Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

NOTICE: Inside Opinion has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Inside Opinion.
Visit the new section.

Atkinson for Tacoma council; Nye for UPlace

Post by TNT Editorial Board / The News Tribune on July 26, 2011 at 7:46 pm with 2 Comments »
July 26, 2011 3:59 pm

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Two candidates rise to the top in the primary elections for Tacoma and University Place city councils.

In the four-way race for Tacoma’s Position 1 – now held by departing council member Spiro Manthou – Joe Atkinson is the candidate most likely to help shore up the city’s shaky finances and focus on job creation in the private sector.

Position 1 represents a district that covers Tacoma’s West End and part of the North End; it reaches south to University Place and east to North Proctor Street. Seeking the seat, along with Atkinson, are Karen Smitherman, Anders Ibsen and Carl Alexander.

Alexander, a small business owner, isn’t running hard. Smitherman and Ibsen, in contrast, have mounted well-funded campaigns replete with endorsements from organized labor and the Democratic establishment.

Both are qualified, with a history of community service. Smitherman is a career educator; Ibsen does administrative work at his wife’s law firm.

Their perspectives are already well-represented on the City Council. We prefer Atkinson – a legislative aide – because of his relentless focus on the city’s business climate, which is the ultimate foundation of job growth, family incomes and tax revenues for city services.

He’s a political independent; there’s plenty of daylight between him and the constituencies that have driven city spending up to unsustainable levels. He is the most likely to push back hard against union leaders’ demands for fatter contracts.

The issue of streetcars brings out a telling difference between Atkinson and the other two. Smitherman and Ibsen are enthusiastic about them. Atkinson questions whether the immense investment in a new transit system would make sense, given population densities and the greater urgency of repairing Tacoma’s sadly neglected streets.

In University Place, Chris Nye, Ken Campbell and Carl Mollnow are seeking Position 6, now held by the departing Gerald Gehring.

Mollnow is temperamentally unsuited for the council. Nye and Campbell are both smart and analytical; both are in real estate.

Nye is an uncommonly impressive candidate. He is a former Special Forces commander; he founded a real estate marketing company, and he’s a state and regional leader of Realtors organizations.

A board member of the Fircrest Golf Course, he’s also well-versed in golf course management – a useful specialty, given University Place’s joined-at-the-hip relationship with Chambers Bay Golf Course.

He’d be an excellent addition to the city government.

Leave a comment Comments → 2
  1. Tacomalover says:


    What the heck is the TNT Smoking? This guy has nothing in common with the general voting public. WOW!

    Once again, the TNT is out of touch with its readers

  2. Curmudgeon48 says:

    As a member of our Economic Development Commission, Mr. Nye is part of our current City leadership problem, not the solution. He seems to represent the same arrogant, secretive decision-making crowd that currently runs our Council. We need transparency and accountability for the many outrageous Council and staff decisions that have so far cost us nearly $13.5 million in interest payments, millions in broken contract settlements, funded years of Council “marketing trips” to Vegas, and left us over $54 million in debt.

    University Place has the highest tax rate in Pierce County. How much more of our tax money does Mr. Nye intend to spend on the current town center concept he favors, that is out of character with our suburban residential community and not supported by its citizens? How much of our community’s resources and public funds does he want to give to Chambers Bay and the US Golfing Association for the US Open? Chambers Bay continues to operate in the red. Has the $21 million advanced by sewer district rate payers for construction of the golf course been paid back to offset recent sewer rate increases? USGA & their elite players need to pay for the US Open themselves, in full, including all the cost of any required or desired municipal services.

    While Mr. Mollnow is not the best candidate for a Council position for the reason cited, newcomer KEN CAMPBELL clearly offers the best opportunity to change the integrity and direction of city growth and management. Mr. Campbell is not a current Council clone and is not tied to the dreadful mistakes of the past. We need a new fresh approach in conducting the public’s business, in deciding what to do with the $50 million hole our town, one that welcomes citizen input and is responsive to its citizens. We need an approach that serves University Place public interest, not the egos of the current Council, and not the golfing community.

We welcome comments. Please keep them civil, short and to the point. ALL CAPS, spam, obscene, profane, abusive and off topic comments will be deleted. Repeat offenders will be blocked. Thanks for taking part and abiding by these simple rules.

JavaScript is required to post comments.

Follow the comments on this post with RSS 2.0