Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Unusual Council Race Shapes Up in Pullman; Is PARD Finished?

It was with some trepidation that I watched developments in the Pullman City Council elections slated for this November. Four council seats are open, as well as the office of Mayor.

It was widely known that incumbent Councilman David Stiller, Ward 3, was stepping down. Ward 3, if you recall, is Judy “The Trolley Conductor” Krueger’s ward. Many others and myself anticipated a repeat of her doomed 2005 council run, only this time possibly without an opponent.

In addition, there was the possibility that Krueger’s fellow 2005 PARD council candidate, Gary “The Phantom Menace” Johnson would resurface for a run in Ward 1 against Francis Benjamin. Krueger, Johnson, or possibly another PARDner, could have also run for the at-large seat currently held by Keith Bloom.

Thank God, even after the filing deadline was extended by three days, that didn’t happen. No PARD candidate has filed for any position. I guess they realize they’re finished. Or perhaps some more moderate local Democrats realize they will be in the local political wilderness forever if their party always takes a hardcore anti-Wal-Mart stance. Who knows?

Mayor Johnson, along with Councilmen Bloom and Benjamin, will run unopposed. That’s great news, as they constitute a big part of the core of our pro-growth council, along with Ann Heath, Barney Waldrop, Bill Paul and Al Sorensen.

In Ward 3, newcomer Devon Felsted, will run unopposed for Stiller’s seat. Felsted, the president and general manager of Pullman Disposal Service, has Democratic ties (he donated $75 to Caitlin Ross’ campaign and $105 to Nathan Horter’s campaigns last year) but reportedly supported Michael Largent, a Republican, for County Commissioner. Felsted has no obvious PARD connections, and shouldn’t represent a problem. Stiller has always been widely regarded as a Democrat, and now someone with similar political leanings will take his seat.

The only contested race this fall will be in Ward 2, where incumbent Councilman Al Sorensen will face off against last year’s Democratic candidate for the District 3 Whitman County Commissioner seat, Nathan Weller. Should be an interesting (and clean) campaign, with Sorensen’s proven experience matched up against Weller’s youth and ideas. I only hope Nathan sticks with his previously stated support of Wal-Mart and doesn’t take a position against growth and development to curry favor with our local, left-wing Democrats.

In any case, this year’s council race should have none of the fireworks and rancor of the 2005 campaign.

As always, stay tuned to Palousitics for complete coverage of Pullman and Whitman County politics you won’t find anywhere else.

1 comment:

April E. Coggins said...

Because of Pullman Disposal's exclusive contract with the City of Pullman, I don't believe Devon Felsted can legally serve. Every household and business within Pullman MUST subscribe to Pullman Disposal Service. If someone challenges Mr. Felsted's standing, Pullman could find itself with out garbage service. Wouldn't that be a nice mess?

RCW 42.23.030
Interest in contracts prohibited -- Exceptions.
1. No municipal officer shall be beneficially interested, directly or indirectly, in any contract which may be made by, through or under the supervision of such officer, in whole or in part, or which may be made for the benefit of his or her office, or accept, directly or indirectly, any compensation, gratuity or reward in connection with such contract from any other person beneficially interested therein.

RCW 42.23.050
Prohibited contracts void -- Penalties for violation of chapter.
1. Any contract made in violation of the provisions of this chapter is void and the performance thereof, in full or in part, by a contracting party shall not be the basis of any claim against the municipality. Any officer violating the provisions of this chapter is liable to the municipality of which he or she is an officer for a penalty in the amount of five hundred dollars, in addition to such other civil or criminal liability or penalty as may otherwise be imposed upon the officer by law.

In addition to all other penalties, civil or criminal, the violation by any officer of the provisions of this chapter may be grounds for forfeiture of his or her office.

More info can be found here: