Monday, October 28, 2013

The Political Desk - A Town Called Kent (Part Two)

OK, despite the moaning and wailing and the rending of one's garments, there are OTHER races going on in Kent, my new hometown.

There is a second race going on for Kent City Council which is overshadowed by the one we've been talking about. And it feels a bit more reasonable. Council Position No. 2 pits Jim Berrios versus David Wade Schwartz. Both are local businessmen with civic interest and ties to us up on the hill. Mr. Berrios has a long time in the neighborhood (and has run for office before), while Schwartz is a transplant who was uprooted by the Link a few years back and relocated south. Mr. Berrios therefore comes off with more of a local knowledge base, while Mr. Schwartz has a definite gung-ho attitude.

I’m going with Schwartz for two reasons – one is that he supports the local B&O tax, which is a rarity (most business-candidates don’t care for it, including both Messrs. Stober and Sharp). I think it is a good thing from the standpoint of funding a lot of the necessary repairs in the community.

Secondly, and this is totally frustration on my part, Mr. Berrios is the CURRENT head of the Chamber of Commerce. The PREVIOUS head of the Chamber of Commerce is Mr. Sharp, who, we have noted, stands accused of stealing from his own mother. And yeah, it is completely unfair to count another man’s faults against a candidate, but frankly, running the Kent Chamber of Commerce is not the sell-point that it once was.

So DAVID WADE SCHWARTZ for City of Kent Council Position No. 2

Kent is also electing a Mayor, and it is a microcosm what we're seeing up in Seattle itself. We have two candidates with similar positions. Both support many of same things (such as the ShoWare Center) and both are against the same things (like coal trains).So the tipping point seems to be about methodology – and whether getting along with the city council is a good thing for a mayor.

Suzette Cook is the current mayor – she’s on her second term going for her third. Her administration includes the entire Hansen Dam situation, and I will be honest that this has appealed to me. She's got the city through the rough times of the recession and crime is down, interest is up, and things look like they're going pretty well.

Tim Clark is a 16-year veteran councilman who has also been involved in a lot of the long-term goals of the city. He's pushing for greater transparency and fiscal responsibility, as well as working better with the city council.

I'm not a fan of council/mayor lockstep, or think that the mayor should necessarily be sort of an ad hoc addition to the council. They have separate roles and I actually prefer there to be a little friction between the two, such that the two sides keep an eye on each other. By the same token, I think Ms. Cook has made her case that she has worked with the council.

I think Mr. Clark would be an excellent mayor, given his experience, but this time out I'm still going with SUZETTE COOK.

And finally, we have Kent School District No. 415, Director District No. 5, for which the contenders are Bruce Elliott and Maya Vengadasalem. Both candidates present themselves well, and neither one has been arrested for stealing from family members (you're just not going to let that one go, eh?). But, looking at the raft of endorsements, I am going to recommend MAYA VENGADASALEM.

More later,