Breaking News! We can do better! Position #1

This afternoon I put my name in for the City Council position #1, currently occupied by Councilor Rick Ryan!  We can do better!

I am looking for people willing to help get a Candidate who is FOR the current citizens of Mountlake Terrace and not beholden to special interest groups.  I have tirelessly worked for the interest of you, people of Mountlake Terrace.  Most recently I have been serving you on the City Hall Advisory Committee trying to get the committee to a frugal, modest and reasonable City Hall offer.  (More on that later...) I have been speaking with your elected Councilors, trying to get them to see what is reasonable to today's citizens! Contribute your time, your yard (for a sign), your voice (toward your neighbors and friends), organize a meet the candidate event, help meet the expenses of this race (no dollar turned away [smile]) and engage in changing the fabric of the City Council!

A Citizen Activist on the 2017 election (Guest comments)

posted Oct 22, 2017, 1:11 AM by Stephen Barnes   [ updated Oct 22, 2017, 12:31 PM ]

Background on Len French
For twenty plus years, Leonard (Len) French has been a voice for the ordinary citizen.  When I met him in 2013 he had already ran for office, had a major hand in gathering a nearly 2000 signature effort to stymie more than three stories for downtown (he showed me some of the signature lists), pushed back against two overpriced versions of Mountlake Terrace City Hall at 37 and 25 million dollars.  When I decided to run for City Council that year, he joined me as a candidate.

While he is no longer the front and center voice of MLT citizen sentiment, below is a letter (which I have permission to air) he sent to MLT News chief Teresa Wippel for the 2017 MLT Candidate Night to ask her to be relevant for the voters, asking the tough questions for which we really need answers.  (In case you are wondering, she did not address the issues as he asked.) [NOTE: Comments in brackets below are my own as is the bolding. Candidates are bolded and in italics below]  He concluded his comments to her in a second letter which summarizes his concern and restates some burning issues, including a complicit news media.

I realize Len French has both friends and foes in our community, but the issues he raises are truly important for the future of our wonderful suburban town.
Stephen (Steve) Barnes, Candidate for MLT City Council, Position One

Len French to Teresa Wippel of MLT News on the eve of the MLT Candidate Night


As you will be MC tonight, I wondered if you might explore a couple of the issues upon which there seems to be clear differences among the candidates in order to clarify positions for voters.

The first is about the future of downtown and the efficacy of the Downtown Plan.  After attending a council presentation by staff concerning the future of downtown last Spring, I know current council members have differing ideas about what has happened so far and also about the "vision."  As Margaret [Loiseau] has mentioned in her campaign material, Laura asked that night about exactly "what is the vision?"  She and others are clearly troubled at the difference between what was promised and what has evolved.  Is it a function of what the citizenry, particularly those in neighborhoods around downtown, want or are we following the latest planning ideas suggested by staff?  Kyoko [M-Wright] even made that point.

In the video interviews [recorded prior to the meeting] you did and in various council statements at meetings, there is an obvious divide concerning a key variable of that plan - the height of buildings in the core.  Rick Ryan and Stephen Barnes said that 14 stories was not something council would support while Jerry Smith said what he has long believed - that 14 or even 15 stories is totally OK.  You framed it perfectly by asking Kyoko [Wright] and Seaun [Richards] about how they would respond to constituents who do not want such an obtrusive presence in their neighborhood.  They both demurred by saying that people "should keep an open mind" before then suggesting that their open mind thinks it has to eventually be OK.   That's trying to have it both ways which disrespects both your question and the people they represent.  Maybe you can flush that out.  Its important not only for this election but for our future.

The other issue is parking for the Sound Transit Station, which as you know has been contentious in the community and between council members - at least those who are listening to their constituents.  Although he has not really been asked directly, Jerry Smith is at one end of the spectrum in saying repeatedly that "we are holding them to their promises."  Followed by the rest of the sitting council, that is an opaque shorthand for 'we won't get an adequately parked station because it wasn't included in the 2008 promises made for ST 2'.  Kyoko [M-Wright] says what Stephen Barnes says - that we should be treated equally with other stations.  But her next comment is that we can't let them "cut corners" as if to say that if ST holds us to our own council's 2008 inattentiveness on this super-important detail that they (ST) are somehow cutting corners. 

