City Council Candidates Forum

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Last Thursday I had the opportunity to attend and film the Mountlake Terrace City Council Candidates forum at the Mountlake Terrace library. All the video from the event is now online. I hope that some of you find this helpful if you are still undecided about who you are voting for for City Council.

You can find all the forum video here.

26 COMMENTS

  1. I don't understand why R-71 was brought up – if it passes, then the city has to provide benefits to gay partners, and if it doesn't then things stand as they do now – city council members have no say one way or the other.

  2. It was a question from the audience. They could pretty much ask whatever they wanted. But you are right, they don't have any say on the issue anyway so Andrew's response was probably most appropriate.

  3. I don’t understand why R-71 was brought up – if it passes, then the city has to provide benefits to gay partners, and if it doesn’t then things stand as they do now – city council members have no say one way or the other.

    • It was a question from the audience. They could pretty much ask whatever they wanted. But you are right, they don’t have any say on the issue anyway so Andrew’s response was probably most appropriate.

  4. Name,

    While the city council doesn’t have any say regarding Ref. 71’s approval/rejection as representatives of the city, they are voters who have a say in the statewide initiative process. Their perspective, especially as far as the rights tax paying citizens of MLT should or should not be granted in the realm of civic marriage is important to many of their constituents, including myself & my parents.

    Many of the positions of the candidates seem to mirror each other, and if they all agree on most things related to MLT in particular, but differ on more macro issues which affect MLT residents, this could help some people who are undecided come to a candidate choice which promotes the sort of community they wish MLT to be.

    Also, it’s a test of whether they feel their political affiliations are something they can be proud and vocal about supporting/rejecting, or if they’re hiding or avoiding an issue they feel would be controversial for political gain.
    Andrew Funk, in particular, disappointed me by following up two clear endorsements of equal rights under the law with a political response which left one guessing… guessing that if he couldn’t repeat “I support equal rights for all MLT citizens”, then he must be in favor of rejecting Ref 71 & doesn’t believe that all MLT families should be treated equally under state law. This position is disconcerting to those of use who feel all tax paying citizens of MLT & their families should be protected by the rights and responsibilities which will be available under civil unions if Ref 71 passes. If he had actually taken ownership of his position, instead of avoiding the question, at least there would be integrity to his response. An attempt to pull the wool over the voters; eyes is even more disgusting to me than an honest stance of rejection.

    Mayor Smith’s red herring response ignores the fact that straight couples have the choice of marriage, but may simply not want to get married. In which case, they understand the legal freedoms & consequences of such a choice. Getting indignant about their lack of benefits without any legal commitment is not an impressive argument to me, someone who is married & takes that legal commitment very seriously.
    The gay families and partners already living & contributing taxes in MLT & across the state have no such choice unless Ref 71 is approved.

    It may not be an important issue to you, but for many WA families, those in MLT included, the possibility of losing hospital visitation rights & medical decisions for loved ones, having families torn apart in times of crisis simply because a biological parent is ill or dies, police officers & firefighters who risk their lives every day who can’t extend pension benefits to their partners if they are harmed while serving our community… these are real, life shattering implications for many who live within the city’s borders.

