Community involvement shows with selection for vacant city council seat | Editorial

  • Wednesday, December 21, 2016 1:51pm
  • Opinion

The Kirkland City Council had a tough decision this week. The city received 26 applications for the newly vacated Kirkland City Council position. In 16 years as a journalist, I have never seen so much interest in a vacant council position. Last time the council had an open position 17 people applied, but that is still a nearly 50 percent increase. Kudos to all the residents of Kirkland who threw their hat in the ring. We always need more voices to come forward and participate in the governing process.

All of those residents will have another chance to participate in the governing process next November when position 2, along with four other Kirkland City Council positions, is up for re-election.

But the council has shown a knack for finding good people to represent the residents of Kirkland.

Former Kirkland City Council appointee Shelley Kloba was elected to the state Legislature from the 1st District in November, opening up position 2 on the Kirkland City Council. No matter your political bent, we all can say that we wish Kloba nothing but the best in representing Kirkland in Olympia. The Kirkland City Council has a rich history of sending its members to Olympia. Rep. Larry Springer is a former Kirkland mayor, along with Rep. Joan McBride.

We almost lost another very talented council member, and someone who cares deeply about our community, to Olympia in Toby Nixon. The former state representative would have been a great pick to replace Andy Hill in the state Senate. We also wish Sen. Dino Rossi, who ultimately was chosen for the 45th District seat, good luck in Olympia. Nixon often has a minority voice on the Kirkland City Council, but it is important to have all ideas represented so an informed decision can be made, not just one idea that bounces around in an echo chamber. It is the sign of a good governing body when conflicting perspective can be heard, represented and debated without animosity.

Nixon also represents another minority on the council — those from the 2011 annexation neighborhoods of Kirkland. The annexation of the Juanita, Finn Hill and Kingsgate (Evergreen Hill) neighborhoods nearly doubled the size of the city.

Even the people who have been finalists for open positions in council have turned out to be good council members.

Deputy Mayor Jay Arnold, who narrowly lost out to Kloba in 2013 and won election that same year, has shown himself to be a good voice for many in the community. He is also someone who has the ability to digest complex issues, listen to the public and make informed decisions.

The newest pick for the Kirkland City Council, Jon Pascal, was also a finalist in 2013. He understands the issues the annexation neighborhoods face and currently resides in Juanita after living on Finn Hill for many years. He is also a former Kirkland Planning Commission member, Finn Hill Neighborhood Association board member and a former transportation commissioner.

I have personally known Pascal and his family for five years. I can’t imagine a more thoughtful, level-headed and qualified person to represent all Kirkland residents.

I think it is an extremely beneficial that the council has chosen someone with an extensive knowledge about transportation issues. His knowledge will be invaluable to the council as it grapples with the region’s continuing congestion issues. Being a former Planning Commission member is also an invaluable experience. Many council members have served on the commission prior to moving on to the Kirkland City Council, including Arnold.

Like most of the council members in the area, including those in Bothell and Kenmore, I believe the Kirkland City Council members have their neighbors’ best interests at heart — even if we don’t always agree on every issue. They are elected to listen and make decisions on our behalf and they take that seriously.

As the editor of the Kirkland Reporter, I also have a job to do, and we will hold all the council members collective feet to the fire if things get hot.

Your city council impacts your life more than any other governing body, so get involved and let your voice be heard respectfully.

Matt Phelps is the regional editor of the Kirkland, Bothell and Kenmore Reporter newspapers.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@kirklandreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kirklandreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Opinion

Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He retired as president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and lives in Vancouver. He can be contacted at thebrunells@msn.com.
Why should the threat to Taiwan concern us in WA? | Brunell

Unfortunately, what happens in Taiwan doesn’t just stay in Taiwan — it… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Election 2021: Closer look at King County races | Roegner

The race for Mayor of Seattle will dominate the regional media, but… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Questions surround vaccine exemptions for state workers | Roegner

With about 4,800 state employees in 24 agencies requesting vaccine exemptions, which… Continue reading

Dr. Jayendrina Singha Ray serves as Faculty of English at Highline College. Her research interests include postcolonial studies, spatial literary studies, British literature, and rhetoric and composition. Prior to teaching in the U.S., she worked as an editor with Routledge and taught English at colleges in India.
What the Afghan wants to say: Arezo’s journey to America | Guest column

In our little Zoom room, I hear my interviewee break into sobs.… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Can a Texas-style abortion law happen in Washington? | Roegner

If politicians really want to anger women voters, the easiest way is… Continue reading

Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He retired as president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and lives in Vancouver. He can be contacted at thebrunells@msn.com.
Reasons to ban Gov. Jay Inslee’s natural gas ban | Brunell

Column: Switching from natural gas to electricity is complicated and will impact everyone.

Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He recently retired as president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and now lives in Vancouver. He can be contacted at thebrunells@msn.com.
Vaccinations improve our health and employment numbers | Brunell

It is not surprising that COVID-19, which ravaged the world, was disastrous… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Firefighters vs. the governor’s vaccine mandate | Roegner

We all thought we were in this fight with the coronavirus together,… Continue reading

Providence employees look at anti-vaccine mandate protesters as they cross the street outside of Providence Regional Medical Center Everett on Aug. 18, 2021. Olivia Vanni/Sound Publishing
Editorial: A message to the unvaccinated and unmasked

We know you’re frustrated with mandates and advice, but consider our frustrations and, yes, our anger.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Back to the classroom during abnormal times | Roegner

If it didn’t feel so normal, we might forget about the coronavirus… Continue reading

Robert Toomey, CFA/CFP, is Vice President of Research for S. R. Schill & Associates on Mercer Island.
What’s up with the real estate market? | Guest column

As we all know, the residential real estate market and prices have… Continue reading

9/11 Memorial in Cashmere, Washington. Photo courtesy of Greg Asimakoupoulos
Twenty years after tragedy brought us together | Guest column

Recently, I was reflecting on where I was and what I was… Continue reading