for the Tacoma council
David Curry, Marilyn Strickland, Julie Anderson and Lauren Walker stand out among a crowd of candidates.
It’s turnover time again at the Tacoma City Council.
Four of the council’s nine seats are up for grabs; three have drawn more than two candidates, creating contests for the August primary. The candidates endorsed by The News Tribune’s editorial board appear in boldface below:
Tacoma Position 8, at large
This is, far and away, the liveliest and most interesting race in Tacoma this summer. Four strong candidates have stepped forward to replace outgoing Councilman Bill Evans in this seat that represents the entire city.
It’s a tough call, and we’re opting to endorse two out of this impressive field.
David Curry, executive director of Tacoma Rescue Mission and chairman of the Tacoma Public Utility Board, stands out for his executive experience, analytical ability and independent judgment.
Curry thoroughly understands budgets – and dealing with the growing gap between Tacoma’s revenues and the services citizens expect is going to be the overriding challenge for the City Council in the foreseeable future. He appears capable of standing up for the public interest in the face of spending pressure from unions and other interests.
Marilyn Strickland, development officer for Tacoma Public Library, is an intelligent and promising newcomer to public life.
She’s had broad involvement in community affairs, serving – among other ways – as a past board member of the Tacoma Public Library and currently the Grand Cinema, the Black Collective and the KBTC Public Television Assocation. A nearly lifelong resident of Tacoma, she is well-acquainted with the city’s communities. With black and Korean ancestry, she would also bring needed ethnic diversity to the City Council
The two other fine candidates in this race:
Marty Campbell, the owner of Stadium Video and Buzzard’s Discs, who has a strong business background and has worked on broad variety of civic betterment projects.
Jonathan Phillips, a real estate broker and chairman of the North End Neighborhood Council. Phillips has already spent five months on the City Council in 2005 when he was temporarily appointed to a seat vacated by Kevin Phelps.
Any of these candidates would likely serve the city well if elected.
Tacoma Council District 7, at large
This seat also represents the entire city. Only one serious candidate is in the race: incumbent Councilwoman Julie Anderson.
Anderson brings an invaluable set of assets to the council. She is formidably intelligent, forceful, well-versed in city issues and a penetrating analyst of city finances. A constructive skeptic, she does not shy away from challenging assumptions or established practices. She is precisely the kind of council member who will be needed to make the tough budgeting decisions the city faces in coming years.
One of her challengers, Will Baker, almost made a career out of disrupting Pierce County Council and Tacoma City Council meetings until he was convicted of this crime and sent to jail three years ago. Another challenger, Robert Hill, styles himself “The Traveler.” He is not a credible candidate for the City Council.
Tacoma Council District 3
District 3 chiefly represents the Hilltop and Central Tacoma. The race to replace incumbent Tom Stenger features two good candidates.
Lauren Walker is executive director of the Fair Housing Center of Washington. Affordable housing has been a major concern of hers: She also serves on the board of the National Fair Housing Alliance, the Home Ownership Center of Tacoma and the Tacoma Pierce County Affordable Housing Consortium.
Her community credentials include leadership of the Hilltop Action Coalition. She would be a strong advocate for redeveloping the Hilltop and other historically distressed neighborhoods.
Another credible contender is Donald Powell, an attorney who has been active in legal circles. He has served as a pro-tem judge and commissioner with the Pierce County Superior Court, and has held positions of leadership in the local and state bar associations. Walker’s neighborhood ties give her the edge, but Powell would be an excellent choice for city boards and commissions.
Also running are Jack Pleasant, a helicopter mechanic, and Ronnie Allen Warren, a former boxer who is now a street minister in the Hilltop.
Tacoma Council District 1
The contest for this seat has drawn only two candidates, incumbent Spiro Manthou and challenger Harold Moss. Because it will be decided in the November election, it is not on the primary ballot.
UPDATE (AND CORRECTION)
David Curry, endorsed above, is no longer chairman of the Tacoma Public Utility Board. His stint ended two weeks ago.