Drug crisis, homelessness top issues for Everett voters

King 5's Eric Wilkinson reports

Next year's election will be an historic one in Everett. The city will have a new mayor for the first time in more than a decade, and it will be a woman for the first time ever.

Judy Tuohy and Cassie Franklin are somewhat similar candidates. Both are relative newcomers to politics, both serve on the city council, and both are successful executives at local non-profits.

Only one of them, however, will likely lead Everett for the next four years.
  
The city is in the grips of a terrible drug and homeless epidemic. That is the number one issue on the minds of many voters, including Trif Lebaron, who has seen its effects first hand.

"I've had people break into my car. I've had homeless guys sleeping between my house and the neighbor's using heroin," he said.

How to spur the city's economy is another major issue. Empty storefronts are an all too familiar sight downtown. The new mayor must find ways to attract more jobs and more people to live downtown.    

Richard Sussman recently lost his job and his home. He says finding work in Everett is tough.

"I used to make $120,000 last year," said the Marine Corps veteran. "I can't even find a job working at a movie theater right now. I tried."

Also high on the priority list for voters is the plague of gang violence that continues to take innocent lives in Everett.

The Casino Road area is notorious for shootings. Earlier this month a 14-year-old boy was gunned down by a 13-year-old alleged gang member in an apparent case of mistaken identity.

"I don't get my kids out much because of that," says Bamina Atonej.
  
She and her husband Diri say the city doesn't feel like a safe place to raise their kids.

"We've been hearing shootings and sirens," said Atonej. "We're nervous, but hopefully it gets better."

There is also a third candidate for Everett mayor – Gary Watts – who made headlines recently for calling Everett "Tweakerville" and live-streaming the activities of homeless drug addicts camping outside his business on YouTube.

He is running as a write-in candidate.

© 2017 KING-TV


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