“Voters Feel…Under Represented” – County Council Candidate Shawn McEvoy

by Ralph Nichols

Normandy Park City Councilman Shawn McEvoy says it’s time the Highline area is represented by someone who lives here, and not in West Seattle.

So McEvoy, now serving his second term as an elected member of the city council (he was appointed to fill a vacancy in 2002), recently announced that he is a candidate for the county council from District 8.

The district includes Normandy Park, Burien, the western reaches of SeaTac and Tukwila, North Highline, West Seattle, Vashon and Maury Islands.

McEvoy makes an obvious point.

Former District 8 King County Councilman Dow Constantine, who was elected county executive last fall, lives in West Seattle. So does his replacement to the District 8 seat, former Seattle City Councilwoman Jan Drago.

District 34 State Sen. Joe McDermott, who is not seeking re-election so he can run for Drago’s seat, also lives in West Seattle – as does District 34 State Rep. Eileen Cody.

“I think the voters [in these districts] outside of West Seattle feel under represented, even ignored,” McEvoy said. “The political process is heavily skewed to West Seattle. We want representation …

“I have the qualifications, I have the experience, and I can do a better job than the other guy,” he continued. “I understand the issues of King County, the problems and challenges facing King County, and the issues in District 8.”

His time on the city council – including serving four years as Normandy Park mayor – also gives him the “demonstrated experience to develop a responsible budget, the demonstrated experience to respond to public concerns, and demonstrated leadership skills.”

King County Council District 8 includes Normandy Park, Burien, the western reaches of SeaTac and Tukwila, North Highline, West Seattle, and Vashon and Maury Islands.

McEvoy also points with pride to his “strong environmental record,” including salmon habitat recovery efforts in Miller Creek and the Cove that received national recognition from Trout Unlimited.

He is on the steering committee for Water Resource Inventory Area 9, which is responsible for Chinook salmon protection in the Duwamish/Green River watershed.

A five-point “immediate action plan” is the framework for McEvoy’s campaign:

  • Better communication by King County government with the public.
  • Enhanced county partnerships with the cities.
  • Ensure that “service levels and funding match. “If we haven’t got the money, don’t spend it.”
  • Stabilize funding of county services.
  • “Work with county employees to solve problems” from budget-cutting job furloughs to streamlining the way services are provided “to make the county better to work for all of us.”

These address what McEvoy called King County’s “image and relationship problems with mayors, city councils – and citizens,” who see county government as “bloated, dictatorial, inefficient and Seattle-centric.”

In the interview, which took place before this week’s county council vote on a proposed sales tax increase and then a proposed property tax “reallocation” to help fund the sheriff’s and prosecutor’s offices and the courts, McEvoy said, “I’m a strong believer in public safety.

“When [Sheriff] Sue Rahr and [Prosecutor] Dan Satterberg tell me it’s important to have these funds [generated by a 2-cent increase in the sales tax], I believe them.”

Asked about contracts negotiated by public employee unions, which include pay raises and benefit increases at a time the county is facing another multi-million-dollar revenue shortfall, McEvoy added he would “certainly support a study to see if public contracts are in line with the private sector … or not.

“Whether we look to the unions as a first place to cut, [the cost of county government] is still an open question. But public safety and public health are, to me, number one.”

Noting a recent Puget Sound Regional Council projection that the area will experience a lot of growth by 2040, McEvoy said more roads probably will be needed.

He added his interest in “quicker buses” that provide service every 10 minutes to provide “a good, cost-effective people mover.”

Although he was “initially skeptical of light rail,” McEvoy said “it has started to make sense to me … we need to look at all [transportation] options and go with what makes sense.”

But county residents “don’t see much in return” for the taxes they pay the county,” he continued. A “classic example” is the way Metro bus service was reallocated. Although more routes were supposed to go to the county rather than Seattle, “it hasn’t worked out that way.”

[PHOTO CREDIT: City of Normandy Park]

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