Edmonds Election Watch 2011: Challenger Hope at Edmonds City Park today, incumbent Reardon responds to fundraiser question

Hope says he will be driving this vehicle in downtown Edmonds today to promote his "assault on unemployment."

State Rep. Mike Hope, who is running against Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon in the Nov. 8 election, will be in downtown Edmonds Tuesday afternoon raising awareness about his “assault on unemployment throughout Snohomish County” campaign.

“It’s important that we remain focused on the main issue facing the voters; creating sustainable jobs that provide economic opportunity for the people of Snohomish County,” Hope said.

Hope, who served in the Marine Corps prior to becoming a police officer, said he knows what it takes to create jobs. Prior to serving in the state Legislature, he operated a gym in Monroe while coaching youth sports on the side. Snohomish County’s unemployment rate has been higher than the state average, running above neighboring counties while lagging behind on job growth, Hope said.

“Our assault on unemployment begins with my 5-point plan to keep existing jobs while attracting new economic opportunities for communities around the county,”  Hope said.

Hope says his 5-point plan focuses on:
1.      Collaborating Regionally/Competing Globally
2.      Reinvesting in the Private Sector
3.      Keeping Our Workforce at Home
4.      Rooting Out Mismanagement
5.      Prioritize Our Educational Efforts

The “Assault on Unemployment” tour will be in downtown Edmonds at 2:30 p.m., ending up at Edmonds City Park, 3rd and Walnut, at 3 p.m.

Speaking of the County Executive’s race, we received a tip late last week that Aaron Reardon would be appearing tonight at a fundraiser at the law firm of Karr Tuttle Campbell in downtown Seattle, which happens to be representing the developer in the controversial Point Wells project. (The Town of Woodway and the non-profit community group Save Richmond Beach  have filed a lawsuit against Snohomish County and Point Wells developer Blue Square Real Estate (BSRE). The lawsuit seeks to prohibit Snohomish County from continuing to process the developer’s application for a mixed-use development at Point Wells.)

Although the 61-acre Point Wells site is in Snohomish County, the only access to it is by a narrow, two-lane road, Richmond Beach Drive, which is in King County. Project opponents contend that traffic from the proposed multiuse village would ruin Shoreline residents’ quality of life by clogging the streets.

The Snohomish County Council earlier this year approved the site as an urban center, which opened the door for the site developer to obtain a permit for the project. However, the state’s  Growth Management Hearing Board (GMHB) in April ruled that urban center designation was not in keeping with the county’s own urban center definition, outlined in its Comprehensive Plan, or guided by Growth Management Act goals. The Town of Woodway has also filed a lawsuit against Snohomish County and the developer to stop the project.

In a forum at Edmonds Community College in September, Hope said the proposal clearly violated the Growth Management Act and that if he were County Executive, he wouldn’t support the project.

We asked Reardon about whether he viewed his attendance at tonight’s Karr Tuttle Campbell fundraiser as a conflict of interest, given the Point Wells issue, and he said it was not, adding his position on the project “was clearly established and was made public long before my campaign for re-election began.”

“While I support the general goal of the urban center legislation,  the project at Point Wells was too big and the council did not think through the  impacts,” Reardon said. “Infrastructure is lacking and there was no coordination with the affected communities.
The GMHB made the right decision and I’ve been very clear that the County Council needs to address the issues raised in a complete manner before proceeding.”

Regarding any conflict of interest with tonight’s event sponsor, Reardon said that “there are a variety of event co-sponsors with whom I’ve worked for many years including regional transit advocates, environmentalists, the Cascade Land Conservancy,  trial lawyers, hi-tech, broadband communications, aerospace and the arts. Given the numerous co-sponsors of the event and their various affiliations, it shows that as executive, I’ve been successful at bringing divergent populations together to solve complex challenges and advance good public policy.”

“Those who choose to support our campaign know where I stand and they appreciate the fact that I’m honest and upfront,” he added. “They recognize that I’m not always going to agree with their position but they also know I don’t play politics with public policy.”



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