Opinion

Election 2009 candidate endorsements | Mirror editorial

Federal Way City Council

• For position 6, The Mirror recommends voting for Roger Freeman. He represents the next generation in Federal Way, and is already a role model for local youth. He will need to catch up on everyday policy and city business issues, but Freeman is an intelligent soul who will learn quickly. He is a good communicator with ideas that have potential to open doors in Federal Way. Diana Noble-Gulliford is a formidable opponent and would make a fine council member. She has deep roots in the city and has seen Federal Way grow up. However, Freeman could add a dynamic that is missing from the current council lineup.

• For position 2, The Mirror recommends voting for Linda Kochmar. From the time of Federal Way’s incorporation, Kochmar has been engaged in civic issues. She understands the role small businesses play in Federal Way’s economy. She is also involved in regional boards including the Puget Sound Regional Council, and was named chairwoman of the Suburban Cities Association’s public issues committee. Her opponent, Sonia Sciscente, while inexperienced, would make a fine public servant someday. However, she has not offered a clear reason for replacing Kochmar on the council.

• For position 4, The Mirror recommends voting for Jeanne Burbidge. She has demonstrated an expertise in transportation funding and policy issues. She actively works to provide South King County with access to public transportation and is a supportive voice for the arts. Burbidge has turned her role into an unofficial full-time gig that’s steeped in community involvement. With proven leadership that will be missed once its gone, Burbidge deserves another four years. Her opponent, Mike Peterson, has done his homework and would make a great council member. But it is hard to compete with Burbidge’s credentials.

Federal Way School Board

• For position 1, The Mirror recommends voting for Ed Barney. He and opponent Bill Pirkle both care about the success of students, but each presents a different route to get there. Pirkle offers clever, albeit extreme, solutions to refine Federal Way’s approach to education. He promises to launch some hot debates — and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The question is whether his outspokenness would lead to more distractions rather than results. Barney is not the strongest of the school board candidates, but he has shown a commitment to teamwork over the past eight years, and that’s what a school board needs to move forward.

• For position 4, The Mirror recommends voting for Angela Griffin. She is connected with the dynamics of today’s educational environment and social roadblocks. Griffin is an advocate for early learning as part of basic education in Washington state. Armed with a master’s degree in education, Griffin is a proven team player with an eye on the bigger picture. Her opponent, Steve Skipper, also cares deeply about the current and future state of education. But Griffin has done well in her first year of appointment to the board, and should have the opportunity to complete a full term.

FW Municipal Court judge

• For position 1, The Mirror recommends voting for Rebecca Robertson. Of the challengers who filed to run against incumbent Michael Morgan, Robertson is the most qualified professionally. With ample experience as a prosecutor and pro-tem judge, Robertson will be ready to take the bench from day one. She will help restore an overall image of professionalism at the court and bring back a sense of stability. Despite his talent as a judge, Morgan’s publicly-reprimanded behavior while running the court has given both the institution and the city a black eye. It is unlikely that behavior will change if he stays in office.

• For position 2, The Mirror recommends voting for David Larson. The lifelong Federal Way resident has served the past 18 months as judge after the city appointed him to the job. He is the more qualified candidate who made an earnest attempt to mediate controversy involving the court’s presiding judge. The clincher is Larson’s proposed “court improvement plan” and his effort to defend the municipal court from termination by the city. His opponent, Renee Walls, could make a good judge, but a few more years of experience as a pro-tem judge would give her stronger credentials to run again.

Lakehaven Utility District

• For commissioner position 1, The Mirror recommends voting for Len Englund. He was appointed to the district board in April, following the resignation of Bev Tweddle. This longtime community volunteer was chosen out of nine applicants for the job by the rest of the board members. His opponent, Ron Hall, is knowledgeable about the ins and outs of water, sewer and utility districts. However, Englund is already engaged in Lakehaven’s goals and challenges. Englund deserves a chance to show what he can do.

South King Fire and Rescue

• For commissioner position 3, The Mirror recommends voting for Roger Hershey. This year, the board of commissioners will drop one position to get back to five positions, a move that was decided in 2006 when South King and Des Moines Fire Department combined. Hershey is a current commissioner. His opponent, John Rickert, is a former commissioner vying to get back on the board.

Both candidates would make a fine commissioner. The Mirror prefers Hershey’s perspectives on the fire department’s direction. Hershey is also a more visible presence for the fire department due to his service on other regional and state commissions.

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These endorsements reflect the views of The Mirror’s editorial board.

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