed for 34 years as an accountant and provided more than just finance expertise with most every client. I work to design systems to incorporate all aspects of their business – inventory management, production costs, manufacturing process, finances, computer tech and more. Systems are vastly important so that each person or business receives the same level of care, attention and customer service. If a system of the city does not serve the needs of all who use it, it will be analyzed and reworked.
Q: How do you plan to involve residents from communities of color and low-income communities in becoming more civically engaged?
We must create opportunities to engage. I know how city staff have worked on creating opportunities for several years and it is not yet at the level we would all like. We must continue to host events that bring people together. We must be reaching people where they are and that is one valuable outcome of Covid as we have been more dependent on technology to connect. The implementation of on-line meetings can be used to include more people to understand and be involved with what happens at the city governance level.
Communication is the key to all change. First, we need to provide messaging in more than English. We must make time to listen to residents and hear what hopes they have for the future, what they want to change. We must be intentional in connecting with people from each community and hearing their stories. I need to hear from communities more than they need to hear me. I will commit to building avenues of understanding and respect.
Q: Why should residents from communities of color and LGBTQ residents vote for you?
A few years ago, our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Commission designed a window cling that states All Are Welcome. I have one on the door of my office and love to hand them out to people. Sadly, I understand that not all people feel that they truly are welcome. Specific groups have been active in making their voices heard but I must ask, who is listening? Am I listening only with my ears? Am I listening enough? Are enough people given enough of a voice and enough of an audience?
Welcoming diversity means we need to find ways that every person and every issue matters. I am committed to building bridges so that people are better able to hear one another. I will be exploring ideas of forums, community food and music events, volunteering opportunities and more that bring all people, including our BIPOC and LGBTQ communities together. Once we truly hear one another, I believe we can work together to make our community more welcoming.
Q: As we continue to hear stories about law enforcement using unnecessary — and deadly — force against many people, particularly people of color, what thoughts do you have on policing for our city that will ensure Lynnwood’s diverse community can feel safe and welcome?
As I have talked with many people in our community, I consistently hear how they appreciate and value our police department. No one and no police department is perfect in every one’s eyes, but in Lynnwood we have a command staff that is constantly looking to improve their department. We have men and women that come to work each day with the purpose of protecting and serving all in our community regardless of skin color.
From our LynnwoodWa.Gov website – “The mission of the Lynnwood Police Department is to provide proactive, competent, effective public safety services to all persons, with the highest regard for human dignity through efficient and professional law enforcement and crime prevention practices.”
Our police department is continually looking for meaningful ways to connect with the people they serve. They implemented a Cops and Clergy program several years ago and I have attended most meetings and found them useful in connecting with other faith communities. There is a Police Chiefs Community Advisory Committee that meets directly with the chief to talk about community issues. They also host Coffee with a Cop that draws many people to have informal conversations with officers and command staff.
I am proud of and will continue to support and value each member of our police department.
Q: Following the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, what plans do you have for helping to ensure the financial stability of our town?
In Lynnwood, we have a finance model called Budgeting for Outcomes (BFO). I will take that to the next level of transparency and accountability. I have taken my own time to attend classes to dive deeper into the Budgeting for Outcomes model and seminar to learn how the state auditor’s office works within our city and others.
BFO is a tool that looks at what each department and each program is doing based upon expected outcomes. It gives us a way to measure effectiveness and cost to determine if it should be continued, revised, or deleted. 2022 will be our next budget year, and I look forward to honing this process and using it even more to determine the direction of our finances.
Q: Where are your favorite places to spend time in Lynnwood?
I enjoy our parks! When I was in college, I worked a couple years for a landscaper and one of his contracts was to create South Lynnwood Neighborhood Park. I loved being part of building that park and then playing tennis there when I was in college. It is now under reconstruction and the plan is for it to reopen at the end of 2021. In recent years I have moved from tennis to pickleball and look forward to being back on the courts at South Lynnwood Park in 2022.
I also love the Interurban Trail. I have walked and biked the trail through Lynnwood and beyond from the Everett Mall to Shoreline several times. It is well maintained and great for a short walk or a long ride.
I have missed hearing the sounds from the Little Leaguers at Lynndale Park the last two summers. I grew up hearing the cheers from there and it puts a smile on my face at the expectation that baseball will soon return there. Lynndale has been a gathering place for my family and many group events over the years.
Q: Where can people contact you to learn more about your campaign?