Steven Barnes represents the other pole; it isn't fair to MLT to be treated any different than 145th, 185th or Lynnwood, who all will have 500 more spaces than they have today.  We will actually have less than we have today.  He and, I believe from listening, some responsible council members want the shortfall addressed now, no matter the previous negligence on whoever's part.  That is, by the way, the only way that parking around the downtown will not become a further Achilles heel of future development plans in the area.

From my perspective, these issues are conjoined around the bigger matter of accountability.  The Downtown Plan (DP) is now 10 years old, yet council still wonders what the vision is.  What they really want to know is why what was promised isn't actually happening.  Well, they are the council who voted in the Plan.  Rather than wasting more money on yet another Economic Development Coordinator (EDC), maybe they should revisit their expectations and their own implementation.  A new EDC cannot lure new businesses to the downtown any better than the previous one did if the basic layout of traffic and parking remains unaddressed (see above comment about ST parking).  For free, any leasing representative of retail or office spaces will tell them that.  The current council will at one venue extol the virtues of the DP while in another wonder why it isn't working.  Can you not tease out some answers?

The ST parking issue is also about accountability.  Why isn't the council that was sitting at the time responsible for explaining the lack of a parking promise to MLT when other stations got that promise?  That includes Kyoko [M-Wright], Rick [Ryan] and Jerry [Smith].  Claiming they are holding ST to a non-existent promise or that ST is now somehow "cutting corners" as Kyoko put it is disingenuous in the extreme.  It is also the height of irresponsibility to now act like they, who were on council at the time, aren't accountable for that failing.

The City Hall issue is a long running blood draw, also for which no one is held to account.   One comment I hear repeatedly, even from people who are now voting for it is, "why has it taken this long and so much wasted money to get to an affordable proposition?"  If allowed, I would ask each sitting council member if they have any remorse over the $5 million that has been wasted on rent and on the levy lid lift when an affordable plan was available to be put on the ballot in 2006, 2007 and again in 2008 before the old building was demolished?  They gleefully take credit for the $12.5 million idea, but they did the same for the $37 million and the two $25 million measures.  If they would have merely asked for $8-10 million in 2008, (the cost then in current dollars of $12.5 million), we would already have the building.  The answer to this puzzle is that our once swollen cash hoard has been squandered on their delusions of grandeur.  Now we need a levy lid lift just to survive.  Who is responsible?


Thx for the consideration, Teresa.  The essence of what I am saying is that allowing the candidates (or eventually council members) to frame the perspective from which these issues are viewed hasn't served us very well as regards either the Downtown Plan's realization or parking in and around downtown - including now the issue of ST making the parking shortage here much worse.  Doing it the way you suggest allows them to continue escaping accountability for the problems we now face, including the budgetary hole created by 10 years of unnecessary rent. 

Seaun [Richards] made a reference to "kicking the can down the road" in reference to the capital needs such as the Recreation Pavilion.  The city hall can has been kicked down the road for nearly ten years by continually asking more than citizens feel they can afford.  If they go about the Pavilion in the same take it or leave it manner, they shouldn't expect a short process there either.

Its OK for outsiders or even idealistic residents to idealize a future which requires fewer cars, but for the foreseeable future (our lifetimes), cars are integral to our lifestyles.  Anyone who doesn't believe that should simply look at the streets around downtown once the park'n'ride is full - or even before some days.  If MLTNEWS isn't going to ask questions directly enough to disallow candidates willful ignoring the crux of this matter, who will?

City Hall 2017, yes or no

posted Oct 19, 2017, 10:22 AM by Stephen Barnes   [ updated Oct 19, 2017, 11:40 AM ]

In 2015 I introduced the tall campaign signs with the Tagline "Working today for an affordable tomorrow". This was after working to defeat a hopelessly overpriced City Hall project in 2013 (It was twice the Northwest Region construction cost index at over $1000 per square foot!). I wanted a city hall, just not a terribly overpriced one. 
In January of this year I was appointed to the City Hall Advisory Committee. There I joined a number of other citizens who were interested in getting a new City Hall for Mountlake Terrace. While I have been in favor of the City Hall for quite some time, I couldn't in good faith be for a plan costing twice as much as the NW building cost. Thus I stood against the 2012 and 2013 twenty five (25) million dollar efforts. It should have been about 12.5 million based on the market at that point. (Now where have I seen that number?) 

