Vacant council position draws 4 | Inside Politics

The retirement of long-time City Council member Jeanne Burbidge has opened the door for four candidates to replace her. The primary election on Aug. 1 will reduce the field to two finalists. The best chance to see all four at one time is the Mirror candidate debate night July 12 at Twin Lakes Golf &Country Club.

Today we take a look at Diana Noble-Gulliford and Jack Stanford.

Noble-Gulliford and Stanford have been well-known community leaders for many years and are very similar candidates who may draw from the same pool of voters. In a low primary turnout, as this is expected to be, that could eliminate one or both candidates.

Both are Republicans, active in business and helped lead the community into cityhood. Each is active in many organizations in town.

Noble-Gulliford was in real estate and is president of the Historical Society. She serves on the Planning Commission and was previously appointed to the City Council. She was defeated by current Councilman Martin Moore in her bid to retain the seat four years ago.

Stanford owns Stanford Insurance, is a mentor for Communities In Schools, and served as an elected fire commissioner.

Both candidates place public safety as the highest city priority and supported the moratorium on apartments.

Noble-Gulliford acknowledges that crime is down statistically but believes the public is still fearful and that an unsafe perception exists among voters. She is not likely to support additional taxes for more officers, however, until an audit is done on Proposition 1 from 2006, which promised more police. She wants to be assured that the community is getting what it was promised and has already paid for. She also has concerns about the long-term financial impact the Performing Arts and Event Center will have on future city budgets. Supporter Mark Freitas said, “she doesn’t waffle and holds people accountable.”

Noble-Gulliford believes we need to find a better solution for our homeless problem than what the city is doing now and said, “We need to expect more from our elected leaders.” In addition to former Fire Commissioner Freitas, speakers at her kickoff included Councilwoman Susan Honda, former Councilwoman Kelly Maloney and former State Rep. Linda Kochmar.

Stanford believes the biggest problem confronting the city is gangs. His second priority would be solving the homeless problem. He is open to either a facility for the homeless or a small house program. Though a fiscal conservative, he would have voted for the PAEC. He is a strong supporter of economic development and would have supported Pacific Highway over I-5 as the preferred alternative for Sound Transit as it is closer to the neighborhoods of people who would use it and would have stimulated growth in the city north-south corridor.

Stanford believes “the city needs a new approach to its economic development efforts” and wants the Chamber of Commerce, South King Fire &Rescue, along with Lakehaven Water and Sewer district, to be part of a more inclusive effort.

His supporters include former Attorney General Rob McKenna, former mayors Jack Dovey and Mary Gates, along with Fire Commissioner Bill Gates.

Stanford and Noble-Gilliford earned their community stripes many years ago. They are both positive, thoughtful and easy to like. They, and many others, have been part of the fabric of this community for 40 years and want to extend their community service. Neither is likely to use a seat on the City Council to run for higher office. Though both are conservative Republicans, neither would be described as a politician, nor are they likely to consider party politics in their decision making.

But voters will want to know, how will they be different in problem solving from the current council? How will they bring something new to the homeless debate ? What will they do to encourage a more inclusive community? Or will they simply continue the status quo?

A seat on the City Council pays $14,214 plus benefits, and the winner will receive a four-year term that entitles them to attend countless meetings, miss time with their family and listen to endless resident complaints. The reward? A rare opportunity to actually make a difference in the community in which you live.

Next week, a closer look at Hoang Tran and Sharry Edwards.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former Auburn mayor and retired public official. He can be reached at

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