Three Stanwood planning commissioners are running for City Council seats — all citing managing the area’s rapid growth as a top priority.
Two planning commissioners — Sid Roberts and Marcus Metz — are facing off against each other for the vacant Position 6 seat. Fellow planning commissioner Steve Shepro is challenging incumbent Council member Larry Sather for Position 5. Meanwhile, two incumbents — Elizabeth Callighan and Timothy Pearce — are running unopposed for Positions 3 and 4.
Metz, a Stanwood native and 2007 graduate, is a real estate agent for Re/Max Associate Brokers in Stanwood. He is “interested in local politics, which are impactful to our daily lives,” he told the Stanwood Camano News in July.
Metz said his primary goal is to manage growth in Stanwood, without losing the city’s family-oriented, small-town feel. Specifically, he said he wants to improve communications between Stanwood and Island County.
“So much happens on Camano Island that affects Stanwood, but we have no vote over there,” Metz said. “There’s a lack of coordination and consideration.”
Metz said he would also like to see more jobs in the area. Many people who live in the area commute south to work, he said, leading to congestion and wear-and-tear on infrastructure.
“I understand growth,” Roberts said in July. “Stanwood is a town that growth has come to, and we need to make smart decisions moving forward.”
Sid Roberts lives with his wife in Stanwood, where she was raised, and where they lived while raising their children before moving to Lynnwood in 2005. Roberts served one term on Lynnwood’s City Council, 2011-2016, before moving back to Stanwood in 2017. Roberts served on the Snohomish County Health District’s board and on the Lynnwood Disability Board and as an alternate on Community Transit’s board of directors. In addition, he chairs the Snohomish County Public Health Advisory Council.
Roberts said he can add value to Stanwood’s City Council, having already served larger demographics — including his 35 years in real estate, specializing in development and new construction. He would like to see a city park in the Cedarhome area, where much of Stanwood’s recent growth is concentrated.
“I understand growth,” he said in July. “Stanwood is a town that growth has come to, and we need to make smart decisions moving forward.”
Shepro is challenging two-term incumbent Sather. Shepro, who ran for Council in 2017 against Dianne White, has questioned the city’s zoning regulations and has been a proponent of parks.
“Citizen input matters deeply to me and is of vital importance in maintaining a strong community,” Shepro said. “Stanwood is a great community. It will take a lot of effort by everyone to keep it that way. We must stay focused on that goal.”
Sather chairs the Council’s finance/personnel committee and is on the public safety committee.
“I’d like to emphasize that my top priority is to build a new city hall and police station because it’s unwise for them to be in the floodplain in the event of an emergency,” he said. “I’ve served in this position for seven years. I’ve enjoyed it, I take it seriously and I would like to continue to serve.”
Callighan and Pearce are incumbents each running unopposed for Council. Neither returned a candidate questionnaire to the Stanwood Camano News. They both work at Grace Academy in Marysville, and they both listed the same post office box as their filing address with the Snohomish County Elections division of the Auditor’s office.
Stanwood City Council
Stanwood and Camano Island area voters will see numerous candidates on their ballots, including for school board, city council and county-level positions. Ballots will be mailed in mid-October. Election Day is Nov. 5.
This week, the Stanwood Camano News continues five week’s of local election previews with Stanwood City Council races. We asked candidates three questions, hoping to give readers an apples-to-apples comparison:
Marcus Metz, Position 6
Why running: I’m running for City Council because I want to further the effectiveness of my commitment to public service - as an elected representative for my community.
Experience: I bring the experience of being a Stanwood native — including years of school and sports, years of work at local businesses, years of volunteer work supporting them — as well as two years served in my current position as planning commissioner for the city.
Accomplishments: My most satisfying work has been volunteering in order to raise funds to build the YMCA (now completed), to fund Safe Harbor Free Clinic, and to help various local nonprofits.
Goals: I hope to improve communication and consideration between Stanwood (Snohomish County) and Camano (Island County) because though we are a joint community, we are separated by government, and I feel that both Stanwood and Camano residents are worse off for it.
Sid Roberts, Position 6
Why running: I am running for Stanwood City Council because I believe I can add experience and value. The city council needs members who understand the issues at play and who are able to make tough decisions with the overall good of Stanwood in mind. I’m known for my friendly demeanor and for my negotiation and problem solving skills. I have over 35 years’ experience running a small real estate business and I’m confident I can help Stanwood by serving on the city council.
