This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.
The city councils in the neighboring cities of Bonney Lake and Sumner share the big problem facing many cities in Pierce County: how to keep providing services citizens expect in the face of declining revenues.
That’s a challenge that isn’t likely to go away soon, forcing cities’ leaders to be creative and make sometimes painful choices. City council races in both Bonney Lake and Sumner offer voters some fine candidates well-equipped to address those challenges.
• In Bonney Lake, Planning Commission vice-chair Katrina Minton-Davis is running against former commission member Quinn Dahlstrom, who declined to meet with The News Tribune editorial board.
Minton-Davis, a past president of the city’s Chamber of Commerce with a business degree from the University of Washington Tacoma, is a solid candidate. Because of her background on the Planning Commission, she is current on the most pressing land-use issues the council is facing.
Her goals include more outreach with citizens and promoting activities that give the city “character” – such as a farmers market. Voters should send Minton-Davis to the City Council.
• In Sumner, incumbent by appointment Jon Swanson faces Nancy Dumas for Position 4. Voters should keep Swanson on the council.
Dumas has had virtually no involvement with the city. Swanson, a business owner, has served on the Planning Commission for five years, four as its chairman; the YMCA steering committee; and the Sumner Downtown Association. He’s much more knowledgeable about the issues facing the city and its budget realities.
• Position 6 incumbent Curt Brown is seeking a third term against a very strong opponent, credit union project manager Melony Kirkish, who has served on Sumner’s Design Commission since 2008.
Either of these candidates would do a great job on the council, but we’re going with the seasoned veteran and hope the promising newcomer will continue to be involved with the city if she doesn’t win this time.
Brown has lived in Sumner his entire life. He’s a teacher and coach in Sumner schools and knows the community inside and out. He deserves another term.
• The Position 7 race for an open seat pits Planning Commission member Mike LeMaster against former fire commissioner Joe Gerace, who did not respond to our invitation for an interview.
LeMaster is a superb candidate, and voters should send him to the City Council. A regional distribution manager for a national construction products company, he wants to take the lead on sensible growth and fiscal responsibility and “ride herd” on maintaining services. He recognizes the need for Sumner to take on more density; he wants to be sure it’s done in a way that doesn’t ruin the city’s unique character.