Letters to the Editor

See below for a sampling of what Islanders are saying about the campaign in Letters to the Editor of the Mercer Island Reporter:

October 16, 2019
Longtime residents back Reynolds

We have been residents of Mercer Island for 45 years and we have supported many good people who have run for city council. We applaud and appreciate their enthusiasm to work for the citizens of this wonderful island, trying their best to make decisions that will improve our lives and community. We believe the best candidates for this job should have a solid understanding of how the city works, what the current issues are, a willingness to listen to different viewpoints, the ability to study the facts and an analytical mind that can determine what steps should be taken to grow in the region, while we maintain our island culture in a responsible way.

We are fortunate to have this kind of candidate once again, in Craig Reynolds. He honestly cares about his community and he has the background, experience and temperament to be a positive contributor to the council.

Financial expertise — Craig has a math degree from MIT and he co-manages the Seattle office of Milliman, a global actuarial and consulting firm, where he works to ensure the long-term financial health of his clients.

Budgets — Nationally, he has been chosen by his fellow peers and served as president of the Society of Actuaries in 2015-16, an organization with a membership and budget the size of Mercer Island.

City, regional and land use issues — Locally, Craig served on the Community Advisory Group and currently serves on the Planning Commission, where the hard work of governing starts. These kinds of expertise are essential as we tackle the hard issues of growth, seek new opportunities for revenue and continue to provide the quality of life that drew all of us here to Mercer Island.

The bottom line: Mercer Island needs Craig Reynolds.

He is the most qualified candidate running and has aptly prepared himself for this position.

Please join us in voting for Craig Reynolds for city council, Position 5.

Mary Ann and Bruce Flynn

October 16, 2019
Support for city council

As one who has worked for many years with the city council, staff and residents to make our roads and trails safer, please join me in voting for incumbents Debbie Bertlin and Wendy Weiker, as well as candidates Craig Reynolds, David Rosenbaum and Patrick Allcorn for city council.

Bertlin and Weiker have repeatedly taken the time to investigate, listen and understand the need to improve our bicycle and pedestrian facilities, especially for students, commuters and families. This has led to improvements in shoulders along East and West Mercer, new safety signage on our roads and new bike lanes on Southeast 40th Street to Northwood School.

Craig Reynolds came to my attention last year as the reasonable voice who patiently explained the Proposition 1 financial issues clearly and in depth on Nextdoor and in the debates. Regardless of one’s vote on Prop. 1, his effort to clarify issues was helpful for the entire community.

Last spring Craig, David and Patrick took the initiative to contact residents and cyclists to learn about safety issues on Mercer Island roads and what needs to be fixed. As longtime residents or parents of young children and students, they are the new candidates who are most knowledgeable and committed to making the improvements that will make our roads safe for everyone — drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.

Jim Stanton

October 16, 2019
Reynolds for consensus building

I am pleased to support Craig Reynolds for city council, believing he is clearly committed to restoring the full services that make Mercer Island unique and has the experience and knowledge to pursue that goal. Most importantly, he listens well and earnestly to all opinions, intent on finding and working toward the common purpose.

Craig’s background as an actuary with a Massachusetts Institute of Technology math degree who analyzes long term fiscal solutions, his experience leading an organization with a budget similar to Mercer Island’s, and his work on Mercer Island’s Planning Commission provides the experience we need to deal with fiscal and land use questions.

As I see him listening sincerely to all points of view, I also see that he recognizes the phrase from John Donne’s poem “No man is an island, no man stands alone.” Might he say, “No city is just an island…” recognizing that our island does not stand alone? Craig will be able to listen with concern to the region’s needs while clearly advocating for Mercer Island’s specific needs.

Perhaps Craig can also pursue that elusive goal of educating us on a variety of topics: The various components of our property tax; how our city portion compares to our neighboring cities’ portion; what percentage of our budget comes from local sales tax, property tax and other sources versus neighboring cities’ percentages.

I encourage you to vote for Craig.

Harriett Morton

October 9, 2019
Reynolds for council

I have endorsed my neighbor Craig Reynolds for Mercer Island City Council for two reasons — his personal values and skills qualify him, and I believe his policy positions are right for the Island.

Craig is smart, thoughtful and a respectful listener and communicator. He can understand those who might disagree with him and be open minded enough to seek win-win solutions. Through his career as an actuary and his service on the Mercer Island Planning Commission he has proven experience in long term financial planning and land use matters. These skills will be critical as the council works to balance spending while efficiently delivering the services that Islanders want while developing a long-term plan for our aging water and sewer systems.

