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Lynnwood Times candidate interviews for Lynnwood City Council

LYNNWOOD, Wash., September 30, 2023—In preparation for the upcoming General Election on November 7, 2023, the Lynnwood Times sat down with each of the Lynnwood City Council candidates to help you make an informed decision.

Each candidate provided a short bio on themselves which we have included at the end of the article.

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The Lynnwood Times conducted one-on-one interviews with each of the seven candidates over the course of two days, September 20 and September 23, to share their stance on community engagement, economic development, housing and growth, fiscal responsibility, public safety, and the environment. Each of the candidates were asked the same questions except for two questions – a question on their unique record or experience, and another question on behalf of their opponent. In the case of candidate George Hurst, who is running unopposed, he did not receive a question from his opponent for obvious reasons.

To listen to each candidate’s complete, unabridged, answers to these questions, you may watch the full video interview, included in the bio section of this article. The two unique questions relating to a candidate’s record or experience, and on behalf of their opponent are within the last three questions in the video that are identified as questions 12 and 13.

Below are each of the candidate’s responses as summarized by the Lynnwood Times. Please keep in mind that these summaries are interpreted and condensed, not direct quotes. For a complete and unedited response, readers are encouraged to watch the video interviews at the end of this article. The interviews were conducted at the Sno-Isle Lynnwood Library and South Lynnwood Park.

What are your top three priorities?

Jim Smith (position 4): Public safety is Smith’s number one priority above all else.

Nick Coelho (position 4): Public safety, that the council has a long-term vision, and there is opportunity spread across the city.

Dr. Julieta Altamirano-Crosby (position 5): Public safety, sustainable growth, and mental health.

Robert Leutwyler (position 5): Leutwyler’s top three priorities are housing, transportation and road safety, and public health and safety.

Derek Hanusch (position 7): Hanusch values both sides of the aisle and would like to focus on easing the political divide. He also wants to focus on preparing the city for when the light rail opens next year and adding different sources of revenue rather than only retail sales tax.

David Parshall (position 7): Parshall’s priorities are public safety, transportation, and preparing for growth.

George Hurst (position 6): Hurst’s top three priorities are preparing for growth, which includes housing for all income levels, public safety, and sustainable infrastructure.

If given a $500,000 grant to use in Lynnwood, how would you allocate it in the best interest of residents?

Jim Smith (position 4): Smith would use the funds to bolster the Lynnwood Police Force for the protection of Lynnwood residents and allocate the funds for a drug treatment center.

Nick Coelho (position 4): Coelho would use the funds to leverage for future grants, which is something the parks Department has done in the past, he said.

Dr. Julieta Altamirano-Crosby (position 5): Julieta would allocate the funds for food security and reduce gang activity by establishing after school programs.

Robert Leutwyler (position 5): Leutwyler would like to use those funds to work with businesses and small businesses to clean up the city from paraphernalia, graffiti, and litter.

Derek Hanusch (position 7): Hanusch would like to donate some of the money to the Lynnwood Food Bank but, at large, help fund more ways of providing healthy, nutritious food such as farmer’s markets.

David Parshall (position 7): Parshall would use the funds to support after school recreation programs for students and use some of it to go towards Snohomish County’s LEAD program.

George Hurst (position 6): If Hurst was given a $500,000 grant one of the first things Hurst would do is use it to build transitional housing.

Excluding changing housing and zoning codes, what would you propose to make Lynnwood better for seniors and those with disabilities?

Jim Smith (position 4): Smith emphasized that the senior community is extremely important to him. He believes council members should meet seniors where they are to ask, first-hand, what their needs are.

Nick Coelho (position 4): Coelho would like to make parks and public spaces accessible and invest in social infrastructure – such as the Senior Center. He wants to ensure the council gives seniors a voice and make sure they feel heard.

Dr. Julieta Altamirano-Crosby (position 5): Julieta believes the city is doing a great job to enhance the city’s accessibility as far as ADA and hopes to continue to do so as councilwoman. She hopes to expand services at the Senior Center

Robert Leutwyler (position 5): Leutwyler would like to focus on improving road safety and accessibility for seniors to get around without having to drive a car.

Derek Hanusch (position 7): Hanusch would like to focus on defending against property crimes. 

David Parshall (position 7): Parshall would like to expand the Lynnwood Senior Center and improve its programs.

George Hurst (position 6): Hurst would like to preserve low-income housing for seniors, who are on a fixed income, whether it be controlled rent especially on mobile home parks where many Lynnwood seniors live, he said.

