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Snohomish mayoral candidates speak to issues

From left to right:
Incumbent John Kartak, Linda Redmon and Sam King. King missed deadline to provide answers for this story.

SNOHOMISH — Two prominent names in city politics and a newcomer who wants to revolutionize the city’s governance model are each aiming to
advance from August’s primary election to November’s ballot.
Incumbent Mayor John Kartak is running for a second term. Part of his campaign message is that he’ll provide consistency to running City Hall.
City Council President Linda Redmon wants to replace Kartak. Part of her campaign message is she will increase collaboration by listening to a wider community.
Candidate Sam King, who’s making his first run for office, missed deadline to provide answers for the print story. He said previously that a key part to why he’s running is to change the city’s governance into a direct democracy model, where broad public polls are used to directly set policies. It would be different than a representative government where decisions are made by the City Council elected by the public.
This nonpartisan election is to lead the city for four years.
Ballots for the primary must be returned by Aug. 3.
The Tribune asked four questions to each and is reprinting their answers.

Q) Should the City rezone any areas currently zoned for just single neighborhood houses to allow larger, multi-family developments?

Kartak:  I support compatible, small-town growth that compliments our current, charming conditions and strengthens the friendly and welcoming nature of our community.  We currently have a well-rounded balance: 60% single-family (houses), 40% multifamily (apartments/condos) —10% of which is subsidized by local, private organizations.  Most importantly, all of our housing types are inclusively woven together across town rather than isolating renters far away from home owners.  This unique, Snohomish model unites our neighborhoods.

Some parts of our Urban Growth Areas could allow for denser developments that fit the character of our community. These types of developments are already tucked seamlessly into our current neighborhoods: duplexes up to fourplexes, subdivided larger houses, accessory dwelling units, townhomes and condos, and small apartment buildings. The area of Weaver and Ludwig just west of Bickford has potential for denser zoning because it is close to the transit line.

Q) What goals for Snohomish would you push for in the next four years?

Kartak:  I have executed three reductions to your water/sewer bill, and realizing new operational efficiencies, recommend to City Council more reductions.  I will continue to fundamentally develop our community policing/low crime approach.  It is time to focus on Historic Downtown streets & sidewalks and to extend our Snohomish Riverfront Trail to the Pilchuck Julia Landing boat launch.  We need to revisit safety, zoning, and design standards for multiple areas such as north of Blackmans Lake.

Redmon:  We need to: Update our zoning and land use plans to allow for accessible housing for all of our community members. Make sure the City is ecologically sound in our practices and policies. Prioritize finding funding and start work on the serious infrastructure updates that are needed for sidewalks, streets, water, and sewers. Address the needs of our Historic Downtown Snohomish area that the past year has brought to light, and plan for future success.

Q) What would be the best strategy to addressing homelessness in our town?

Continue the proven, remarkably-successful strategy that City Hall and our police have been following these last four years under my direction:  Recognize that our homeless are local sons and daughters of infinite value, reach out to them with life-changing pathways that result in a healthy, productive future (and roof over their head), and be tough on crime —specifically, to not help anyone who needs such life-changing pathway to say “no” to it.

Many of the homeless have ties to our community so they stay here even though there are more resources elsewhere. There are people on the street but also families that stay in their cars, double up with friends or family, or couch surf. Increasing housing stock to bring costs down and partnering with organizations that provide for those experiencing homelessness are options. Primarily, school counselors and our Community Resource Officer are the contacts for shelter.

Q) What do you believe is the most neglected function of Snohomish? How could you improve it going forward as mayor?

Due to the current socio-economic recovery, many have seen  neglected garbage collecting along First Street while local tourists continue to fill our beautiful town.  Normally, the City doesn’t pick up garbage along sidewalks, but our downtown is a special place that most everyone enjoys.  I have already prioritized limited staff resources to deal with this temporarily, but will be asking City Council to use Federal ARPA funds for a limited First Street emphasis program.

To some extent we have neglected disaster preparedness. Our downtown is at risk of extensive fire damage, and would suffer catastrophic damage in the event of a major earthquake. We need to work with our Fire District to better protect our downtown. In the event of a major earthquake, neighborhoods might be cut off from first responders so we need neighbors trained to step up, like Community Emergency Response Team members or Map Your Neighborhood leaders. 




Calling all Snohomians
Who’s the oldest Snohomish Panther still around? Maybe it’s your relative? Maybe it’s you? The Tribune wants to find out. Tell us who you think it is: write to P.O. Box 499, Snohomish, WA 98291, email to
or call 360-568-4121.
Watch for the Jan. 25 Tribune to
see some recognitions.

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