Experience: My wife and I raised our family in Stanwood before moving to Lynnwood for a season. While in Lynnwood, I was elected and served on the city council. I took the council work seriously and had nearly perfect attendance at all required meetings. I came to the meetings prepared and was elected twice by my council peers to serve as council vice president. I supported strong public safety and was endorsed by both the Lynnwood police and fire guilds. I was also endorsed twice by the Everett Herald and by many elected public servants. I currently serve on the Stanwood Planning Commission and serve as chair of the Public Health Advisory Council.
Accomplishments: As a city council member in Lynnwood, I participated in the early planning for Sound Transit. My professional experience was helpful to the city council in regard to land, zoning and development issues. I sponsored and helped pass a fireworks ordinance. I proposed and helped pass a no smoking ordinance for parks. As a private citizen, I provided leadership that helped the city formulate new policy on detached accessory dwelling units.
Goals: It is important for citizens to become more involved in public policy and for the city council to encourage public participation. It would also be helpful if the city council would discuss and codify the leadership positions of council president and council vice president to help with identifying core policy needs for the city. I support a city park in east Stanwood and also a city sponsored public fireworks display at Heritage Park. The council should also work to keep taxes low, especially for our citizens on a fixed income. I support zoning changes that would allow for more senior housing. I believe public safety is a right and should always be a policy priority for the city council.
Larry Sather, Position 5
Why running: I believe I have served the City well for almost seven years, and I would like to retain the position so that we can build a new city hall and police station above the flood plain.
Experience: I have served in this position for almost seven years. I taught public speaking and other speech courses for over 40 years before I retired. I served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1966 until 1969.
Accomplishments: I am most proud of the City annexing into the North Country Regional Fire Authority to ensure continued fire and emergency medical technician services.
Goals: I want to build a new city hall and police station above the flood plain, strengthen the City’s AA- credit rating and continue to contract with the Snohomish County Sheriff for police services.
Steve Shepro, Position 5
Why running: Stanwood is a great community and it will take a lot of effort by everyone to keep it that way. We must stay focused on that goal. My campaign is focused on the following: Improving and expanding Stanwood’s parks and trails, and preserving open spaces; Preserving Stanwood’s small-town character; Improving traffic flow and pedestrian safety issues, especially in our fastest growing neighborhoods; Improving communication between City officials and residents; Encouraging an expansion of medical facilities in Stanwood; and especially, Keeping Stanwood beautiful and special. We need to maintain the integrity of our family-oriented neighborhoods.
Experience: As the current vice-chair of the Stanwood Planning Commission I am committed to the continuous well-being of our beautiful community. To achieve that goal, I have worked very hard to stay informed about state, regional and local decisions and their impact on our residents and businesses, particularly regarding growth in Stanwood.
I serve on the Stanwood Parks & Trails Committee. This requires working on current plans for park expansion and funding sources. Current park improvement goals will require over $8 million dollars. This money must be used wisely. I have spoken with hundreds of individuals regarding their ideas and concerns for our community.
Accomplishments: As your Planning Commissioner, I have monitored the residential growth continuing on the hilltop to the east. We must intelligently plan for the hundreds of new homes planned for our area. My distinct experience studying these complex land use issues surrounding Stanwood’s growth, housing affordability and the need for a strong local economy, makes me uniquely qualified to serve on your City Council. My work with the Parks & Trails Committee has centered on improving the parks we have and the creation of a park offering waterfront access. Our City has an obligation to provide parks and trails for the children and all citizens of Stanwood.
Goals: I have authored a proposal for ways the City can foster better communication between citizens and City officials. The voices of our community members should matter to all officials who serve our City. There are many improvements that can and should be made to foster better communication, and I intend to help with that as a Council member. It is imperative that voicemail and e-mail messages are responded to, and that our City’s website usability and social media presence are improved. Citizen input matters deeply to me and is of vital importance in maintaining a strong community. Our City officials and the Stanwood City Council are here to serve YOU.
Elizabeth Callighan, Position 3
Incumbent Callighan didn’t respond to the newspaper’s questionnaire. Her statement on the city website says that she is a graduate of Seattle Pacific University and currently teaches at Grace Academy in Marysville. She has lived in Stanwood since 2009 and enjoys the rich heritage and unique character of the city. Callaghan has served on the council 2012-2013 and 2016 to the present. She served two terms on the Planning Commission 2010-2011 and 2013-2015.
Timothy Pearce, Position 4
Pearce didn’t respond to the newspaper’s questionnaire. His statement on the city website says he is a fourth generation resident of the Stanwood community with family roots dating back to 1909. He and his wife, Kathleen, have two children. He is secondary vice principal of Grace Academy where he has been employed for 21 years. Pearce graduated from Seattle Pacific University and obtained a master’s degree from City University. He previously served on council from 2009 to 2013 and served two terms on Stanwood’s Planning Commission 2003-2009 and 2013-2015.