South County Politics: Lynnwood councilmember’s challenge to mayor continues a pattern

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George Hurst
Nicola Smith

Lynnwood Councilmember George Hurst’s challenge to Mayor Nicola Smith in the coming election continues a pattern of Lynnwood councilmembers challenging sitting mayors.

In 2005, then-Mayor Mike McKinnon got challenges in the primary from two councilmembers, Don Gough and Jim Smith. Gough went on to defeat McKinnon in the general election by a 60 percent to 40 percent margin.

In 2009, Gough was the incumbent mayor and got challenges in the primary from Councilmembers Jim Smith, Loren Simmonds and Lisa Utter. Gough went on to defeat Smith in the general election by a 54 percent to 45 percent margin.

In 2013, Gough got challenges from fellow Councilmembers Simmonds and Mark Smith, but it was political newcomer Nicola Smith who went on to the general election, where she defeated Gough by a 60 percent to 40 percent margin.

Now, Smith faces a challenge from Hurst, who says he has two reasons for running: getting Lynnwood on a sustainable budget path and preparing the city for growth when light rail comes in a few years.

He explained the two reasons last week in this statement:
“1) During its term the current administration has created two biennium budgets. The first (2014-16) took over $1 million from the general fund reserves to balance it; the second (2017-18) took nearly $5 million from the general funds. This has placed the city on an unsustainable financial path.
“2) Sound Transit light rail will come to Lynnwood either in 2023 or a few years later, dependent on whether Congress can modify the Trump proposed budget. The city must be prepared for this growth. The current administration’s failure to fully fund the fire and police departments and ignoring the ongoing maintenance of our infrastructure will impact our ability to successfully manage that growth that will come with light-rail development. The next four years are crucial to preparing the city for growth and the current administration is not up to that task.”

Smith starts the campaign with a financial advantage, having already reported raising $2,510 to no fundraising for Hurst.

Also in Lynnwood, City Councilmember Ian Cotton has indicated an intent to seek re-election by registering with the state Public Disclosure Commission.

Registering with the PDC allows candidates to raise and spend money for the Aug. 1 primary and Nov. 7 general election.

Candidates file for ballot position May 15-19. Positions with three or more candidates appear on the primary ballot, with the top two vote getters in the primary advancing to the general election. Positions with only one or two candidates appear only on the November ballot.

Fire Commissioner Chan says he plans to seek re-election despite controversy

Snohomish County Fire District 1 Commissioner David Chan says he plans to seek re-election despite the controversy over racial comments that he and a fellow commissioner made during a break at a recent board of commissioners meeting.

Chan and Commissioner Bob Meador have accepted a reprimand but refused to give in to calls for them to resign.

They made the comments to each other while a microphone was on just before the meeting reconvened after a break.

Chan said in an interview March 19 that he plans to run in November for a third six-year term, despite calls from firefighters and the public to leave his position.

He said he would leave his future on the board up to voters.

No opponents have declared intentions to challenge Chan. Meador’s position will not be on the ballot until 2021.

Fire District 1 includes unincorporated areas of Snohomish County between south Everett and the Snohomish-King County line. The cities of Brier, Edmonds and Mountlake Terrace contract with Fire District 1 to provide fire and emergency medical services. Fire District 1 and the Lynnwood Fire Department currently have a joint administrative staff.

— By Evan Smith

Evan Smith can be reached at schsmith@frontier.com

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