Am I for this year's plan? On the one hand it represents a reduced overall cost and potential space reduction* that MLT hasn't been offered by the current City Council to this point.  While the original plan proposed basically the same square footage as in 2012 & 2013, this plan reflects a reduction by the public committee in which I participated AND a further reduction by the City Council.  While the Committee forwarded an 11.6 million dollar plan to our City Council to only build the city hall, I championed including a desperately needed Police space addition. In fact, at least four times I came before the City Council asking that they recognize the shrinkage of office space in the marketplace (if you are in a downsized office space you definitely know what I mean!) and present the whole package (city hall AND police station addition) for 11.6 million. After consulting with former NO on Prop One folks and my fervent repeated request, they did drop the total package from 13.4 to the 12.5 million dollar amount you see in your bond. 

Because this bond request requires YES voters AND a large total number of voters, I urge you to vote, vote YES (and mark BARNES for position One while you are at it!) 

*because the space is money divided by market construction rate. The rate used by the lead architect and the committee was higher than the market but the post committee decision brought it closer to the market rate.  

Thank You, fellow Terrace citizens!

posted Sep 4, 2017, 2:18 PM by Stephen Barnes

THANK YOU for your previous confidence!  Now vote for me once again!

Thanks to each who previously considered me as a new choice for the council and the thousand plus who voted Steve Barnes after all.  We all know that only a turned in ballot can be counted.

I visited so many of you in the previous election cycles, hundreds. Thank you for the overwhelmingly kind greeting at your door. This time too many are encouraged that a regular citizen is taking the time to run for MLT City Council!  Be sure to get your ballot in to be counted.  Maybe you will have questions? Maybe you want to have a yard sign?  Maybe you want to have me talk to your circle of friends and neighbors? I am open. 

Just 28% of our registered MLT voters sent in a ballot in the 2015 election, voting in my race.  (Even less for the unopposed slots.) I believe in the participation of citizens!  

Pick up if I call (206-293-2366 if you have caller ID) or open the door if I visit.  Let's talk about our great city!

Stephen Barnes, interested citizen and Candidate for City Council position #1! 

Frog in a Pot: a Terrace Saga

posted Oct 19, 2015, 11:50 AM by Stephen Barnes   [ updated Oct 21, 2017, 8:30 AM ]

This is the expanded version of an issues statement I sent into the Everett Herald which appeared on October 13, 2015.  Sometimes we can't view the whole picture, but we get indications of our City health by small measures:

Frog in a pot: a parking saga
Mountlake Terrace has been granting reductions to parking for any builder who will listen and that will impact your neighborhood (and our future downtown) if you are within a half mile of our "downtown" and will severely impact your parking if you are within 1/3 mile of the transit hub.  It is soon to be joined by a light rail component (more parked cars) and over 650 apartments.  That will add to the parking dilemma transit users already face with a parking garage filled years ahead of the predictions.  Expect to see some of their cars in nearby streets as well.
You probably remember the old story about a frog in a tepid pot where the temperature rises and rises until the frog is cooked?  That frog is us and the cook is the current Terrace City Council, including my long-tenured opponent.  The record is one of continuously increased density.  In 2006 they came up with a brilliant idea to fix our 30 year stagnant growth by talking up a new city hall.  (Yep, we have had 30 years hanging around 20,000, give or take a few hundred.)  Anyway, as they continued the discussion in 2009, they imagined small ten story skyscrapers and underground utilities, an infrastructure to help like the three million they had included in the latest two city hall proposals (which not enough people said "yes" to) for a downtown 100 year drainage system that all new downtown builders must buy in to at a substantial discount to building something compliant themselves which you provide.  As a side note, Vineyard Park which was recently completed benefited from "your" investment: they stated they saved over half the cost of complying with the 100 year standard themselves.  Recently the Council was told that the infrastructure we are scheduled to pay has spiraled upward from eleven million to as much as 25 million (more if you include that 100 year drainage)!  Then the mayor himself said that he might not have gone ahead if he understood the cost creep it has undergone.
Why should this interest you?  First of all, your name is on the bill for this adventure the Council calls Town Center.  In 2006 the opposition to going any higher than three stories was wiped away.  Yes, they did have town meetings but it was the very small minority which spoke for an urbanized town center which was to be kicked off by a new City Hall, based on their own published materials (the Dec 2009 updated Town Center plan available on the City's website).  The Council did not (hats off) go for ten story building heights in our little downtown area which they had first suggested to you, the public.  They settled for a block of seven story and then five and four stories permitted in the core area and down mainstreet (56th) a permitted three story height.  (So why did they allow a five story building on 244th, currently under construction?  But I digress...)
Well, what does that have to do with parking?  Because the city staff in behalf of the "vision" of the current council has been granting exceptions to our reasonable  2009 agreed ordinances of 1.25 parking spaces required per home downtown. That was changed at least twice since then. 

