This editorial will appear in the print version of The News Tribune Friday.
for Tacoma council
Julie Anderson and Lauren Walker are easy City Council choices, but the decisions are harder in two other races featuring well-matched candidates.
The Tacoma City Council races on the Nov. 6 ballot feature two tough-to-choose contests and two others in which the choices are obvious. Let’s start with the hard ones.
At-large Position 8
The most difficult decision is the match between two political newcomers, Marilyn Strickland and David Curry. They seek the seat now held by Bill Evans, who is stepping down due to term limits.
Both candidates are intelligent, community-minded and knowledgable about city issues. They are equally capable of serving well on the council.
Strickland, we believe, would be the better choice because of the particular combination of interests and experience she would bring to the council. She is well-spoken, thoughtful and feels strongly that the city should more to partner with schools and reduce the dropout rate.
Now development director for the Tacoma Public Library, Strickland holds an MBA degree and has business experience working for Starbucks corporate management and for a Tacoma advertising firm. With small-business owner Evans departing, she would be the only council member with significant private-sector work experience.
Curry is executive director of the Tacoma Rescue Mission and a member of the board of Tacoma Public Utilities. Like Strickland, he is a Tacoma native and a product of city schools.
Curry’s experience managing the mission is an asset, but it would be matched on the council by Mike Lonergan, who is a former director of the mission. Similarly, Councilman Jake Fey is a former member of the Utility Board. Strickland would do more to fill gaps in experience and diversity on the council.
The worst criticism of Spiro Manthou seems to be that he is too quiet. That is hardly sufficient reason to turn out an incumbent who has served capably. Manthou, a manager at Bates Technical College, may not hog the mike, but he pays close attention, makes well-reasoned decisions and displays a good grasp of the city’s budget issues.
Challenger Harold Moss retired from public life last year after two different stints on the City Council and eight years on the Pierce County Council. But he decided last summer that he still has the itch for public service.
Moss is a wonderful person, deservedly admired for his warm personality and ability to get people to work together. But he’s had his turn in public life, and he makes no substantive case for taking Manthou’s place.
Now for the easy picks:
Lauren Walker, executive director of the Fair Housing Center of Washington, is an excellent candidate for the District 3 seat being vacated by one-term Councilman Tom Stenger. The district includes the Hilltop and Central Tacoma.
Walker has lived with her family in the Hilltop for more than 14 years. She is active in neighborhood organizations and understands the district’s needs as well as anyone. As an advocate for affordable housing, she would help raise the profile of an issue that is a citywide concern.
Walker’s opponent, Ronnie Allen Warren, is well-meaning but unqualified. A former amateur boxer, he now serves as a street minister. It’s no contest.
At-large Position 7
Incumbent Julie Anderson may be the council’s most effective and hard-driving member. She represents the council on Sound Transit’s board of directors – a challenging assignment that requires considerable political and analytical skill. Earlier this year she was hired as a policy analyst by the state Department of Trade and Economic Development.
Anderson is a fiscal realist who recognizes the city will have to make tough budget choices in coming years because city costs are growing faster than the city’s tax revenues.
Anderson’s opponent, Will Baker, is not a serious candidate.