This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.
John Alexander comes across as an impressive candidate for the Puyallup City Council: soft-spoken, earnest, thoughtful, articulate. Just the guy you want on a council where reason and level-headedness have been in short supply at times.
Alexander charmed us enough this summer that had we not caught him in a lie – he told us his mind wasn’t made up about City Manager Gary McLean despite having blogged that “replacing him is a priority of mine” – we would have considered endorsing him.
But as detail after detail from Alexander’s past has dribbled out, it’s clear that Alexander is not the person he portrays himself to be. More to the point, he has demonstrated time and again that he doesn’t belong on the council.
First, there were the disclosures about his run-ins with the law: calling police officers jackasses and flashing a loaded Glock over a petty dispute in a school parking lot. Also, the shouting at the City Council from the audience. These aren’t the acts of a “passionate” person; they are symptoms of an out-of-control temper.
Now comes news that Alexander also has serious trouble managing his finances. Anyone can fall on hard times, especially in this economy. But Alexander’s problems are not a blip; they extend back years and are serious enough to warrant the auction of his home and the revocation of a bankruptcy petition. This from a man who claims “financial analysis” is a strength he would bring to the council.
The most troubling aspect of Alexander’s money troubles is the debt he owes the state for collecting nearly $8,000 in unemployment benefits he had no right to receive and his failure to mention that debt on his public disclosure form.
The state requires the jobless to check in every week to receive unemployment benefits. Every week, applicants are asked whether they had any earnings the previous week. The question is explicit: There is no room for misunderstanding. Sixteen times, Alexander answered no to that question despite having drawn a paycheck from a new employer. Sixteen times.
Alexander was the favorite in the August primary election – before his past came to light. We hope his supporters are having a lot of second thoughts about his candidacy.