I live in Lakewood and noticed campaign signs by City Council candidate Paul Bocchi in my neighborhood. Which I thought was a little odd since no one filed to run against him for the open Position 7 seat (Walter Neary bowed out after two terms). For that matter, no one filed against incumbent Don Anderson or against businesswoman Marie Barth for Claudia Thomas’ open Position 6 seat.
I emailed Bocchi – a budget analyst for the Pierce County Council – asking why he was putting up signs when he didn’t have an opponent and why he thought the three races were uncontested. In the past, Lakewood council races have drawn plenty of candidates. I don’t think the city has ever had three races without at least two people filing.
Here’s his response:
The signs actually went up the weekend before and the week of filing in anticipation of an election. I think there are about twenty up in yards of friends who requested them. I considered taking them down, but have actually had requests for a few more. So as of today I have not decided what to do.
This is an opportunity to get my name in front of the voters, especially since I am a non-incumbent. While it would be easier to just show up in January and get sworn in, I feel like carrying through with some type of effort is better for everybody and respectful of the process.
The council positions not being contested has been a subject of conversation, and there are plenty of theories. A few things probably contributed, perhaps none more than the other.
• There is not a hot-button issue in Lakewood at the moment that would have galvanized more people to run. I think people see the city as being well managed.
• The early filing period creeps up very quickly. If you are not making plans in early spring, it is tough to know that you have the support levels to make a run by the first week in June.
• Citywide races take a lot of time and money, and with these difficult economic times people may be a bit reluctant to commit either.