Assessing the candidates

October 19th, 2015 by Ken

Voters in Lacey have four major races on the November ballot.  So throw away the Voter’s Guide you received in the mail recently and follow along with me as I try to assess those races.

The race for the Lacey City Council seat between  Jeff Gadman and his challenger Bill Frare comes down to one central issue – – are you happy with Andy Ryder as mayor of Lacey.    If Frare is elected, Ryder will be out as mayor, replaced by Virgil Clarkson.  In Lacey, the mayor is elected by the city council to represent the council.   Ryder was elected by a 4-3 vote two years ago and beat out Clarkson for the job.  While Frare has not said whether or not he will vote to replace Ryder as mayor – – he is being supported by those who opposed Ryder the last time around.

In the race for the Lacey Fire District seat between incumbent Gene Dobry and his challenger Paul Perz  the question of who to vote for comes down to one central issue.   Is it a conflict of interest to elect Perz to the leadership of the Lacey fire district when he has two sons serving as Lacey firefighters?  Dobry has done a great job in the eight years he has served on the board and has kept all of the promises he made when first elected.  Perz has a background in community involvement and retired as the assistant state fire marshal.  That’s a strong record of service.   But – as far as I’m concerned, it’s a major conflict of interest to vote on pay and benefits for your own sons.   As expected, the firefighters union is strongly endorsing Perz.  You have to ask yourself – – does Perz’s record of service overcome the blatant conflict of interest?  I don’t believe so.

In the race for Olympia Port Commission, the issue becomes one of status quo or radical change.   If you believe the Port of Olympia is doing a good job of representing you and its main goal of economic development, then you need to vote for Jerry Farmer for Port Commissioner.   If you think the port is out-of-touch and wasting your money then you need to vote for EJ Zita.   It’s that simple.  Zita thinks the port has done a poor job communicating with the public and has failed in its efforts to represent all of the people of Thurston County.   Farmer believes the port is a great partner and must continue its efforts to do more.   I have a Jerry Farmer sign in my front yard.

The other race for the Olympia Port Commission  features Joe Downing, a former member of the port’s Citizen Advisory Committee  against a community icon – George Barner – the incumbent and former Thurston County Commissioner.  Downing has a background in finance and consumer protection and is being endorsed and supported by a large number of port users, particular from the boating community.   Downing has accused Barner of being out-of-touch with the 21st Century by his inability to adapt to the new technology.   I think Downing would make a good port commissioner — however I’m voting for George.   He wants one more term to accomplish some of his goals and I’m giving it to him.

(Editors note:  Interviews with all of these candidates are available by simply clicking on the “Coffee With Ken” button at the top of this page.)

Posted in Local Politics, The Real News

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