Published 9:39 am Thursday, June 28, 2007

By Staff
When the filing season for municipal elections opens July 6, expect a lot of candidates to sign up to run for the five seats on the Washington City Council.
Expect Mayor Judy Meier Jennette, who hasn’t announced whether she will seek re-election, to face at least one challenger.
With issues such as what to do with the former Evans Seafood property, annexation and determining the best ways to manage growth to be addressed, there’s a good likelihood about 10 to 12 people will campaign to become council members. There are a lot of people with their own ideas when it comes to governing the city.
The more candidates to choose from, the better it will be for voters. A council race with a dozen or so candidates would provide voters a better opportunity to support candidates who represent their views. The same thought applies to the mayoral race.
It should not come as a shock if one, two or three candidates seeking to unseat incumbent council members take the current council to task for its stand on the former Evans Seafood property. It’s a good bet there are enough voters out there who take a differing view on what to do with that half-acre site the city owns. By getting behind one or two candidates who feel the same way as they feel, those voters could put a person or two on the council who would fight any plans to sell the land for commercial development purposes.
Other candidates may want to acquire seats on the council so they can put the brakes on what they consider inappropriate development. With condominium projects springing up in the city like mushrooms after a rain, some candidates may find support from a group of people who believe projects like Buoy Tender Station, Moss Landing, Washington Center and Bridge Harbor are spoiling Washington’s small-town charms.
There may be candidates who believe the city needs development such as the condominium projects and The George — Little Inn at Washington proposal to improve the city’s economy and grow its tax base.
There may be candidates who believe annexation is one way for the city to grow, expand its tax base and improve its economy. Those candidates may find some support from city residents whose tax dollars are paying for services enjoyed by people who live near the city but not within its limits. Those people may view annexation as a way for people who benefit from the city to pay their share of what it costs the city to provide those benefits.
There may be some candidates who believe they have the right strategies when it comes to operating the city more efficiently, making the city’s enterprise funds self-supporting and improving the quality of life in the city.
Elections are about choices. Voters, by making their choices in voting booths, determine who will affect their lives and the lives of those who choose not to vote. Candidates, by taking positions on important issues, provide voters choices when it comes to which person or persons will best represent their views when those issues are discussed at the local, state or federal levels of government.
An abundance of candidates may mean a crowded ballot, candidate forums that last four hours and political advertising all over the place. That’s the price to be paid for having choices.
So when the filing period ends at noon July 20, it would be in voters’ best interests to have many candidates from which to choose five council members and a mayor. And when those candidates are waiting for voters to mark their ballots on Election Day, it would be wonderful for them to see many voters heading to the polls to mark those ballots.
Voters deserve choices. Candidates deserve voters who want to help them make choices when it comes to deciding what’s best for the city.