Few local governments have weathered the economic downtown as well as Bonney Lake, thanks in large part to growth in recent years that fueled tax revenues and allowed the city to build up a comfortable rainy day fund.
But the city is experiencing growing pains from that growth – heavy traffic, development disputes – and it’s an issue for several candidates running for three City Council seats in the Nov. 3 general election.
The News Tribune editorial board’s choices are in boldface.
• At large, position 1: When City Councilman Dave King decided against running for re-election in Ward 1, fellow Councilman Dan Swatman filed to run there – opening up his at-large position.
Randy McKibbin, owner of a dog-grooming business in the city, is an outstanding candidate. He’s lived in Bonney Lake since 1973 and has impressive civic leadership credentials: 10 years on the Planning Commission (he’s the current chairman), founding board member of Beautify Bonney Lake and past president of the Bonney Lake Chamber of Commerce.
Voters would be hard-pressed to find a first-time candidate so knowledgeable about the city, its challenges and how to get things done. McKibbin would hit the ground running as a new council member.
His opponent, Lynda Dabson, is a construction accountant who has criticized the City Council for overspending and interfering in development decisions. Dabson – who was active with Councilman Dan Decker in last year’s unsuccessful effort to change the form of government from code city to charter city – can’t match McKibbin’s community service and
• Ward 1: Dan Swatman, a systems engineer for BP who has lived in Bonney Lake for 16 years, has been a standout member of the City Council since 1997. His fellow council members have elected him several times to serve as deputy mayor – a testimonial to his leadership.
Swatman, who would easily move from representing the city at large to representing Ward 1 on Lake Tapps, played a key role in obtaining grant money for sidewalks and development of the Fennel Creek trail.
His opponent is Andy Gomen, owner of a small adult family home. Gomen, who has lived in Bonney Lake three years, doesn’t have Swatman’s record of involvement and expertise on city issues.
• Ward 4: Incumbent David Bowen, a small business owner, is a lifelong resident of Bonney Lake who deeply cares about the city and its residents. But he has a particularly impressive opponent in Donn Lewis, a retired Air Force colonel who works as a substitute teacher in Sumner.
Lewis, a member of the Planning Commission and the Citizens Advisory Committee, is someone who immerses himself in issues, studying them thoroughly to make good decisions. He’s one of the best candidates we’ve seen this year, and he gets our endorsement.