What do you think the City can do to increase engagement by people of color or underrepresented communities in the city’s economic development?

Nick Coelho (position 4): As a small business owner himself, Coelho believes that entrepreneurship is the path to middle class. Civic engagement, additionally, is a way to reach underrepresented communities.

Dr. Julieta Altamirano-Crosby (position 5): Julieta mentioned Lynnwood council is currently working with Garry Clark, CEO if the Snohomish County Economic Alliance, to create a BIPOC Chamber for the county. She also mentioned some of her work she has done to offer bilingual classes in the region and included some of her works within the Latino community.

Robert Leutwyler (position 5): Leutwyler would like to speed up, and decrease costs of, the permitting process for small businesses to remove barriers for people of color to enter the business world in Lynnwood. He also thinks exploring a community land trust could be an innovative solution the city could consider.

Derek Hanusch (position 7): Hanusch returned to the opening of light rail next year, which he says is going to attract more and more people – especially transients. He said he believes the city should do more to encourage homeless individuals to clean up trash.

David Parshall (position 7): Parshall would like to highlight BIPOC-owned businesses or host cultural events to expand engagement and education.

George Hurst (position 6): Hurst believes the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion should be more active and better at advising council, which he admits the council could be better at welcoming their advice.

How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process of the city?

Jim Smith (position 4): Smith wishes to release council members’ phone numbers to the public so they can be contacted at any time with concerns.

Nick Coelho (position 4): Building a civic culture where community engagement is promoted, Coelho said, is key. An example he gave is simply asking what resident’s priorities are so they can feel that changes happening within the city are happening with them, not just around them.

Dr. Julieta Altamirano-Crosby (position 5): Julieta mentioned many of the city’s engagement events, such as the Fair on 44th and her Let’s Talk About Safety events where city officials meet residents to discuss their concerns.

Robert Leutwyler (position 5): Leutwyler would like to push for more engagement from the council on weekends or community events to allow people who may not be able to attend city council meeting and opportunity to voice their concerns and participate in local politics.

Derek Hanusch (position 7): Hanusch thinks the city does a good job with public comments at council meetings but believes there could be more outreach outside of council meetings such as conferences or events at the public library.

David Parshall (position 7): Parshall says he is already working on expanding community engagement by door knocking on resident’s houses to ask what issues they would like addressed. He would like to continue doing this as your city council member.

George Hurst (position 6): Hurst believes council members should get out of the council chambers and meet residents to ask their concerns. He mentioned that most residences with concerns normally only speak up at meetings once it’s already too late.

What do you feel are the top concerns facing small business owners in Lynnwood and what do you propose to address those concerns?

Jim Smith (position 4): Smith believes in reducing taxes on business owners because “we need their services more than we need their tax dollars.” Additionally, he circled back to his commitment toward equipping the police force because he said cracking down on retail theft will also help support businesses.

Nick Coelho (position 4): Barriers of entry, Coelho reiterated, but also keeping business open and located in Lynnwood. He would like to reform zoning to build new spaces for local business owners to have accessible areas to open shop.

Dr. Julieta Altamirano-Crosby (position 5): Safety is the biggest concern, both for business owners and the Lynnwood community at large, according to Dr. Altamirano-Crosby. To address this Dr. Altamirano-Crosby plans to hold a roundtable with local business owners to discuss how to implement a safety plan and address retail theft.

Robert Leutwyler (position 5): Leutwyler returned to his commitment to speeding up the permitting process for businesses opening a new establishment. He would also like to focus on keeping the streets clean.

Derek Hanusch (position 7): Hanusch believes that online shopping will eventually take over from brick and mortar. He expects that most retail spaces will be replaced with apartment complexes and added that he’s more interested in exploring how business will be conducted in the city in the future.

David Parshall (position 7): Public safety, Parshall said, is a big issue as it relates to businesses. He noted that a big source of Lynnwood’s revenue is its retail presence, but business owners should feel safe to operate business in the city.

George Hurst (position 6): One of the biggest concerns is shortage of labor, Hurst said, but that also comes down to wage. One of his goals on council is to encourage businesses to provide a better, livable, wage for their employees.

How would you propose increasing revenue for the City of Lynnwood?

Jim Smith (position 4): Smith believes reducing city spending would increase revenue for the city.

Dr. Julieta Altamirano-Crosby (position 5): Dr. Altamirano-Crosby noted that Lynnwood has one of the highest taxes in the state. She doesn’t believe the city needs to do anything to raise revenue, she believes the city needs to focus on managing the revenue effectively that it currently has coming in first.

