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Candidates for Everett District 3 diverge on transit, city approach

From left to right: City Council candidates Don Schwab and Jacob Vail

EVERETT — The candidates for the council district covering western Everett are split on topics such as transit and taxes.
They are Lacey Sauvageau, Don Schwab and Jacob Vail.
Schwab, 55, lives in Boulevard Bluffs and has lived in the district for 19 years. He’s the deputy treasurer for Snohomish County under Treasurer Brian Sullivan, and spent 30 years as a firefighter with Everett Fire.
Vail, 38, lives near the Boulevard Bluffs Neighborhood, and has worked in construction and marketing. He is currently finishing a college degree. He’s lived within his district the past four years and lived in Everett longer than that.
Sauvageau missed deadline to provide answers for the print story, and did not reply to an offer to print answers in this web version.
Last year, Sauvageau ran for a state Representative seat; incumbent Emily Wicks won the election.
The district is comprised of the Harborview-Seahurst-Glenhaven, View Ridge, Boulevard Bluffs, and Evergreen Neighborhoods. Only voters within the district decide who advances in the Aug. 3 primary and who wins the seat in November.
Ballots begin being mailed July 15.
The Tribune asked five questions to each and is reprinting their answers.

Q) What are the key reasons you are running for City Council?

Schwab:  Everett is expanding and has unlimited potential. Our parks, waterfront, schools, small businesses, and proximity to mountains and sea make it a special place. Since I started working for the Everett Fire Department in 1990, I have had the opportunity to serve neighbors in times of need. Over 33 years as a firefighter EMT, emergency manager, labor leader, and safety advocate uniquely prepared me to lead Everett through these difficult times to a prosperous tomorrow.

Vail:  I am running for City Council to give a voice back to the people. I aim to grow and maintain equality throughout the City of Everett. By adjusting zoning laws the city can aid businesses, unhoused, and underprivileged people. I plan to increase accessibility throughout the city for disabled people.

Q) Within your district, what specific things are voters requesting you do for them if elected?
1) Improve pedestrian safety and accessibility to Evergreen Way, Madison, Mukilteo Boulevard, Upper Ridge, and Lower Ridge Road.
2) Require new residential developments to fit into the neighborhoods and include green spaces.
3) Maintain police department service and improve responses to property crimes, trespassing, and traffic control.
4) Provide shelter, mental health, and recovery services for those who need them.
5) Maintain and improve the parks and fund the senior center.

Vail:  The City of Everett voters have requested maintenance of public access roads and parks. They have asked for an improvement in public safety. There is a desire to assist unhoused individuals. I too share in this desire. Businesses and business owners are requesting city assistance to recover from the financial setback the COVID-19 pandemic caused. This gives an opportunity to help local businesses grow. I will address all these issues and more as a member of your City Council. My goal is to open a line of communication between the people and the City of Everett to allow any future concerns to be clearly heard and addressed by city officials.

Q) In a council vote which could come during your next four years, would you approve asking voters to merge Everett Transit with Community Transit? Why yes or no?

Schwab:  No, as an alternative to a merger, I support proposing option 1 of the “Rethink Transit” plan to the voters. The City of Everett has a long history of successfully providing service. However, it is time to improve and add growth to the transit service. Option 1 will increase the transit sales tax by half the amount that a merger would cost and still bring more services to our community. Additionally, Everett Transit is successfully transitioning to electric buses that improve air quality.

Yes. The goal is to provide more transportation to the public. By combining the resources of the two transit systems, the City of Everett can offer better schedules and shorter wait times for buses. This merger will allow reallocation of funds in the transit system budget to begin building a light rail system. It can also provide some of the funds needed to purchase electric buses. This moves us in the direction of being a more ecofriendly city. Merging Everett Transit with Community Transit supports our increase in population and the growth of the City of Everett.

Q) City officials have studied three concepts toward resolving Everett’s negative-cashflow problem. They are: approaching voters to enact a public tax for parks services, approaching voters for a property tax lift, and approaching voters to sever the Everett Fire Department from the city budget and transform it into a regional fire authority (a fire authority would set its own taxes to fund itself.) On council, would you vote “yes” to proceed on any of these three?

Yes, if the city is in a position where there is no other reasonable choice to balance the budget but to cut essential services. Raising property taxes is difficult for many Everett residents.  My preference would be the park district option and/or the fire authority option. These options are based on specific services so voters can decide on the level of service. These concepts should include service improvements and a stable funding source.  
Vail:  As an acting member of the Snohomish County Parks Board, I must abstain from voting on matters related to public parks. However, I have ideas I would like to introduce to the City Council to help the Parks Department. I support approaching the voters regarding a property tax lift. If the people of Everett are in support of that tax lift, I will be too. I would vote yes to support a transformation to a regional fire authority.

Q) The current City Council voted 5-2 to create a “no sit-no lie” zone contingent to the Pallet Shelter program. Should the city retain this zone, add more zones like it, or delete them altogether?

Schwab:  The intention of the ordinance was created as a pilot program, and the city needs to study and determine if the no sit-no lie zone is producing the desired outcome before retaining or adding more zones. I support a focus on increasing resources for the Law Enforcement Embedded Social Worker program (LEESW). A LEESW program reduces the draw on police and emergency services, improves response and engagement, and follow-up with chronically homeless persons needing social services.

Vail:  I believe that more “no sit-no lie” zones should be added to provide the pallet shelters that go along with these zones. Assisting unhoused people requires we support them in a way that allows them to get back on their feet. Increasing the number of pallet shelters and implementing sliding scale housing is a great way to provide for unhoused individuals and help them look towards their futures.




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