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Our endorsements in Pierce County Council races

Post by TNT Editorial Board / The News Tribune on Oct. 18, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
October 18, 2012 5:29 pm

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

At least three faces on the Pierce County Council will change after the Nov. 6 election, but the political makeup of the council is likely to remain roughly the same with Republicans outnumbering Democrats. The only question is whether the GOP majority is 5 to 2 or 4 to 3.

• The District 2 race won’t affect that equation; it’s between two Republicans – incumbent Joyce McDonald, a former state representative from Puyallup, and Jeffery Hogan, the mayor of Edgewood. The district also includes Sumner, Milton and Northeast Tacoma.

Hogan’s main issue with McDonald has been her strong support for creating a flood control district that could levy a small countywide tax aimed at preventing and mitigating flood damage. Given the vulnerability of so much of the district to a catastrophic flood, her position makes sense.

Hogan could be a viable candidate for this position in four years, when McDonald term-limits out. But for now, district voters should stick with the incumbent (they gave her 68 percent of the vote in the primary). She works hard for their concerns and deserves a second term.

Here are our endorsements in the other council races – all open seats:

• The race for the open District 3 seat being vacated by Republican Roger Bush is déjà vu all over again, pitting Republican state Rep. Jim McCune of Graham against former state Sen. Marilyn Rasmussen of Eatonville. She ran against him unsuccessfully two years ago for his 2nd District House seat. District 3 also includes Spanaway, Frederickson and Ashford.

We can’t honestly say we’re enthusiastic about either of these candidates, but we think Rasmussen is the better choice. She runs a cattle and timber farm, so she’s familiar with the kind of property issues that many in her district face.

McCune, a salmon marketer and distributor, holds rigid, absolutist views on property rights that reflect no understanding of how anything-goes development can ruin neighborhoods and communities.
Rasmussen would be the more pragmatic representative for the district.

• If any council district can be said to be a Democratic stronghold, it’s District 4, which includes much of Tacoma, University Place and Fircrest. This seat is currently held by Tacoma Democrat Tim Farrell, who is term-limited out.

In the Aug. 7 primary featuring two Democrats and two Republicans, state Rep. Connie Ladenburg, D-Tacoma, emerged with 39 percent of the votes. Coming in second – barely, and after a recount – was Republican Ken Grassi, a businessman and 16-year member of the University Place City Council. He won 23 percent of the votes.

These are both excellent candidates, and district voters would be well represented by either one. But Ladenburg has the broader experience, having served on the Tacoma City Council and in the Legislature. She gets our endorsement.

• Councilman Dick Muri, R-Steilacoom, is term-limited out of his seat representing District 6, which includes Lakewood, DuPont, Steilacoom, Anderson Island, part of Parkland and Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Republican Doug Richardson, who has served on the Lakewood City Council since the city’s birth in 1995 and is now mayor, faces Anderson Island Democrat Ann Dasch, a small business owner and newcomer to politics. She serves on the Anderson Island Citizens’ Advisory Board and the county’s Ferry Committee.

Richardson, a Northrop Grumman senior manager, won 57 percent of the primary vote. He is the clear choice in this race. The retired Army brigadier general co-chairs the Elected Officials Council of the South Sound Military and Communities Partnership. He’s highly knowledgeable about the issues facing this military-oriented district and has made valuable contacts during his civic and military service that will serve him well on the County Council.

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