Gateway: News

Candidate Q&A: Gig Harbor City Council Position 2

This is the third installment of an ongoing series featuring Gig Harbor candidates running for Peninsula School Board, Gig Harbor City Council and mayor of Gig Harbor in the Nov. 7 general election.

All candidates were invited to participate in this question-and-answer series. All were asked the same four questions and to provide a biography.

Scott Gray – Gig Harbor City Council Position 2

Candidate did not provide a biography.

Q: What qualifies you to run for Gig Harbor City Council?

A: On qualifications for a Council position, I suppose I could detail the usual mumbo-jumbo, blah-blah-blah that most everyone typically gives. I have a couple of college degrees and a long period of professional work experience, which are further discussed in the official Voters’ Pamphlet. However, my truly important qualification is my personal philosophy about what destiny is best for Gig Harbor. The current mayor and City Council members have impressive educational and business accomplishments, but their permissive philosophy on unfettered, real estate development certainly has caused irreparable harm to the town. In this sense, my personal background is relatively unimportant when compared to my viewpoint and agenda to stop the ridiculous, excessive-growth trend plaguing the community.

Q: What do you see as some of the biggest issues facing Gig Harbor?

A: The biggest issue for Gig Harbor is remediation of its defective leadership through eventually replacing all current elected members of city government with individuals of diametrically opposite mindset. I and my opponent for Council Position 2 have overlapping ideas, and frankly there is something more important to me than being the person who wins. It is crucial that voters maintain their vigilance and prevail over the long-term, including this election and all subsequent elections. Such poor local leadership can never again be in control, which also means defeating the three current Council incumbents facing reelection in two years. At meetings, I have watched the mayor and Council scold audience participants who disagree with them, while bending the rules for their favored faction. Perhaps the greatest challenge is ensuring people in such positions have the capability for an appropriate self-perspective that they are no more special than anyone else.

Q: As the city grapples with how to handle population growth, what issue most concerns you?

A: On handling the city’s population growth, the most concerning issue is how to stop the growth dead in its tracks. The current approach has been so entirely accommodating to property developers that it might lead most people to doubt the integrity of the involved decision makers. It is obvious to intelligent people of conscience that the city’s population has grossly escalated beyond its carrying capacity, yet still the nonsense continues. In a recent Council meeting, it was revealed that the city had promised the Heritage Point (sic) project developer a variance to dispense with storm water containment, normally done by other housing developments. It also was revealed that this variance would result in overwhelming the stormwater system on Harborview Drive near the museum, to a mitigation cost of over $600,000. The Council effectively decided to continue the developer’s variance and absorb the associated cost onto the public budget.

Q: If you are elected, what are some of the goals you plan to work on?

A: I have a number of goals, but my number one objective is to grind mass development growth to a halt or near halt. At a meeting in June this year, the Council chamber was packed with people expressing their opinion about the One Harbor Point development. The vast majority were clearly against the project, but the Council unjustifiably acceded to the developers. I consider multi-unit mass development to be the greatest threat to the way of life and character of Gig Harbor as a small-town community. Likewise, I regard those promoting it to be the modern equivalent of the “Carpetbaggers” and “Robber Barons” from latter 19th century America. If I had my way, there would be so little work here for mass developers, that they would pack up all their tools and leave this area to ruin someplace else. Perhaps they would be interested in Antarctica.

Bob Himes – Gig Harbor City Council Position 2

More than 30 years experience in engineering management, retiring as director of truck product engineering at Ford Motor Co. My wife, Cheryl, and I moved to Gig Harbor from Michigan six years ago. We were drawn to Gig Harbor by the spectacular views, the Harbor (for my sailboat), the abundant trees and the character of the community.

My formal education consists of a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s in business administration, both from the University of Michigan. I am currently president of Horizon West Homeowners Association and volunteer for the Downtown Waterfront Alliance flower basket watering. I have held facility, finance and administrative board leadership positions at church and served Habitat for Humanity, homeless shelters and the Senior Housing Assistance Repair Program in Michigan.

Q: What qualifies you to run for Gig Harbor City Council?

A: I am experienced in program management and team leadership both professionally and in a volunteer capacity. I led the more than $3 billion F-150 pickup truck program. Specific skills that I would bring to City Council include structured problem-solving and decision-making with both a technical and business perspective. I care about Gig Harbor and believe I’m recognized as a credible citizen voice at City Hall on zoning and growth issues that have arisen over past 1 1/2 years.

Q: What do you see as some of the biggest issues facing Gig Harbor?

A: Gig Harbor has experienced extremely rapid growth in the six years since my wife and I moved here. The resulting traffic backups, clear cutting of our beautiful trees, and high density developments are threatening the character and livability of Gig Harbor.

Q: As the city grapples with how to handle population growth, what issue most concerns you?

A: The continued drive for high density developments above the standing municipal code requirements is exacerbating the population growth issues. Further, supporting infrastructure (roads, traffic controls, schools) has not been established concurrently with population growth.

Q: If you are elected, what are some of the goals you plan to work on?

A: I will push for responsible growth, i.e. within standing zoning codes and development standards, and concurrent infrastructure growth, data-driven traffic solutions with robust implementation plans, and transparent leadership that respects and listens to Gig Harbor residents.

Andrea Haffly: 253-358-4155, @gateway_andrea

Election coverage Q and A’s

Peninsula School Board:

Gig Harbor City Council Position 1: