Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Monday, August 22, 2005

Council Election Update

Things are beginning to heat up in the city council races.

Ward 1, Position 7

The Moscow-Pullman Daily News reported Saturday that Gary Johnson is running as a write-in candidate against incumbent Bill Paul and WSU student Joshua Coke. Johnson had originally filed in the wrong ward and was disqualified from the ballot. Not sure yet what his position on growth is, but if he's running against Bill Paul, whose pro-growth record is impeccable, it can't be a good thing. It'll be an uphill battle for Johnson in any case. Write-in campaigns are very difficult.

Ward 3, Position 3

Ann Heath, incumbent, had an entry in the Lentil Festival Grand Parade on Saturday. "Retain Ann Heath" signs were spotted on both Spring and Crestview today, as well as at a lunchtime mini-sign waving event in a Pioneer Hill front yard.

Judy Krueger was in the parade also, riding on the Neill-Wysup Chrysler-Dodge entry. She had a booth at the Friday night street fair as well. Picked up one of her flyers. She is an attorney with an extensive background in the federal bureaucracy (just what we need). No mention of her PARD membership or Wal-Mart. In case you don't remember, Judy Krueger was the person who wrote the letter from PARD to Mayor Johnson requesting a "public meeting" about Wal-Mart. PARD has mentioned that the denial of this meeting could be the basis for a future law suit against the city.

Perhaps she is distancing herself for the campaign, although this picture taken of the PARD booth at the Lentil Festival certainly tells the real story:

Krueger's flyer uses all the right buzzwords to indicate her opposition to Wal-Mart, such as "preservation of unique character of Pullman", "reasonable land development," "transparency in government," "zoning law reform," and "local business promotion." But she still leaves enough wiggle room to claim to be pro-growth with "increase in retail stores and restaurants," "downtown parking lots," and "more land for technology and light industries."

Don Heil had a booth at the Lentil Fest street fair Friday night and was profiled on the front page of the Daily News on Saturday. Mr. Heil has lived in Pullman for almost 50 years and has been very active in town beautification projects. He seems to be a fellow traveller with PARD ideologically, but I can't imagine they would run two candidates against each other in the same ward. His platform seems to be "Pullman should be just like it was in 1958." Maybe he needs Doc to send him back to the future in the Delorean.

Mr. Heil thinks Pullman's "charm and friendliness have been eroded over time" and he would "like to restore some of Pullman's grace." The students are maybe a little wilder now, but what else has changed with the town? I think most people would still consider Pullman to be very neighborly and livable. Why else would people be flocking here?

Heil believes the council should put "people before the tax base," whatever that means. Not a great attitude for a city council that will be facing negative cash reserves in less than three years. The council's first and foremost duty is to provide critical services to a growing population, such as police, fire, and streets, and there is no way to do that without tax revenue.

Heil seems to share many professors' neo-urbanist thinking and also hinted around about Wal-Mart, but never mentioned it by name ("we aren't going to be another Spokane"). Why can't these anti-Wal-Mart candidates just come right out and say they are against it, especially if they are so convinced the majority in the town feels the same way?

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