Democratic state Rep. Mike Pellicciotti overshadowed the parade of candidates filing for local office with his announcement that he will run for state treasurer next year against incumbent Duane Davidson. The underlying news is that candidates for Pellicciotti’s seat have been maneuvering for at least three weeks as the rumor of Pellicciotti interest filtered out. Speculation includes at least six names. But that’s another column.
City council positions are at-large and non-partisan and the political parties do not have significant influence over city policy. However, I usually list their party, if I know it, to give the reader an understanding of their likely base of support and philosophy. Most candidates try and play both parties for support. Some council members and candidates showed up at competing candidates fundraisers to mine the crowd for their own race or future. It didn’t go unnoticed by the hosts.
The lead story of the council races is that Mayor Jim Ferrell appears to be lining up an informal slate to regain control of the council, which has not been the rubber stamp he enjoyed his first four years.
In council races, we will have two primaries with interesting dynamics. In Position 3, incumbent Susan Honda has raised $5,227 and is thought to be more independent, after some participation with the Republicans. She is being challenged by Sharry Edwards who has been active with Democrats, and has the public support of Ferrell. Ferrell has usually been more careful about visibility, but makes no secret of his desire to defeat Honda who ran against him for mayor. He helped Edwards last time she ran but this is a direct challenge to Honda.
The Edwards-Ferrell fundraiser was held after filing and had only $500, but will show more after the next update. Lamont Styles also filed, forcing a primary. Honda and Edwards used to be allies as homeless advocates, but now Edwards has become allied with Ferrell, who charitably, is not a homeless advocate. Styles is a strong supporter of youth and family programs.
In Position 7, former Republican state Rep. and Mayor Linda Kochmar becomes the front runner to fill the vacancy left by Dini Duclos’s decision not to run again. Kochmar has raised $1,315 but held her fundraiser late filing week, and a better idea of her fundraising will be known after the next update.
Two new candidates are Katherine Festa and Tony Pagliocco. Festa works for the county, is active with district Democrats, and had county Executive Dow Constantine speak at her kick-off. She has raised $5,634. Pagliocco works in the technology field and is relatively new to Federal Way, but has been campaigning since last year to increase name familiarity and has joined several local organizations, including the district Republican party where he became friends with council member Martin Moore, and the council appointed him to a city commission. But in a twist worth watching, Ferrell also appointed him to a commission. Pagliocco has raised $6,060 including loans from himself.
In Position 5 incumbent Mark Koppang will be challenged by Jamila Taylor. Koppang is a former chair of the district Republicans and has raised $3,200, and Taylor is active with the Democrats and serves on the city Human Resources Commission. She has raised $5,313. In another relationship twist worth watching, Mayor Ferrell, Sharry Edwards, Tony Pagliocco and Martin Moore all donated to Koppang.
And maybe looking to crop his bet a little, Pagliocco also donated to Susan Honda. All the relationship overlaps are worth watching as winners sometimes feel an obligation to those who supported them when they needed it. Ferrell may be looking to install a more compliant group of council members, as the current council has been more likely to develop its own goals, and occasionally pushes back on Ferrell on social issues such as youth programs and housing, and went against him on sending our homeless to Burien.
In Position 1 Lydia Assefa-Dawson will run unopposed.
To break down who is backing who by Democrat or Republican Party would be misleading, although there is Republican flavor to Ferrell’s informal slate. Don’t count Republican Kochmar in that group as she has been very critical of Ferrell’s financial management and city debt.
The breakdown is really more conservative versus moderate with Ferrell’s group more conservative. These should be good races by the time the debates come around in the fall. Have your questions ready when they knock on your door. We’ll take a closer look at each candidate and their views on issues in a future column.
Pay close attention to school board races as there are three new appointees to learn about and policy disagreements usually tend to be more subtle than council candidates. However, that may not be the case this time. Board members are elected by neighborhood district though voted on school district-wide.
In District 2, appointee Jennifer Jones will be opposed by Elizabeth Carlson. In District 3, appointee Luckisha Phillips will be challenged by Tenya Magruder. Magruder may bring an unusual view to the race. Appointee Trudy Davis will run unopposed in District 4, as will incumbent Hiroshi Eto in District 5.
At Lakehaven Water and Sewer District, incumbent Tim McClain will be opposed by Kate Mitchell in Position 4, and in Position 2 Jeremy DelMar will oppose incumbent Don Miller.
Do your homework.
Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.