Opinion

Key elements in Federal Way's 2013 election | Roegner

School starts next week and with it begins the general election season, when more voters start to pay attention to the candidates.

Fundraising, endorsements and advertising are key elements to watch.

The mayoral race will pick up momentum with debates sponsored by The Mirror and the Federal Way Chamber of Commerce in October. Both candidates are raising money, doorbelling and refining their strategy.

A key issue will be the proposed Performing Arts and Conference Center (PACC). Incumbent Mayor Skip Priest supports it as an economic development opportunity. Challenger and Deputy Mayor Jim Ferrell opposes the PACC as too costly when there are other needs. He is calling for an advisory election next year to test public support for the project. What does the public think?

With some crime statistics up and domestic violence an issue after the Pinewood Apartment murders last April, public safety will also be an issue, so watch to see how the Federal Way Police Officers Guild’s support of Ferrell gets played out. Does it show Ferrell has a stronger degree of interest in public safety, or is he too cozy with the guild? And does the earlier complaint by Councilmember Kelly Maloney against  Mayor Priest over his behavior play a role in the mayoral race — as it seemed to in Maloney’s primary race — or has the community moved past it?

Some believe Ferrell lost last time because he didn’t define a difference between himself and Priest, who has successfully held office for more than a decade and has a loyal foundation of supporters. What will Ferrell’s strategy be this time? This is a close race. Priest holds front-runner status, but it looks a little shaky.

Some of the same issues will come into play in the city council races. Everyone was very nice through the primary. But now it’s time to find out who is serious about winning.

New appointees Kelly Maloney and Diana Noble-Gulliford are being challenged by Mark Koppang and Martin Moore, respectively.

With Maloney holding a large lead coming out of the primary, Koppang is going to have to paint a stark contrast between himself and Maloney. Despite the fact that both are on the conservative side, there are differences. Third-place finisher Anthony Murrietta endorsed Maloney, which could serve as a signal to Democrats. Maloney is in good position. Koppang has to take the gloves off.

Martin Moore led coming out of the primary, but Ryan Miller, who finished third, is supporting Noble-Gulliford. Moore is a Democrat and Noble-Gulliford is a Republican. Council seats are non-partisan, but both political parties want their people elected. This race is very close. Slight edge to Noble-Gulliford.

There may be unusually high interest this year in the South King Fire and Rescue (SKFR) board of commissioners race between incumbent Bill Gates and challenger Jerry Galland.

There have been questions for several years about whether a true check and balance system exists between the board and staff.

Galland has caught some public attention and raised questions about the fire chief’s son and his discipline issues, nepotism within the department, and the chief’s employment contract. Watch to see if Galland is able to move the discussion in his favor by raising additional questions.

Gates is well respected in the area, and at this point, he is the front-runner. But Gates is also going to have to explain the problems to the public that Galland has raised.

The Federal Way School Board could have some interesting races as Carol Gregory and Medgar Wells vie for the seat being vacated by Angela Griffin, while longtime incumbent Ed Barney is challenged by Geoffery McAnalloy.

Will the superintendent’s salary and travel be an issue, or will the discussion move toward budget and planning for the future? Gregory has an impressive education resume and looks to be the leader. Wells has a good background, but he will have to spend a lot of money to match Gregory’s name and contacts.

Barney has been on the board for a long time, has good name identification and is the front-runner. But McAnalloy looks like a good candidate. Can he show a difference between himself and Barney? Or does Barney’s experience carry him?

Get ready for the election season and watch what the candidates do and say.

 

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