Three races in the Aug. 4 primary pit incumbents who have given voters good reason to retain them against challengers who don’t make cases for replacing them. In each race, the top two vote-getters will move on to the Nov. 3 general election.
▪ In a Port of Tacoma commission contest, Position 5 incumbent Clare Petrich faces two challengers: retired Navy officer and wood products manager Dick Walters and health system security specialist Patrick A. Gallagher.
Petrich, who owns a marine dock on Thea Foss Waterway, is seeking her sixth term on the port commission. She’s been part of a successful leadership team that brokered the Northwest Seaport Alliance with the Port of Seattle — a good competitive move, but one we wish had been done with more transparency.
Along with Dick Marzano, Petrich is the longest-serving commission member. Voters who would like to see a new face on the commission have a credible alternative in Walters, but he hasn’t identified anything that the incumbent has done that he would have done differently. Voters should stick with Petrich.
Gallagher is opposed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would be a huge boon for the port and the Northwest. He’s a poor prospect for the commission.
A second port race has only one challenger; it will be decided in the general election.
▪ Three seats are up for election on the Lakewood City Council, but only Marie Barth has opposition. Her Position 6 challengers are Ben Gonter and Michael J. Petan; only Gonter appears to be campaigning.
Gonter, a special education teacher, has an odd idea for civic improvement: Lakewood should buy up the lower-income housing on 100th Street Southwest across from Lowe’s, demolish it and rebuild with better quality homes. His eminent-domain-on-steroids scheme is a nonstarter.
Barth, a real estate agent, is seeking a second and final term. A fiscal conservative, she is a strong advocate for policies that benefit — or at least don’t harm — small business. She deserves another term.
▪ Four Puyallup City Council races are being contested, but only one has more than two candidates: the District 2, Position 1 seat held by John Palmer. The other three, including an open seat, will be decided in November.
Palmer, who served four years on the city’s Planning Commission before being elected to the City Council, has three challengers: Keith W. Sherrill, Diana C. Martin and Zac Green.
Palmer has a master’s degree in public administration and a background as a senior policy adviser with the Environmental Protection Agency. None of his three opponents can match his experience and civic service. He is knowledgeable about the issues facing Puyallup, willing to compromise and a much-needed voice of reason on the sometimes contentious council.
Of the three challengers, we were most impressed by Sherrill, chairman of the city’s Parks, Recreation and Senior Advisory Board. Although he’s only lived in Puyallup for three years, the Army helicopter pilot (who will retire this fall) is already very engaged in the city.
Sherrill is a promising up-and-comer, but Palmer is our choice for the seat.
Read more election endorsement editorials at www.thenewstribune.com/endorsements.