How did the City's regulations state it?  The regulations state: "Recommended parking requirement:  In order to create a vibrant, mixed use district, it is important that the area is neither under or over parked. Using shared parking strategies, realistic parking requirements are two spaces per 1,000 square feet for most retail and office uses. For residential units, an average of one space per unit, plus an additional guest space to be shared between every four units, is optimal. 

The original cry when the city came up with the urban center idea was that there should be one parking space for every new home in an apartment building downtown.  Is that suddenly not realistic?  When downtown signature piece Arbor Village was drawn up, the city gave them a sweetheart deal: build 123 units (that's 153 parking spots for apartments based on the 2009 agreement with you PLUS 20 more for the businesses for a grand total of 174) but we will only require 123 parking spaces TOTAL of the builder.  And that despite the fact that business customers should have a place to park too!  Some of you neighbors knows where the others are parking.
What can we do about it?  As your candidate willing to represent the majority suburbanites, you need a voice questioning benefits to builders that end up on your and my back.  I propose to be that voice if you will send in your ballot, voting for Steve Barnes, City Council position #1 (now) 

Some grist for thought for those who like details:
Some of the recent approvals (from the city staff reports):
 Mountlake Senior Living (that was supposed to be the name of Vineyard Park downtown, but the owners decided to use it differently) 5525 244th St SW Develop a 0.86 acre vacant lot with approximately 96 units of affordable, independent senior housing (55 and older, not state licensed). The proposal also includes garage parking for bicycles and vehicles, pedestrian activity area, shared open space, and landscaping. Request to reduce parking requirements approved. What they don't say, there is only 54 or 55 parking spots for what may be multiple-car tenants in the 96 home building.

 Hall Lake Townhomes 5913 212th Pl SW 8 new townhomes in two, 3 story buildings on a 0.52 acre lot. Existing singular family residential home was demolished.

 Arbor Village 23601 56th Ave W One 5 story mixed use building on a 1.3 acre parcel with about 10,000 sq. ft. commercial space and 123 leased residences, 2 levels of parking garage, interior courtyard, and pedestrian activity areas along 56 & 57th Avenues W and 236th St SW. What is not mentioned is that originally the East side of that lot was to be three story.  And according to their 2009 agreement with you the 123 parking spots should have been 174!  Have you noticed the pinch nearby?

 234th Street Townhomes 5503 234th St SW One mixed use building with about 650 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor and 1 residential unit above, and 1 building with 6 townhomes, together with parking, landscaping, and pedestrian activity area. Existing single home was demolished. Lot size: 0.26 acre

 Terrace at Park West Townhomes Short Plat 21309 48th Ave W Subdivide one 1.36‐acre multifamily lot into 2 multifamily lots. Proposed Lot 1 will retain the existing Park West condominium complex. Proposed Lot 2 will be developed with a 27‐unit townhouse project, for which land use approval was received on June 5, 2013, and subdivided under a fee simple unit lot subdivision process

  Promenade Living @ Towne Square 23713 56th Ave W Develop a 0.83‐acre lot with a 3‐story, mixed‐use development consisting of 47 multifamily residential units and commercial eating/drinking establishments. The proposal also includes surface and under‐structure parking, shared open space, pedestrian activity area and landscaping. The existing single‐family residential home will be demolished. What they don't say is that the only way to get to the parking is a very narrow lane in the residential neighborhood.