    Protect Families in Mountlake Terrace: Approve Referendum 71

  5. While the city council doesn't have any say regarding Ref. 71's approval/rejection as representatives of the city, they are voters who have a say in the statewide initiative process. Their perspective, especially as far as the rights tax paying citizens of MLT should or should not be granted in the realm of civic marriage is important to many of their constituents, including myself & my parents.Many of the positions of the candidates seem to mirror each other, and if they all agree on most things related to MLT in particular, but differ on more macro issues which affect MLT residents, this could help some people who are undecided come to a candidate choice which promotes the sort of community they wish MLT to be.Also, it's a test of whether they feel their political affiliations are something they can be proud and vocal about supporting/rejecting, or if they're hiding or avoiding an issue they feel would be controversial for political gain.Andrew Funk, in particular, disappointed me by following up two clear endorsements of equal rights under the law with a political response which left one guessing… guessing that if he couldn't repeat “I support equal rights for all MLT citizens”, then he must be in favor of rejecting Ref 71 & doesn't believe that all MLT families should be treated equally under state law. This position is disconcerting to those of use who feel all tax paying citizens of MLT & their families should be protected by the rights and responsibilities which will be available under civil unions if Ref 71 passes. If he had actually taken ownership of his position, instead of avoiding the question, at least there would be integrity to his response. An attempt to pull the wool over the voters' eyes is even more disgusting to me than an honest stance of rejection.Mayor Smith's red herring response ignores the fact that straight couples have the choice of marriage, but may simply not want to get married. In which case, they understand the legal freedoms & consequences of such a choice. Getting indignant about their lack of benefits without any legal commitment is not an impressive argument to me, someone who is married & takes that legal commitment very seriously.The gay families and partners already living & contributing taxes in MLT & across the state have no such choice unless Ref 71 is approved.It may not be an important issue to you, but for many WA families, those in MLT included, the possibility of losing hospital visitation rights & medical decisions for loved ones, having families torn apart in times of crisis simply because a biological parent is ill or dies, police officers & firefighters who risk their lives every day who can't extend pension benefits to their partners if they are harmed while serving our community… these are real, life shattering implications for many who live within the city's borders.Protect Families in Mountlake Terrace: Approve Referendum 71

  6. While the city council doesn’t have any say regarding Ref. 71’s approval/rejection as representatives of the city, they are voters who have a say in the statewide initiative process. Their perspective, especially as far as the rights tax paying citizens of MLT should or should not be granted in the realm of civic marriage is important to many of their constituents, including myself & my parents.nnMany of the positions of the candidates seem to mirror each other, and if they all agree on most things related to MLT in particular, but differ on more macro issues which affect MLT residents, this could help some people who are undecided come to a candidate choice which promotes the sort of community they wish MLT to be.nnAlso, it’s a test of whether they feel their political affiliations are something they can be proud and vocal about supporting/rejecting, or if they’re hiding or avoiding an issue they feel would be controversial for political gain.nAndrew Funk, in particular, disappointed me by following up two clear endorsements of equal rights under the law with a political response which left one guessing… guessing that if he couldn’t repeat “I support equal rights for all MLT citizens”, then he must be in favor of rejecting Ref 71 & doesn’t believe that all MLT families should be treated equally under state law. This position is disconcerting to those of use who feel all tax paying citizens of MLT & their families should be protected by the rights and responsibilities which will be available under civil unions if Ref 71 passes. If he had actually taken ownership of his position, instead of avoiding the question, at least there would be integrity to his response. An attempt to pull the wool over the voters’ eyes is even more disgusting to me than an honest stance of rejection.nnMayor Smith’s red herring response ignores the fact that straight couples have the choice of marriage, but may simply not want to get married. In which case, they understand the legal freedoms & consequences of such a choice. Getting indignant about their lack of benefits without any legal commitment is not an impressive argument to me, someone who is married & takes that legal commitment very seriously.nThe gay families and partners already living & contributing taxes in MLT & across the state have no such choice unless Ref 71 is approved.nnIt may not be an important issue to you, but for many WA families, those in MLT included, the possibility of losing hospital visitation rights & medical decisions for loved ones, having families torn apart in times of crisis simply because a biological parent is ill or dies, police officers & firefighters who risk their lives every day who can’t extend pension benefits to their partners if they are harmed while serving our community… these are real, life shattering implications for many who live within the city’s borders.nnProtect Families in Mountlake Terrace: Approve Referendum 71

    • @Angie, I’m glad you care about this important issue, but once again, the MLT City Council has no say over domestic partnerships. What does “I support equal rights” even mean? How do you know that those who say it mean that they support R-71? It can mean anything, and is a cop out – Funk’s response was not a “political” response, it is true – his personal vote is no one’s business – and as a council member he would have no say over domestic partnerships one way or another – it would be like asking his opinion on the death penalty, abortion, or the War in Iraq – it has no bearing on what he would do as a council member, which includes providing funding for roads, police, and parks – that’s what city councils do.