Robert Leutwyler (position 5): Leutwyler wants to focus on growing small, local, businesses in Lynnwood.

Derek Hanusch (position 7): Hanusch believes that Lynnwood should explore different areas of revenue generation other than retail, which he says is not sustainable.

David Parshall (position 7): One thing he would not like to do is increase sales tax because that would impact people’s decision to visit Lynnwood to shop. What he does think the city could do is promote Lynnwood as a shopping destination to take advantage of its retail opportunities.

George Hurst (position 6): With a large portion of Lynnwood’s revenue coming from retail and luxury auto dealers, Hurst wishes to ensure the Alderwood mall remains vibrant and inviting by making it a place to go rather than just a place to shop. He added that the council needs to focus on its expenditures first before focusing on bringing in more revenue.

What do you think is the most important infrastructure project needed in Lynnwood right now?

Jim Smith (position 4): Smith believes we should focus on improving our roads, which he said are an important safety concern. This includes repaving and adding sidewalks to increase pedestrian access.

Nick Coelho (position 4): Coelho feels the city needs a robust downtown core, which can act as a sort of “front yard” for apartment dwellers, and social gathering space.

Dr. Julieta Altamirano-Crosby (position 5): Dr. Altamirano-Crosby believes there are many infrastructure projects that need attention in Lynnwood. She’s grateful 196th just recently opened but shared that the Poplar Way Bridge and the Wastewater Treatment Plant are the most important projects currently.

Robert Leutwyler (position 5): Leutwyler believes the city center is huge for economic development. He believes that, with the right city council members in position, the city can really capitalize on the light rail coming in but should focus on building out its transit network.

Derek Hanusch (position 7): Hanusch believes in building more housing, and sober living houses to support those suffering with substance abuse.

David Parshall (position 7): Although excited for light rail, Parshall is concerned how the influx in population is going to increase traffic. To prepare accordingly he said he believes road improvements are the most important to keep maintenance and efficiency to keep congestion down.

George Hurst (position 6): Without hesitation, Hurst said the most important infrastructure project is the Wastewater Treatment Plant. That and supporting the area around the upcoming light rail station – a project which he clarified is Sound Transit’s and not the city of Lynnwood.

If there’s ever a budget shortfall or a recession, what recommendations would you present on how to mitigate the shortfall?

Jim Smith (position 4): Smith believes there could be some cuts but wishes to figure out a way to spend less while offering more services.

Nick Coelho (position 4): The major thing, Coelho said, is setting council’s priorities straight. infrastructure, parks and public spaces, and public safety should be prioritized. He believes the city can do low cost things to increase

Dr. Julieta Altamirano-Crosby (position 5): Dr. Altamirano-Crosby believes we are already passed due for a recession. She believes putting money aside for emergencies is key, using the example of COVID and the city’s response to how it affected the community.

Robert Leutwyler (position 5): Leutwyler believes in keeping reserve funds to be prepared for an economic downturn and look at discretionary spending to pause or postpone projects to reduce costs.

Derek Hanusch (position 7): Hanusch believes in putting funds into a reserve fund that could be used for a financial crisis.

David Parshall (position 7): Parshall’s number one recommendation is to ensure that essential services keep flowing.

George Hurst (position 6): Hurst used the example of COVID as being an example of having to make cuts. Police and roads are the priorities when making cuts, he said, but if there is another major recession it’s important to have a “rainy day fund” – which the council already has in place for a couple months buffer.

Regarding public safety, what do you think the city is doing right and where might there be opportunity for improvement?

Jim Smith (position 4): Smith believes there needs to be an adequate number of police. “If we don’t have public safety in Lynnwood nothing else matters,” Smith said. “Beautiful parks would not matter unless people feel safe entering those parks.”

Nick Coelho (position 4): The important part is ensuring our law enforcement is fully staffed, Coelho said. Road safety and preventative maintenance is also key.

Dr. Julieta Altamirano-Crosby (position 5): What the city is doing right, Dr. Altamirano-Crosby said, is that the city is proactive on public safety. She added that every single resource they have they use. She says engagement is key, but it is already in place adding that the city recently passed an ordinance to regulate public drug use.

Robert Leutwyler (position 5): Leutwyler praised the Lynnwood Police Department for its strong sense of community. Where he thinks the city is lacking is not investing enough in mental health and housing solutions, which he believes is setting up the police department up for failure.