Craig is committed to preserving the character of our residential neighborhoods and to protecting our cherished park lands. He will support our police, fire and community support agencies and insure that they remain under local control. Craig will stand up for Islanders as we work with Sound Transit and Metro on regional transit issues. He rejects the currently proposed bus intercept options and will seek solutions that preserve traffic mobility and public safety. Craig will work to support local businesses and cultivate smart development of retail and dining options that will improve the vibrancy of our community while broadening our tax base. He is committed to being a wise steward of taxpayer dollars.

I am very pleased that Craig cares so much about our community that he is running for city council. I believe that he will be an asset to that body and to our community. Please join me in supporting him with your vote.

Phil Defliese

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October 9, 2019
Boldly step into future

Change is challenging yet filled with opportunities. Whether it’s new garbage trucks or a developing town center, change will intrude on our lives and routines.

We can deny, resist or become angry about the changes we are experiencing. Nevertheless, as hard as we try, the future is coming and it will bring change.

We can choose to fear change or boldly step into the future. We can shape that future, anticipate issues and expand our horizons.

The transit station for light rail is an example. We can build hypothetical walls around the station to keep off-Islanders out, or we can invite our neighbors to enjoy a thriving town center. Then we can use the increased sales tax revenues to preserve what we value.

To deal with these changes in a positive way, we need a city council that envisions and creates that future. That’s why I’m supporting Debbie Bertlin, Dave Rosenbaum, Wendy Weiker, Craig Reynolds and Patrick Allcorn.

We can take advantage of a future to opens doors and give us opportunities.

We can be smart about the future.

Carol Friends

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October 9, 2019
Reynolds for gun violence prevention

Craig Reynolds is a thought leader in city affairs and in gun violence prevention.

Having been an activist on gun violence prevention (GVP) for 25 years, I worked with dozens of Mercer Island volunteers in our community to collect thousands of signatures for Initiative 1639 recently. Craig was an active volunteer for 1639. Craig is also an active participant in events related to GVP and has been endorsed by the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, the leader in GVP in Washington. Craig has contributed money and time and also has written professionally about the importance of insurance in holding irresponsible gun owners accountable. This is an important step in preventing gun violence.

GVP is important from a local perspective. People who say that it should all be done at the state level are missing a lot. For instance, we need local officials to agitate to change pre-emption laws so cities and counties can regulate guns and gun crimes locally. Why do we have the same laws for a remote area in Eastern Washington and on Mercer Island?

Then, there is the matter of applying existing laws and funding to prevent violence. Is Mercer Island Police Department funded to take advantage of these recently passed laws to prevent domestic abusers from owning guns? Schools and the community at large need access to good mental health counseling. Local leaders can help with ideas and funding for mental health counseling, protection at public events and coordination between law enforcement and the school district.

The data from the Mercer Island School District PTA polls is clear — people on Mercer Island are clearly worried about gun violence and expect our city elders to take a leadership role in preventing gun violence.

If you care about gun violence prevention, please vote for Craig Reynolds.

Bharat Shyam

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October 2, 2019
Reynolds support

I moved to Mercer Island three years ago from the East Coast, thanks to Amazon. We chose to live on Mercer Island because of the wonderful schools, the proximity to Seattle and the beautiful parks. I told my friends back east that I was moving to Seattle to join the Resistance.

We are fortunate to live in this special community that’s so close to Seattle that my husband can bike to work. But, I wonder how it’s possible that Seattle doesn’t have a viable public transportation system. While some neighbors on NextDoor are vocally against growth and are suspicious of new things, most of us know we can’t hide from change. Our region is growing and MI needs to be at the table, participating and leading the conversation. Craig Reynolds is the most qualified city council candidate to navigate the changes ahead for our region, while maintaining the integrity of our Island.

I met Craig through my involvement in Mercer Island Democracy in Action (the Resistance.) He’s open, honest and incredibly smart. I support Craig Reynolds for city council because he has the financial experience and business skills to grow Mercer Island into an even healthier and more vibrant community. Craig is an actuary with a degree in math from MIT. We need Craig’s proven business skills to carefully budget and manage our city financial plan. Craig has served on the MI Planning Commission and is familiar with the city’s land use issues. Moreover, Craig is a coalition builder, a good listener with an open mind. Craig loves Mercer Island. I’ve walked for hours with Craig ringing doorbells and meeting with and listening to constituents. Mercer Islanders want to preserve our parks, to keep our Youth and Family Services mental health providers, and to maintain the quality of our community. I trust Craig to continue to listen to Islanders, to recognize opportunity for positive change and to represent Mercer Island’s interests in the growing Seattle region.