      • City council’s represent their constituents in many faculties, and whether or not they deem some residents & neighbors to be equal under the law, or not, is important to me & many other voters. Whether someone is comfortable voicing their position on the matter is a great way to determine integrity in their affiliations. Part of being on the city council involves representing the community as civic leaders, and it is important to engage with the community & their concerns, even if they’re concerns are controversial, and even if you disagree with them. Since equal treatment under the law for adults in committed relationships is of concern to many in MLT, it is not unfair to inquire about the candidates’ position on pending state law which will affect the matter, nor is it unfair to be dismayed & disappointed when someone shirks the issue under the guise of what isn’t pertinent to the job they’re in the running for.I spoke with the man who asked the R-71 question after the event, and he was actually very interested with what Funk had to say about many things, his education & local experience, but when Funk refused to even dignify the man’s question with a response to an issue which was obviously of great personal importance to him & his family, he was quite disappointed, and I can empathize with why.I don’t need to know all the personal details of every political candidate, and their votes are private, but full disclosure on political issues and positions which affect our community is highly appreciated, and in my opinion, a lack of willingness to disclose one’s position & opinion simply because the council position wouldn’t have a direct say in that particular law fosters doubt of integrity. Expectations of privacy are not as broad for political candidates as they are for private citizens, and any voter can use any reason they like to come to their decision. Whether or not the candidate feels the voter’s reasoning or rationale for their vote is fair or appropriate doesn’t matter in this republic.The least he could have done was acknowledge that the issue was important to the man who asked it, and I didn’t even see that.

        • I have to agree with Angie’s post above. While the council members may not have any direct input on legislation surrounding this referendum, their views and opinions on subjects such as this are important to the people of Mountlake Terrace. If nothing else, the question and its subsequent answer is a conduit to see how each candidate can handle a question such as this, despite the position they hold on it.Personally, there was not one candidate that really shined on this question, and two pretty much bombed in my opinion and secured a vote in another direction from me.Funk’s evasion of the question I thought was touching on rude, and a simple response like that has lost my vote. I wouldn’t have necessarily wanted details, but simply to answer the question asked of him. This wasn’t a personal question, this was a political question asked of a public figure. ABSOLUTELY fair game, and I’m very disappointed at his response. Not fit for this office in my opinion. I’m not sure why the crowd clapped. Are they pleased that a potential city official evaded a valid and legitimate question from a constituent? Smith. Oh, Jerry, Jerry, Jerry… I understand how you’re going to vote, because you said THAT part pretty plainly. The rest? I really have no idea what that rambling was all about. I think you’ve served MLT well my friend. Time to call it and pass the torch on. Thank you for your service.Kyoko and McCardle played it safe on this question and I think they satisified the question. I actually appreciated Nygaard’s response as well. Although she didn’t say it directly, it’s obvious she wasn’t versed on the topic as she’d like to be before answering the question. So, instead of evading it, she simply said ‘undecided’. Fair enough. Since their role, as stated before, has no direct impact on R71, and the question is simply an insight to each candidate and their view, that answer is fair, and legitimate.Bottom line, I think this one question was one of the most telling of all audience questions, not because of specific answers (yes or no to R71), but HOW they answered and set the groundwork for how this ballot holder will vote.

          • Hey, grassworks movement underway: If you don’t like your choices for position #2, as I don’t, and you haven’t voted yet, write in Mark Hopkins!

  7. @Angie, I'm glad you care about this important issue, but once again, the MLT City Council has no say over domestic partnerships. What does “I support equal rights” even mean? How do you know that those who say it mean that they support R-71? It can mean anything, and is a cop out – Funk's response was not a “political” response, it is true – his personal vote is no one's business – and as a council member he would have no say over domestic partnerships one way or another – it would be like asking his opinion on the death penalty, abortion, or the War in Iraq – it has no bearing on what he would do as a council member, which includes providing funding for roads, police, and parks – that's what city councils do.

