While the candidates’ stances on major issues such as Point Wells were similar, stark differences in types of experience, leadership styles and tactics emerged at the Shoreline candidates’ forum sponsored by the Richmond Beach Community Association, Tuesday night.
About 60 people showed up to Richmond Beach Congregational Church to hear from candidates for contested races for Shoreline City Council Positions 2, 4 and 6; Ronald Wastewater District Position 1 and Shoreline Fire Commission Position 1.
The questions for the six City Council candidates, who are seeking four-year terms, asked them about their position on Point Wells, their position on eminent domain in Richmond Beach in regard to development at Point Wells and if the Ronald Wastewater District should become under the auspices of the city as planned in 2017.
Incumbent vs. challenger , City Council Position 2
Hubbell, a business consultant, who served as general manager of the Club Hollywood and Drift on Inn casinos in Shoreline until 2007, emphasized his business experience, involvement in Shoreline Schools Foundation, service as a YMCA board member during the development of the Dale Turner YMCA and involvement in St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Seattle.
He touted his skills as a negotiator and service on an economic development committee in Shoreline.
Eggen, a retired University of Washington electrical engineer and Vietnam Veteran, mentioned his involvement with the Shoreline Chamber Dollars for Scholars and Shoreline Solar project.
As a Councilman, Eggen stressed his support of fiscally responsible projects and early reviews of the city budget. He also said he encouraged a working relationship between City Hall and the Shoreline Chamber of Commerce to reduce red tape businesses have to deal with.
He added that he had championed parks and the environment and worked with the Shoreline School District on the siting of a park at Aldercrest Annex that will not require tax dollars.
He said he advocated for transit and roads policies that make sense for residents.
In the case of Point Wells, Hubbell said he preferred negotiation as opposed to litigation, since fewer people are involved when litigation comes into play. However, “if litigation is needed I will support it 110 percent.”
Hubbell said a smaller development than the one planned for Point Wells would match the community better, what’s needed is a common understanding of what people would like to see there.
“I think that’s for the community to decide,” he said.
He opposes eminent domain in Richmond Beach.
Eggen also opposes the Point Wells development as proposed.
“I also believe the Point Wells development is unfair to Shoreline,” he said. “Someone else gets benefits and we get costs and negative effects.”
Eggen said an alternative would be to create metropolitan park district but that would require “a great deal of community buy-in and require a community group to push it.”
He still favors negotiation before filing a lawsuit, which “might be our last resort.” He said he also pushed the city to get a second legal opinion.
He also pledged to oppose any plans for eminent domain in Richmond Beach.
As for the incorporation of Ronald Wastewater District into Shoreline, Hubbell said he would want the city to be clear on its intent of taking over the existing service. He’d like to do more research on the integrity of the system and what improvements need to be made.
On the Ronald Wastewater District, Eggen said he would only vote to put it to a vote of the people
“I’m in a show me position now I want to see if there really are going to be efficiencies from annexation before I decide my vote,” Eggen said.
Council Position No. 4, vs.
This hotly contested race is a contrast in styles and both candidates came out swinging.
Way, an environmental and historic preservation activist and blogger, served on the Council from 2005-2009. She deterred a development in the Paramount Park area where she lives years ago and that started her foray into activism.
“I think what Shoreline needs is straightforward leadership,” she said. “I am an activist and have stood up for what’s right.”
Incumbent McConnell, a Richmond Beach resident and real estate investor and widowed single mother, who has been a leader in the PTA and remains connected to the Shoreline Public Schools, said she was asked to run four years ago to restore civility to the Council.
Way opposes the Point Wells project and called it a “terrible” idea.
“I believe that Shoreline needs to stand up for Richmond Beach Shoreline needs to fight for Richmond Beach, because Richmond Beach is a fundamental historic community it is part of the legacy of this city. We need to stand up and fight with litigation if necessary,” she said.
McConnell said, “it’s not just a Richmond Beach issue, it’s a whole city issue,” and that “no decision is going to be made without a public process.”
McConnell said she agreed that the city should negotiate before engaging in litigation, but she conceded that letter of intent issued by the city which described its intent to negotiate with the developer was perceived badly by many people and will require the Council to win back trust.
Both Way and McConnell oppose eminent domain in Richmond Beach.
While Way emphasized her role in making sustainability a priority for the city, McConnell said while the environment is important it’s not as important to many people as it is to Way.
Way claimed while she was on the Council she never missed any meetings while McConnell missed nine meetings in 2010, including an April meeting, during which a vote on the Point Wells Subarea Plan was taken.
McConnell disputed Way’s figures of how many meetings she missed and said she missed the April meeting to visit colleges in California with her son, calling Way’s accusation “hitting below the belt.”
Council Position No. 6, Jesse Salomon vs.
Salomon, the only lawyer running for office, works as a public defender. The Ridgecrest resident has worked in the ecology youth corps and founded a nonprofit for homeless youth and has served as a child welfare advocate.
McClelland, a former Shoreline planning commissioner, lives in Richmond Highlands and said she’s running to “keep Shoreline the best place to live.”
She said the city must complete the Aurora Corridor Project’s last two miles.
Salomon and McClelland both oppose the Point Wells project as it stands and eminent domain in Richmond Beach.
Salomon said he believes a higher court could invalidate the developer’s permit from Snohomish County.
“It’s wrong and it must be stopped,” McClelland said of Point Wells.
Ronald Wastewater District, Position 1, Incumbent Arne Lind vs. challenger Bob Ransom
Ransom, the challenger, is trying to make a political comeback after being defeated in the contentious 2007 City Council campaign by Terry Scott.
Lind, the incumbent, holds the current six-year term and has been in office for 12 years.
In 2002, the Ronald Wastewater District expanded to serve the entire city except the Highlands and a contract was reached with the city to absorb the Wastewater District into the city in 2017. The merger is supposed to start in 2015.
Ransom claims the city’s lawyers in 2002 stated that a vote by the people to absorb the Wastewater District was not necessary. Lind counters that a vote is necessary, according to state law, and it’s up the residents to ultimately make that decision.
Shoreline Fire Commission Position 1, Incumbent Jon Kennison vs. challenger
Kennison was in California and could not make the event so fellow Fire Commissioner Jim Fisher stood-in for him. Kennison has been on the commission since 1986 and is a member of the King County Fire Commissioner’s Association and EMS Strategic Planning Committee.
Fischer, an employee of the Shoreline School District and small business owner, whose husband is firefighter, said, “ Jon has had a long run and served well, but it’s time for some fresh new ideas and perspectives.”