  Andorra Estates 22817 Lakeview Dr Proposal to add 242 new multifamily units to a 14.3‐acre site already developed with 193 multifamily units. 32 of the existing units would be demolished. What they don't say, they granted a reduction of over 150 spaces versus the EXISTING parking code!  From over 700 to in the 500's.

 Kings Gate 24007 56th Ave W Construct a mixed‐use (commercial/residential) project in the Town Center District with 3,475 square feet of commercial space and 46 residential units on a 0.93‐acre site. Includes shared open space, landscaping, and vehicular/bicycle parking, and pedestrian activity area. The existing structures will be demolished. Land use expires January 29, 2015.

  52nd Ave West 21216 52nd Ave W Construct a 63‐unit multi‐household building with under‐structure parking on a 0.94‐acre lot, together with other site improvements. Existing structures will be demolished. Land use approval expires September 5, 2014.  

 Vineyard Park (formerly Mountlake Senior Living) 23008 56th Ave W Construct a 3‐ and 4‐story mixed‐use assisted living community development consisting of 80 housing units and 29‐30 memory care beds, 8,241 sf., commercial space, under‐structure and surface parking consisting of 38 parking spaces (most of which are already used per a downtown resident even though the project is one-third occupied acc to last report), pedestrian activity area, shared open space, and landscaping. All existing structures have been demolished.

[not in their reports]
What hasn't yet been discussed: the affordable housing of the trailer park on 244th (some may not like it but it is a means for the less financially capable to have a home) is within the expansion area of the finalized 2009 boundaries.  The park straddles up to the 2nd street north and is completely within the buildout zone depicted in city reports.

Q & A for MLT News

posted Oct 19, 2015, 10:52 AM by Stephen Barnes   [ updated Sep 4, 2017, 9:41 AM ]

As a followup to the video interview from the 2015 voting season (click here) and the general statements each of us made, MLT News (  asked each of us to complete a questionnaire.  Mine follows:

1. What makes you the most qualified of the candidates to serve on the Mountlake Terrace City Council?
I am not a career politician and recognize that the vast majority of Terrace citizens are suburbanites who moved here BECAUSE of the suburban life that current Council policies are eroding.  I have a degree in Real Estate and will be able to hit the ground running in regards to most city business.  On Council, I will represent the citizens and vote on behalf of the “suburban majority.”
2. If elected, what would be your priorities as a City Councilmember?
An election does not stop the pressing flow of matters that the City Council faces.  My top priority is getting more information to the citizens so they can feel ownership in the governance of our great city.  From their input I will be able to represent them on issues as they come before the Council.  I am for a careful-citizen approach to the issues we face, so we can craft a bright future together. I am for an affordable City Hall budget that citizens can back fully, repair of facilities that have not been addressed, such as the Pavilion, and continuing the great services of our City, waste management, fire and police departments.
3. The voters have turned down funding for a new City Hall a number of times. Should the voters be given another option to fund a new City Hall or should the City consider alternative plans/funding options?
My video interview on MLT News addresses this issue in more detail, but, if the City goes with a simplified plan which conforms to the costs of northwest construction (not twice the NW Index as has been the case in the past), I would be in favor of it.  If it does not, renting is not a horrible or expensive alternative given the $750,000 dollar investment the current leasing firm agreed to just to put the existing city hall package together.
4. What can the City do to encourage businesses to locate in the City and in particular Town Center?
Current parking rules are creating a tremendous obstacle for new businesses desiring to locate in downtown.  We see the effect in the non-leased space in the Arbor Village building.  These regulations should be reversed or alternative parking solutions, such as a central parking garage, found.  Also, we should assign designated City staff to work on attracting specific businesses, as has been done in the past.  That should be done more intensely, maybe in cooperation with a builder who will work with the City to fulfill the small town center dream we all would like.
5. Attendance at City Council meetings can be relatively sparse at times. What would you do to increase citizen involvement in government?
I am on record as seeking to create a body of active citizens who can be counted on to review and comment on matters before the Council.  Should the voters elect me, I will actively implement that strategy.
6. What do you like best about living in Mountlake Terrace?
My spouse and I gladly call Mountlake Terrace our home and have for nearly thirty years.  Mountlake Terrace is a wonderful, quiet and safe town that is close to cultural happenings, natural beauty (beach, lake and forest), and diverse social events.  With excellent resources such as the Recreation Pavilion, numerous parks and high quality schools, as well as a responsive police force and cheerful neighbors, it is a place for people and families of all ages to enjoy.