Please join me in voting for Craig Reynolds for city council.

Gail Dawson Morrison

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October 2, 2019
Voting for safety

I am writing on behalf of the five public office candidates running for election or re-election to our city council. I am extremely pleased and appreciative that Wendy Weiker, Debbie Bertlin, Craig Reynolds, Patrick Allcorn and Dave Rosenbaum have all received endorsements to their campaigns from the Alliance for Gun Responsibility in Washington state.

While it may not seem that Mercer Island is a high-risk community, gun violence is a real factor in all communities across our state and our country. Whether it is suicide, domestic violence, homicide or a mass shooting, gun violence is preventable and I am proud that our city council candidates recognize that they can all play a role in keeping our community safe and advocating for this important issue.

As a concerned parent and community member, I will cast my vote for these candidates who represent my views on this critical component of public health and safety. Our families, schools and community at large will all stand to benefit from leaders who will fight for a Mercer Island free from gun violence. Action begins locally.

Lori Cohen-Sanford

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October 2, 2019
Reynolds has what city needs

I’d like to share why I’m endorsing Craig Reynolds for city council. Craig graduated from MIT with a math degree and works as an actuary. I figure we need someone who can understand budgets and dive deep into fiscal matters. He’s also even keeled and open to finding resolution. I know our city and council have had some fraught past and we need someone who can make the system work together. I believe we’re lucky Craig is volunteering to work for us.

Sandra Schilling

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September 25, 2019
Support for Reynolds

I am excited to support Craig Reynolds for city council in our upcoming election, and I urge you to do so as well. Craig has a strong sense of community and has shown repeatedly that he is willing to put his time and energy to bring positive change. He has the experience and skills to be a very effective member of the council.

Craig is analytical and understands financial situations, and is skilled at predicting and preparing for the future. In fact, that’s his day job, and he’s a leader in his field. He has repeatedly volunteered for planning commissions and advisory goups for the city, giving his time and expertise to help our community. I want someone willing to take the time to examine an issue from all sides and bring out the best solutions for our city.

At the same time, Craig is exceptionally good at finding the common interests behind divergent positions. I want someone on the council who can disagree without being disagreeable, and will contribute to a collegial environment where the work of the city can be done for all of us. Please join me in voting for Craig for city council.

Jody Lee

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September 19, 2019
Support Craig Reynolds

I strongly support Craig Reynolds for city council. Over the past few years, I have enjoyed getting to know and working with Craig on a variety of local issues. We served together on the city of Mercer Island’s Community Advisory Group (CAG), formed to evaluate and make recommendations to the city on impending financial challenges. Throughout the CAG process, Craig showed a clear and consistent commitment to digging into the data, was detail-oriented without losing sight of the big picture, and worked very hard to understand all viewpoints.

As a city councilmember, Craig will listen to the community. He understands that every islander is a stakeholder and all voices must be heard. Craig believes in finding solutions to issues that maximize benefits for the greatest number of islanders.

He supports the proposed privately-funded MICA (Mercer Island Center for the Arts) development at the former Tully’s site as a reasonable solution for children and arts in our community (and as a valuable site for islander-only commuter parking). Craig also supports funding for school mental health counselors to assist students, parents and teachers and to promote public safety.

With more than 34 years of experience in the business world, Craig has the finance and problem-solving expertise necessary to help the city address looming financial challenges. His experience will support the development and stability of small businesses, and he understands that a vibrant downtown builds community and convenience for islanders.

I firmly believe that Mercer Island needs leaders who can rise above some of the turbulent and hyper-active public discourse endemic to social media platforms. Mercer Island needs leaders that can separate the facts from rhetoric and engage in thoughtful, deliberate and effective problem solving on behalf of all islanders. Craig is the right candidate at the right time to serve on the Mercer Island City Council.

Brian Thomas
Mercer Island

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September 19, 2019
Reynolds has the skills

Craig Reynolds has my support for Mercer Island City Council because of his values, his financial skills and his demonstrated leadership. I know Craig personally as a former colleague and actuary.

Craig’s values are grounded in data-driven decision-making, listening to opposing views and finding solutions that best benefit the community. Craig is honest, forthright, forward looking and optimistic. He values civility and neighborliness.