  8. City council's represent their constituents in many faculties, and whether or not they deem some residents & neighbors to be equal under the law, or not, is important to me & many other voters. Whether someone is comfortable voicing their position on the matter is a great way to determine integrity in their affiliations. Part of being on the city council involves representing the community as civic leaders, and it is important to engage with the community & their concerns, even if they're concerns are controversial, and even if you disagree with them. Since equal treatment under the law for adults in committed relationships is of concern to many in MLT, it is not unfair to inquire about the candidates' position on pending state law which will affect the matter, nor is it unfair to be dismayed & disappointed when someone shirks the issue under the guise of what isn't pertinent to the job they're in the running for.I spoke with the man who asked the R-71 question after the event, and he was actually very interested with what Funk had to say about many things, his education & local experience, but when Funk refused to even dignify the man's question with a response to an issue which was obviously of great personal importance to him & his family, he was quite disappointed, and I can empathize with why.I don't need to know all the personal details of every political candidate, and their votes are private, but full disclosure on political issues and positions which affect our community is highly appreciated, and in my opinion, a lack of willingness to disclose one's position & opinion simply because the council position wouldn't have a direct say in that particular law fosters doubt of integrity. Expectations of privacy are not as broad for political candidates as they are for private citizens, and any voter can use any reason they like to come to their decision. Whether or not the candidate feels the voter's reasoning or rationale for their vote is fair or appropriate doesn't matter in this republic.The least he could have done was acknowledge that the issue was important to the man who asked it, and I didn't even see that.

  9. I am ashamed of most of the candidates for MLT. Asking the question about Ref 71 gives us insight on how fair minded our candidates are. It IS about Equal Rights for everyone. The comments made by Mayor Smith are appalling. He doesn't appear to be able to think and speak clearly. This is our mayor? He's running for council member? He needs to retire – now. The “equal rights” he was talking about – the straight people have the option of getting married to get benefits. Same gender couples do not have the right to get married to get benefits.The only two people running for MLT City Council who have my vote are Koyoto Wright and Doug McCardle. The people who didn't show for this debate are not worthy of consideration for office. Period.Discussing equal rights is very much a part of the city council. They represent every single one of us. equally. Not answering the question tells me that an un-informed candidate is running for office. Very dangerous. If they didn't answer because they didn't to be “outed” on their stance, then they're being dishonest.MLT is a great place to live – we need great people on our city council. Support and Vote Yes for Ref 71.

  10. I am ashamed of most of the candidates for MLT. Asking the question about Ref 71 gives us insight on how fair minded our candidates are. It IS about Equal Rights for everyone. The comments made by Mayor Smith are appalling. He doesn’t appear to be able to think and speak clearly. This is our mayor? He’s running for council member? He needs to retire – now. The “equal rights” he was talking about – the straight people have the option of getting married to get benefits. Same gender couples do not have the right to get married to get benefits.rnrnThe only two people running for MLT City Council who have my vote are Koyoto Wright and Doug McCardle. The people who didn’t show for this debate are not worthy of consideration for office. Period.rnrnDiscussing equal rights is very much a part of the city council. They represent every single one of us. equally. Not answering the question tells me that an un-informed candidate is running for office. Very dangerous. If they didn’t answer because they didn’t to be “outed” on their stance, then they’re being dishonest.rnrnMLT is a great place to live – we need great people on our city council. rnrnSupport and Vote Yes for Ref 71.

    • Agree with MLT Guy on the blatant absenteeism of a few candidates. In my opinion, those in attendance at this forum secured their vote over those not in attendance. Although, even if Zambrano had been there, I still wouldn’t vote for him. Unfortunately, my other choice isn’t my first or second choice either. I guess I’ll have to take the lesser of two evils on that one.

