More train options should be discussed
I was disappointed to learn of the City Council’s decision to return the Thompson train to the family.
It was apparent that this decision was going to go that way from the discouraging report in the June 23 edition of the Anacortes American. The city was handed a wonderful machine and opportunity, but the current council lacked the imagination to see its potential. A more creative council in the future will recognize our mistake.
How extensive a search was made to look for grants to support the train? How much research was there to see what other communities have done? Would visitors come to our community if the train could operate on the existing trackage that goes from the Depot toward Dakota Creek?
The city wants to be a tourist destination, yet we pass up a unique opportunity to draw people here. In addition to losing the train, we are closing the Port building to special events with no alternate site in our long-range plan. Another opportunity to increase our tourism image lost. However, we will have a nice parking lot at City Hall for $403,000 even though we are apparently not sure whether we want to keep our present City Hall.
Graf stands out among candidates
If you did not watch the candidates forum last week, it is available on the city of Anacortes’ website. I applaud the Chamber of Commerce on a well-run event and strongly recommend you watch.
I particularly focused on the City Council race – those individuals who advise the mayor. Unfortunately, I heard nothing new from most of the candidates. When asked about workforce housing or downtown parking, responses included: “purchase a bicycle,” or “walk to work.” One candidate even suggested focusing on a “carbon-neutral” city footprint.
The incumbent Council members proudly claimed the city’s budget is well-managed. With major projects in the works or planned in the near future, few thoughts regarding operating efficiencies, increasing revenues, avoiding additional tax increases or cost-cutting recommendations were offered.
Well, someone did mention purchasing office supplies locally at Bayshore.
Fortunately, one new and refreshing candidate, Jeff Graf, was on stage last night and earned my vote.
Jeff, a retired Navy captain and current planning commissioner, provided the audience with clear and logical ideas for prioritizing city expenditures, incentivizing private investment for moderate-middle income housing, and revitalizing our central business district business revenue growth.
I learned more about Jeff at graf4council.org.
McIlmoyle right for schools position
Meredith McIllmoyle has a heart for Anacortes. She has been an active volunteer in the Anacortes School District for 15 years, assisting teachers in numerous ways. Throughout the uncertainty of COVID, Meredith assembled and distributed art lessons and materials to a broad spectrum of children across the district.
Meredith doesn’t have a bold laundry list of political statements. Instead, she is a well-reasoned candidate, focused on listening to all voices; gathering information, opinions, and data from a variety of sources.
She intends to work with community members, parents, teachers, administrators and School Board members to provide the best education and learning environment for every student, along with focusing on social-emotional needs.
Her work in the community, as well as her role as director for the Anacortes Arts Festival for the past eight years, reveal her ability to collaborate with others in productive ways that solve real problems. In addition, Meredith’s experience in business and in running the Anacortes Arts Festival has made her adept at constructing a comprehensive and realistic budget.
I have worked with Meredith in many contexts and found her to be a capable, caring and concerned community member and school advocate. Please join me in voting for her.
Support Meredith McIlmoyle
Meredith McIlmoyle has earned my vote for Position 1 on the Anacortes School District Board of Directors because she offers a moderate approach to leadership free of political dogma. Her inclusive style of team building is what our community needs.
She’s a confident and deliberate woman, yet humble enough to consider multiple points of view – especially those that differ from her own.
There is a narrative surrounding this race that suggests the district is in dire need of reform. In reality, our students enjoy a highly effective educational ecosystem that prepares them for multiple paths into young adulthood.
Are there improvements that can be made? Of course. What sets Meredith apart from other candidates is that she offers ideas, not just a list of criticisms.
Where Meredith sees our district as a home in need of a fresh coat of paint, others seem to call for a complete rebuild. One approach will render a good thing better, the other will create unnecessary disruption on the heels of an already disruptive year.
I’ve had the opportunity to see Meredith exchange ideas with other candidates on multiple occasions and each time she stood head and shoulders above with her grasp of key issues and, most importantly, her centrist approach to problem solving.
Vote McIlmoyle for School Board
Meredith McIlmoyle has my support for the Anacortes School District Board of Directors. I have known Meredith for many years as a friend and as a co-worker at the Anacortes Arts Festival.
What I and many others have personally witnessed with Meredith is her strong desire for collaboration and drive to make Anacortes the best community it can be. She works tirelessly to find ways to make a difference here in Anacortes and specifically for children in our district.
She has volunteered in the classroom and on other projects in our schools for over 15 years.
Meredith is a fair and balanced leader, a listener, and a world class collaborator.
Whether it’s her work in the community or in one of her volunteer roles, she is known as one of the hardest working women in the room.
Meredith does not come to this role with a personal agenda or political ideology driving her efforts.
She is truly just committed to supporting teachers and district staff with the challenges that lie ahead.
Having worked on several boards, she is very familiar with what the role of a director is and will always be a rational and fair voice during difficult discussions.