Derek Hanusch (position 7): Hanusch praised the Lynnwood Police Department and mentioned he has participated in their Citizen’s Academy three times. He said an opportunity is fostering more community engagement.

David Parshall (position 7): One of the things Parshall is concerned about is that it’s a tough time to hire first responders. He wants to ensure that Lynnwood stays competitive to ensure the Lynnwood PD is hiring the best officers they can. He thinks engagement events are a great way to build trust with community members.

George Hurst (position 6): What the city is doing right is rebuilding staffing in the police department, Hurst said. He would like to see more mental health professionals working in conjunction with the police.

Lynnwood is home many parks and trails. What would you propose to improve the City’s green spaces?

Jim Smith (position 4): Smith is proud of the number of green spaces the city of Lynnwood has but wishes to preserve them. He would like to see the development of Rowe Park come to completion and have Gold Park cleaned up from public drug use and homelessness.

Nick Coelho (position 4): Coelho would ask the people to start taking part, such as getting groups together to weed out invasive species from parks. He would love to create a community-led program to get involved so they feel they are a part of the park’s preservation.

Dr. Julieta Altamirano-Crosby (position 5): Dr. Altamirano-Crosby commended the Parks and Recreation Department noting that they are recognized nation-wide. She noted that improvement to parks and green spaces starts with understanding the City’s needs. An area with a highly Asian community, for example, may differ than a predominately Latino community so it’s understanding the area and what its people’s needs are.

Robert Leutwyler (position 5): Leutwyler would want to focus on a climate action plan for the city to lay out what the city could do to promote green space while reducing climate change. He cycled back to road safety, mentioning that trees can also be used as a natural barrier to slow traffic down and create a natural barrier to reduce collisions.

Derek Hanusch (position 7): Hanusch has visited many of Lynnwood’s parks. He loves the remodel of South Lynnwood Park and loves to take his grandparents to parks. He would like to clean up Lynnwood’s parks from homeless individuals.

David Parshall (position 7): Parshall would love to see amenities added to city parks, which he believes would reduce crime. By bringing in activities, such as disc gold courses, he believes it brings more people with a vested interest in the parks.

George Hurst (position 6): Hurst believes that the city should be able to increase green spaces, which is why the city has a park impact fee. The city recently purchased the parcel, where Goodwill is currently, for the soul purpose of building a new park. He commended the Parks Department for its ability to secure grants that went towards buying new land to build more parks.

Where are your favorite places to spend in Lynnwood and why?

Jim Smith (position 4): Smith loves to take his new puppy to the parks around the city. The parks in general, he said, are just wonderful because of their immense beauty.

Nick Coelho (position 4): Coelho’s favorite place in Lynnwood right now is Alderwood Mall. It’s the one place in the city where he feels pedestrians are prioritized. It’s the city’s downtown area without having one, he said.

Dr. Julieta Altamirano-Crosby (position 5): South Lynnwood Park is Dr. Altamirano-Crosby’s favorite place in Lynnwood. She loves the recent improvements, including the addition of the mural.

Robert Leutwyler (position 5): Leutwyler loves where he lives in the Meadowdale area. He loves how many parks and trails he can easily access.

Derek Hanusch (position 7): Hanusch’s favorite place in Lynnwood is Scriber Park. He enjoys walking through the park and “philosophizing.”

David Parshall (position 7): Parshall loves walking the Interurban Trail and doing water sports on Martha Lake.

George Hurst (position 6): Hurst’s favorite place in Lynnwood currently is Dave and Buster’s at Alderwood. He believes it is a great place to take the family, hold an event, and ultimately have fun.

Lynnwood City Council Position 4 candidates

Jim Smith


Jim Smith has four daughters, two grandchildren, and a Shiatsu puppy named Lulu. He and his wife Sherry live in the Lynndale neighborhood of Lynnwood. He has lived a life of diversity telling us that for most of his childhood he grew up in the Pacific and Asia.

Jim has two bachelor’s degrees — one in Business Management and the other in Pre-Law. He has extensive Council experience and achievements and considers public safety to be his top priority.  Jim is committed to prioritizing families as well as seniors. 

For decades Jim has owned a local business with dozens of employees.

He has produced local events such as Lynnwood’s Tree Lighting Ceremony, Lynnwood 4th of July Festival, and Lynnwood’s National Day of Payer. Jim is the founder of the Lynnwood Chamber of Commerce.

