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As election season approaches, a dearth of open seats for Lakewood, UP city councils

Post by Christian Hill / The News Tribune on April 25, 2013 at 2:14 pm with No Comments »
April 26, 2013 2:16 pm

Nearly all the incumbents up for election on the Lakewood and University Place city councils will run for new four-year terms.

With filing week less than three weeks away, just one newcomer has stepped forward in either city so far. Don Daniels, chairman of the Lakewood Planning Advisory Board, announced he is running for the seat that Councilwoman Helen McGovern will vacate near the end of the year.

Daniels was one of 11 other candidates to apply to fill the council seat vacated by former Mayor Doug Richardson, but the council picked McGovern, who served on the council previously, in February. McGovern said she would not run for election.

Deputy Mayor Jason Whalen and council members Michael Brandstetter and Mary Moss will seek second terms.

In neighboring University Place, Mayor Ken Grassi told The News Tribune he will run for his fifth four-year term. Grassi is the last remaining member of the original council that was seated shortly before University Place became a city in 1995.

Grassi said the city is continuing its efforts to develop parks, open spaces and its business base, and he also wants to be part of the U.S. Open that will be played at the Chambers Bay Golf Course in 2015.

“I would very much like to see Town Center really on its way to development,” Grassi said. “I think we’re so close to that.”

Grassi who ran unsuccessfully for the Pierce County Council last fall, didn’t rule out running for the same office again.

Council members Eric Choiniere, Javier Figueroa and Denise McCluskey said they’d seek second terms.

Figueroa said the political scene has been quiet in the community.

“I got my ear out there and there doesn’t seem to be anyone out there wanting to challenge any of the incumbents,” Figueroa said.

He said that could be due to several hot-button issues central to the City Council campaigns four years ago subsiding. The city has opened its library, Town Center development is progressing, and the city’s finances have stabilized after some significant budget cuts and with last year’s refinancing of debt that was owed on Town Center

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