Our dwindling reserve...

posted Sep 17, 2015, 12:01 PM by Stephen Barnes

Lest we forget...

In 2006, when Laura Sonmore had already served five years, we had an overall reserve of TEN MILLION dollars.  Today that overall reserve is around two million (from former City Manager Caulfield's report in August 2012).  

In 2008 the current council's leadership asked consultants to tell them what their full wish list for a civic center would cost.  They were told (the report is still available on the City website) eight to twelve (8-12) million and 18 million at the outside for a lease to own building.  

How did this council respond?  They came to you after many public meetings with a 42 (that's right, forty two) million dollar proposal which they "whittled down" to thirty seven million for the 2010 ballot.  You, reasonably, the voters of Mountlake Terrace, rejected that amount overwhelmingly!

In 2012 they found some space elsewhere to take part of the building's planned occupants and came to you again in Fall of 2012.  Even though the cost was more than two times the average construction costs in the Northwest according to a commercial building index (the planned $1000 per square foot cost versus top end $400 per square foot per commercial building index) you narrowly said no.  When they lost that special ballot, their consultants told them to drop the price five million dollars (again, available still on and talk with your opponents to figure out a compromise.  This council decided to do neither!

In April of 2013 this council (in violation of PDC rules as I understand them, by using the City Newsletter) twice blasted their message loud and clear on your doorstep.  Any changes from the previous offer?  NOT ONE!  I later found out that the 25 million dollar bond DID NOT include parking!  A shy million dollar extra expenditure left out that they "would figure out later."

THIS FALL, November 2015,you will have a new chance at a fresh vote.  This website is not perfect, but it will hopefully grow on you and can give you some perspective on a season of choice you will have again.  As it turns out, Laura's track record is clear.  She votes with the big city within our town mentality.*

Remember me?

posted Aug 28, 2015, 5:52 PM by Stephen Barnes

In 2013 I ran with two other candidates, using this website.  
(Thus there may still be some vestiges of that campaign on it.)  I ran at that time against Doug McCardle.  Please note, I did not consider him a bad person, but he did live in my neighborhood and was running for a second term.

The 2013 election was a thriller.  In the end, if only 130 who voted would have switched their vote, I would now be on the City Council representing you.  So, you the voter have given me hope to run a second time.

Squeezing the Voter: the BAN loan

posted Oct 21, 2013, 2:03 PM by Stephen Barnes   [ updated Oct 21, 2013, 2:19 PM ]

If you want bigger and better toys or you want to push people into a corner, you just go out and get it.  If the other folks don't like it, there is always an election.  PRECISELY!  This November you can say NO loud and clear!

When the current council wanted to live in style* in the interim while getting you to pay twice as much as the prevailing rate for construction of a new civic center**, they did what is called in sales lingo an assumptive close: they assumed you would want so badly to get a shiny new city hall/civic center you would willingly overpay to get it done now.  That is why they called it a Bond Anticipation Note (BAN).  They anticipated you would pass a thirty seven million dollar bond like sheep.  But you weren't quite as willing as they had hoped.

Even though their lease deal included seven months of free rent (so they really didn't pay anything for the first half year plus), the 2.2 million dollars they borrowed on an expensive line of credit*** was still fully drawn down except for 600,000 dollars.  That means, despite reporting that they drew on some ongoing one-time funds to pay part of the rent, the current council has STILL left you on the hook for most of the rent for the fancy facility they have borrowed at your expense.