As a consulting actuary, Craig has financial expertise advising insurance industry clients on strategies to protect their policyholders while meeting financial goals. He works with complex models of an uncertain future. His analytic skill is necessary on the council. As a member of the Citizens Advisory Group, he probed the details of the city’s modeling and agreed with the majority that the city had the big issues right. In his consulting practice, he manages a staff and has bottom line accountability for results. He understands how business works, and the role of government in supporting a healthy business environment.

Craig is routinely recognized as a leader in groups where he serves. This arises from his personal commitment to the shared work, his intelligence and his ability to bring people together around shared solutions. He listens deeply and with respect. He speaks honestly and puts in the time. For example, Craig was recently named vice chair of the city’s Planning Commission. In his profession, he was elected president of the Society of Actuaries in a competitive election for the 2015-2016 year. This is a half-time volunteer position leading a 25,000-member organization with a diverse range of issues and challenges. Craig’s leadership was highly effective.

Craig will be a welcome presence on the council, and his service will support a healthy future for our city. Please join me in voting for Craig.

Brad Fowler
Mercer Island

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September 19, 2019
Support for Reynolds

We are writing to share some of our reasons for supporting Craig Reynolds for Mercer Island City Council.

Craig has more than 35 years of experience in business and consulting and has served as president of the Society of Actuaries. He understands the “business” side of running a large organization. Craig also understands the “human” side and respects that the city government exists to serve the needs of its residents.

Craig’s calm and thoughtful approach to problem solving is a valuable asset that will help him to make the best possible decisions on the issues that face Mercer Island.

In terms of specific platforms, we are grateful that Craig recognizes the benefit of the parks and green spaces, arts education and enrichment, and the strength that comes with inclusivity. He has modeled his values as a committed volunteer and welcoming neighbor.

Craig has the temperament and skills to serve all members of our city and to ensure that the city council’s decisions are fiscally responsible and forward thinking. He is a natural listener and will consider all sides of an issue while balancing budgetary constraints in consideration of the greater good.

We would all be fortunate to have Craig serve on the city council.

Kate and Tom Lamperti
Mercer Island

September 11, 2019
Reynolds support

Craig Reynolds should be the choice of Mercer Islanders in a city council election that is vital to the future of our Island and the next generation.

Craig is an MIT-educated actuary who has both the intelligence and commitment to our community to lead us with responsible growth and prudent fiscal management. His service on our city’s Planning Commission has yielded the correct mix of expansion of our retail tax base and opportunities for new businesses without impacting the character of our Island.

Please do not be confused about candidates who preach a mythical “we will work out a budget” or “I can cut 5 percent off any budget” without any specifics — except silly penny-saving proposals like eliminating color copies and ending city proclamations. Like all other Washington cities, Mercer Island has limited opportunities for new revenues. Constantly cutting services — whether it be the Summer Celebration, school counselors, parks maintenance and police/fire personnel — will have a drastic impact on us and our children. Craig is committed to ensuring a safe Mercer Island with the services we have all come to expect and enjoy.

Having had the opportunity to run a municipality with a budget slightly larger than Mercer Island, I can attest that Craig is uniquely qualified to do the same. I urge you to vote for him.

Stephen A. Smith
Mercer Island

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September 11, 2019
Reynolds’ virtues

As a member of Craig Reynold’s campaign team, I have had the pleasure of accompanying him as he meets with Mercer Island residents to hear what their priorities and concerns are for our community. I have been impressed by his responses and his approach. He draws on his career as an actuary for financial forecasting and budgeting expertise and on his volunteer work as a member of both the Community Advisory Group and the Mercer Island Planning Commission for his understanding of public issues and how to reach consensus.

I have found Craig to be consistently honest, candid and transparent, and open minded. He listens and communicates respectfully even when he disagrees. He is a proponent of fact-based decision making. He believes in solutions that are realistic and maximize benefits for the most number of Islanders.

Where others see problems, Craig sees opportunities. He wants to retain the city services that make the Island a safe and wonderful place to live and take advantage of changes that are coming, like it or not, such as light rail. He believes that police, fire, school counselors and our library are essential services to retain. He sees MICA (Mercer Island Center for the Arts) and a vibrant downtown core as opportunities to explore.

Craig has the experience and temperament to be an outstanding city council member and a community leader. Please join me in voting for Craig Reynolds for city council.

Lynda Olson
Mercer Island