by LUKE PUTVIN firstname.lastname@example.org
City Council Candidates running in the primary election gathered at Community Life Center for a candidate forum on July 10. Current council members Christine Frizzell and George Hurst were in attendance, as well as an audience of approximately 70 people.
Linda Jones of the Lynnwood Chamber of Commerce mediated the event, and the forum began with Position 4. The only candidate running for Position 4 not in attendance was Van Aubuchon. Each person gave an opening statement, and each statement had a different focus. Ashkan Amouzegar focused on diversity, Dio Boucsieguez focused on Lynnwood being a family community, Naz Lashgari focused on growth, James Rutherford focused on the history of Lynnwood and Jim Smith focused on the homeless issue as well as the Neighbors in Need program.
Candidates were asked what they would do with a million-dollar grant, the top three pressing concerns for businesses if there is a waste in the city budget/where to cut funding and how to address mental health issues in Lynnwood.
Answers to the million-dollar grant question ranged from Boucsieguez saying he would put it toward infrastructure and green spaces, Amouzegar saying he would review who needs the money the most and Lashgari saying she would first discuss with the city council and then look at the police and fire departments. All candidates cited high taxes as a large issue for businesses. Smith answered the budget question, saying that prioritization is the number one issue. He stressed the importance of public safety and police enforcement. Rutherford said there is too much employment in certain areas, in reference to the budget and that he would reduce employment in some areas and increase in others.
For Position 5, Julieta Altamirano-Crosby was not present and had an assistant give a statement on her behalf. The two candidates to answer questions were David Schirle and Rosamaria Graziani.
Schirle answered the million-dollar grant question by saying he would put it toward the high sales tax issue in Lynnwood, and Graziani echoed that sales tax is a large concern for businesses, saying that many people go to other areas like Everett for big-ticket purchases.
Graziani cited waste in the budget with the Executive Budget, saying that the budget has gone up and that the mayor is using more money in this area than in previous budgets. Schirle cited page 71 of the budget where the salaries and wages portion in 2017 was approximately $27.5 million, is now approximately $51 million and suggested potential cuts there.
Maggie Mae was the one candidate running for Position 7 not in attendance. Shannon Sessions and Shirley Sutton were present to answer questions. Sessions said she would use the million-dollar grant to help fund a veterans center where all veteran services could be in one location. Sutton answered the same question by suggesting moving vans with showers in them for individuals who need them.
Ballots for the primary election have been mailed out and are due in a ballot drop off box by August 6 at 8 P.M.
Read more election news, articles, and related stories.