While serving on the City Council, Jim has a proven record of lowering taxes and supporting small businesses. He is a strong advocate for keeping Lynnwood’s parks beautiful and safe, having voted to purchase and improve many of Lynnwood’s parks.

Nick Coelho


Nick Coelho lives, works, and founded his dream business “Around the Table” in Lynnwood 10 years ago. He and his wife Layla have enjoyed being contributing members of the community, and Nick has leveraged his pub for years to fundraise for local charities and good causes.

Besides volunteering in the community, he has served on the Lynnwood Parks & Recreations Advisory Board for 5 years and has also represented Lynnwood residents on many other regional boards and commissions.

He is endorsed by the South County Fire Fighters Union, Lynnwood Police Guild, Snohomish & Island County Labor Council, as well as many others.

For a full list of his supporters, please visit www.NickForLynnwood.com

Lynnwood City Council Position 5 candidates

Dr. Julieta Altamirano-Crosby


Dr. Julieta Altamirano-Crosby came to this area a number of years ago with her husband and daughter, and immediately began acting to improve access to education for all people who are unfamiliar with the school system. With her Master’s degrees in education and communications, her PhD as a social researcher, and under the auspices of WA-GRO, the nonprofit organization she founded, Dr. Altamirano-Crosby has connected thousands of families over the years to education and housing, while modeling active community engagement.

As the former chair of Snohomish County Health District, Dr. Altamirano-Crosby has also facilitated access to both physical and mental health care. Now serving as Lynnwood city council vice-president, she is not resting on her 4-year record, but is continuing to support and take action on public safety, sustainable growth, and improved access to mental health care and community health.

Robert Leutwyler


Robert Leutwyler moved to Puget Sound in 2010 after being assigned to Joint Base Lewis McChord. He served for five years in the Army, including as an Infantry Platoon Leader during a combat deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Commendations he received include the Bronze Star Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge.

After completing his active-duty military service, he chose to put down roots in the region and transitioned to a managerial role supporting the largest multi-employer defined benefit pension in the US.

He currently works at a Fortune 100 managing international programs, improving employee financial health and wellbeing. While working, he also earned his Master of Business Administration from the UW Foster School of Business.

Lynnwood City Council Position 7 candidates

Derek Hanusch


Derek Hanusch is a community activist in Lynnwood and has been listening to people talk about what is important to them since the 2008 housing crisis. He spent much of his twenties “living on the streets,” as he calls it, in San Diego and has a special passion for addressing the homeless crisis and helping homeless people.

According to Hanusch, Lynnwood is the first city where he’s really felt welcome.

He is running for Lynnwood City Council Position 7 and would be proud to represent the people of Lynnwood on the City Council.

David Parshall


David Parshall has deep ties to the Lynnwood community. His parents met while they were teachers at old Lynnwood Junior High School. David he was born at Steven’s Hospital and grew up in the Lynnwood area where he attended local schools such as Lynndale, Hilltop and Lynnwood elementaries.

He later attended the University of Washington and holds a bachelor’s degree in political science, a Master’s Degree in Education, and a Washington State teaching certificate.

In the 2000’s David returned to the area and purchased a home in Lynnwood to be closer to his job teaching and coaching in the Edmonds School District. He taught government and coached basketball at both Lynnwood High School and Mountlake Terrace High School.

David initially became interested in Lynnwood city government because of teaching and started regularly attending city council meetings seven years ago. In the past 12 months he’s observed nearly every city council meeting in person in preparation to serve the people of Lynnwood.

He is endorsed by Lynnwood police Officers, South County Firefighters, and many local officials. Please visit Parshall for Lynnwood dot com for even more information about David.

Lynnwood City Council Position 6 candidates

George Hurst


George Hurst is seeking his third term on the Lynnwood City Council. George and his wife Pam have been married for over 48 years and have been residents of Lynnwood since 1992. Their four children all graduated from Lynnwood High School, when it was still located in the City of Lynnwood.

George has a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and political science from the University of Washington and a Master’s degree in American History from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

He is a graduate of the Leadership Snohomish County Signature Program, and the Association of Washington Cities has awarded him the Certificate of Municipal Leadership.

In 2021 George and Pam Hurst were nominees for the Snohomish County Human Rights Commission’s Transformational Leadership Award because of their work in assisting displaced low-income tenants during the demolition of the Whispering Pines apartment complex in Lynnwood.

George has recently retired from a 40-year career in the commercial lighting industry and now devotes his full-time attention to serving the City he loves, Lynnwood.

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