Gateway: News

Candidates for several offices take a road trip to the KP

Candidates for several positions attended a forum Oct. 6 at the Key Peninsula Civic Center.

A round-up of pertinent topics covered:

Pierce County Charter Review Commission

The process takes place every 10 years, with elected commission members refining and even changing the county charter, which functions like a constitution.

Much of the forum focused on the residences of the candidates, with some living in Tacoma and others on the Gig Harbor side of the bridge.

“I live in Gig Harbor, and I think people on this side of the bridge need someone to represent us,” said David Olson, candidate for the commission.

Martha Lantz said she felt the discussion of residence didn’t get to the heart of the charter review commission. She was born in Gig Harbor, but now lives in Tacoma. Regardless of home address, the discussion is about the entire county.

For Lantz, one of the issues for the Key Peninsula is the distribution of representation. District 7, currently a position held by Gig Harbor’s Derek Young, encompasses parts of Tacoma and all of Gig Harbor and the Key Peninsula.

She said it’s “awkward and sometimes problematic to have that schism at the Narrows bridge.”

Peninsula School District Board of Directors

All of the school board candidates attended the forum. Moderator Chuck West read off questions written down by audience members. Hot topics such as school funding came up.

Candidate Marcia Harris said that one of the issues she takes very seriously is reaching the high numbers of residents who do not have children in the schools.

Over the last year leading up to the election, she said, she’s been “listening first and listening to all of (the) community.”

As far as changes within the district, two candidates said that maybe it is time for change to slow down.

“Maybe we’ve made too many changes,” said candidate Garth Jackson.

Incumbent Rand Wilhelmsen agreed, saying that changes state- and nationwide mean schools have enough to contend with.

“We have so much change coming at us right now, I wouldn’t change a thing,” he said.

Leslie Harbaugh said change should be minimal, but it is important to review and reassess programs to see if they still have value.

Karen Miller: 253-358-4155