  11. I have to agree with Angie's post above. While the council members may not have any direct input on legislation surrounding this referendum, their views and opinions on subjects such as this are important to the people of Mountlake Terrace. If nothing else, the question and its subsequent answer is a conduit to see how each candidate can handle a question such as this, despite the position they hold on it.Personally, there was not one candidate that really shined on this question, and two pretty much bombed in my opinion and secured a vote in another direction from me.Funk's evasion of the question I thought was touching on rude, and a simple response like that has lost my vote. I wouldn't have necessarily wanted details, but simply to answer the question asked of him. This wasn't a personal question, this was a political question asked of a public figure. ABSOLUTELY fair game, and I'm very disappointed at his response. Not fit for this office in my opinion. I'm not sure why the crowd clapped. Are they pleased that a potential city official evaded a valid and legitimate question from a constituent? Smith. Oh, Jerry, Jerry, Jerry… I understand how you're going to vote, because you said THAT part pretty plainly. The rest? I really have no idea what that rambling was all about. I think you've served MLT well my friend. Time to call it and pass the torch on. Thank you for your service.Kyoko and McCardle played it safe on this question and I think they satisified the question. I actually appreciated Nygaard's response as well. Although she didn't say it directly, it's obvious she wasn't versed on the topic as she'd like to be before answering the question. So, instead of evading it, she simply said 'undecided'. Fair enough. Since their role, as stated before, has no direct impact on R71, and the question is simply an insight to each candidate and their view, that answer is fair, and legitimate.Bottom line, I think this one question was one of the most telling of all audience questions, not because of specific answers (yes or no to R71), but HOW they answered and set the groundwork for how this ballot holder will vote.

  12. Agree with MLT Guy on the blatant absenteeism of a few candidates. In my opinion, those in attendance at this forum secured their vote over those not in attendance. Although, even if Zambrano had been there, I still wouldn't vote for him. Unfortunately, my other choice isn't my first or second choice either. I guess I'll have to take the lesser of two evils on that one.

  13. I believe that Jasmine Contreras was out of town because her grandmother passed away. Hope that is a good enough excuse for you to not be at the forum.

  14. It is a valid reason and my condolences to her and her family. Unfortunately though, and Angie said it very well, voting is an emotional decision and how a person votes is influenced by many different factors: “…any voter can use any reason they like to come to their decision.” This includes, attending a forum, what clothes they wear, how their hair is done, and if they say 'Montlake' or 'Mountlake'. I'm not condoning any of the above as a determination for or against any candidate, but they WILL come to play in many voters' minds. It's a simple fact of life.Although Jasmine's reason for not being there was legitimate, for many voters, it will simply be 'She wasn't there”. She made the decision to attend to her family, and that is a good one, and one that many would have done as well. But, she missed out on a huge opportunity to speak to the people that are voting this week and up into next week.In any case, it does not affect my vote in this case, and I do send my condolences to her and her family and wish her all the best.

  15. I believe that Jasmine Contreras was out of town because her grandmother passed away. Hope that is a good enough excuse for you to not be at the forum.

    • It is a valid reason and my condolences to her and her family. nnUnfortunately though, and Angie said it very well, voting is an emotional decision and how a person votes is influenced by many different factors: “…any voter can use any reason they like to come to their decision.” This includes, attending a forum, what clothes they wear, how their hair is done, and if they say ‘Montlake’ or ‘Mountlake’. I’m not condoning any of the above as a determination for or against any candidate, but they WILL come to play in many voters’ minds. It’s a simple fact of life.nnAlthough Jasmine’s reason for not being there was legitimate, for many voters, it will simply be ‘She wasn’t there”. She made the decision to attend to her family, and that is a good one, and one that many would have done as well. But, she missed out on a huge opportunity to speak to the people that are voting this week and up into next week.nnIn any case, it does not affect my vote in this case, and I do send my condolences to her and her family and wish her all the best.

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