That 1.6 million they say will be spent by the end of this year is of course more than that after we pay for it over the planned next seven years.  Interest will add almost enough to equal one year's rent at the current facility over the full term!  So we pay (actually DON'T PAY) for five years and add another year in cost because we chose one of the most expensive rental buildings in Mountlake Terrace.  How is that good stewardship?

*See my notes on "Why the current council likes the term 'Interim'"
**See my notes on the "Home" page near the bottom on what is possible versus what they wanted you to pay in Fall of 2012 and Spring of 2013.
***My brother, a City Councilor in Maple Valley, reported that South King County cities were getting loans near 1% at a time when we took a short-term 4% loan.

Join Our Effort: VOTE for the Challengers and TELL your friends!

posted Oct 19, 2013, 2:01 PM by Stephen Barnes

Why You Should Join Our Effort

When we moved to Mountlake Terrace more than two decades ago, it was known as a sleepy, but safe town.  We enjoyed walks in the many parks of our city and benefited from the low key style of its citizens.  This was gentle suburbia.

EdmondsRealty pic of Lake Ballinger

The exorbitantly priced Civic Center isn't the only city council initiative which is out of step with the community the current council serves.

For at least seven years, the City Council under Mayor Jerry Smith and other long term members, have agitated relentlessly for a more densely populated City with lower on-site parking requirements.  That may all serve a larger regional purpose, but is that what you want?  Do you want mid-rise shadows encroaching on your neighborhood? Have you seen how massive that new Arbor Village development is up close?  [Update: as I have addressed items in this news article, it is interesting to see the city has taken action.  Now the city is redrawing the East/West lanes to reduce the westbound lane widths to provide a better turn path eastbound.  The developer has now put in larger trees.  The parking is still minimal. ]

Much more of that is the current City Council's vision for what is now a much expanded downtown.   With the current effort of the Council to pass an extension in the Core of future heights up to FIVE stories North of 236th and FOUR stories right across from single and two story homes on 237th, their vision is coming to YOUR neighborhood and likely many more.  (See Code revision passed just May 6, 2013 for details.)  Is that what you want?

I didn't think so.  And that is why you have an historic opportunity to vote out part of the Council this November.  I urge you to consider the three Challengers found on these pages (including myself). I urge you to tell others about our efforts to return City Hall to the citizens.  I urge you to give voice and time and funds to help us return honest, transparent government and frugal spending practices to your Council! 

Stephen Barnes introduces himself in the Herald

posted Sep 26, 2013, 1:15 PM by Stephen Barnes   [ updated Sep 26, 2013, 2:54 PM ]

[Note: The participants were only allowed 200 words... I have added one paragraph in brackets.]

What will you get with Stephen Barnes as your voice at the Terrace City Council?
I will insist on greater openness toward the citizens, honesty in processes and a careful pocketbook attitude! Vote for me, Stephen Barnes, this November!

I know Mountlake Terrace. I understand how to work with others and defend your perspective as a citizen at the same time. For the last 25-plus years my spouse and I have lived here. I also celebrate 30 years of public service at Metro this year and two decades as a worker union representative. Contributing to private and public groups over the years, I am currently serving on two boards. 

What have the current City Council people been doing? Told by their own hired experts they could construct a city hall complex for as little as $8 million, they came to us with a $37 million structure. Soundly defeated at the 2010 polls, they returned with a one floor shorter structure, which you also defeated. Pursuing a dense city-within-our-town idea, huge Arbor Village with five stories and minimal parking is a foretaste of what they want. 

[When the current council wanted to increase the future height North and South of 236th E of the freeway, I spoke out for the owners and renters suggesting they show good faith toward the occupants by NOT increasing the height allowance on the South side of 236th from three stories to four stories.  They didn’t even honor my request with a response.  When I suggested they should at least have notified the current occupants specifically, they said they would be relying on public surveys from 2008. When they surveyed the public sentiment in early 2012, they ignored their own results to pursue the city hall project a second time.]

See for more details and vote for Stephen Barnes for Position No. 3.

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