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Originally published October 5, 2009 at 3:37 PM | Page modified October 5, 2009 at 5:46 PM

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Issaquah: stable leadership

The city of Issaquah is challenged by skyrocketing growth and sluggish retail, underscoring the need for experienced leadership.

ISSAQUAH is the fastest-growing city on the Eastside, presenting its leaders with challenges managing growth and sustaining the community's quality of life.

Strong and knowledgeable leadership is required to guide a city that since 2000 has grown by 64 percent to 23,000 residents.

Experience offers the clearest distinction between the candidates running for the Issaquah City Council.

Maureen McCarry deserves re-election to Position 5 on the Issaquah City Council. McCarry, president of the council, has ably steered a recessionary budget that retained basic services and avoided a tax increase. McCarry pushed for eliminating certain fees for businesses, a move that strengthened Issaquah's reputation as a business-friendly city.

On the Land Use Committee and the Sustainability Committee, McCarry is known for probing questions and creative initiatives such as linking the city's Central Area with Old Town.

Her opponent, Joan Probala, a former Chamber of Commerce president and familiar community volunteer, has run a credible campaign. McCarry's experience and able stewardship during six years on the council make her a better choice.

Tola Marts gets the endorsement over Nathan Perea for Position 7 on the council. Marts has civic experience from working on boundary reviews and levy packages for the Issaquah School District. Marts is an engineer who counts among his priorities smart growth and tackling the city's notorious traffic congestion. To thwart sprawl, for example, Marts would boost residential density in some areas of Issaquah.

Last year, the council voted to cancel the proposed Southeast Bypass project, after debating the issue for 15 years. The council now rightly turns to other ways to relieve clogged city streets and reduce travel time from one end of town to another. Adding lanes to Highway 900 helps greatly, doubling car capacity on this road. Marts brings fresh perspective to this debate, outlining a compelling mix of mass transit, close-in employment, more bicycling paths and widening some roadways.

Mayor Ava Frisinger and Councilwoman Eileen Barber are running unopposed for their seats. Local businessman Mark Mullet is unopposed in his bid for the Position 1 seat on the council.

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