Gateway: Opinion

We endorse: Norman for City Council Position 3

By Peninsula Gateway editorial board

The race for the open Position 3 on the Gig Harbor City Council is straightforward.

Voters can side with a known candidate who represents the city’s past, Jim Franich, or choose a newcomer to politics, Peter Norman, whose qualifications give him insight into some of the future challenges Gig Harbor faces.

With Gig Harbor entering a crucial time marked by a rising population, expanding commercial and residential developments, and a contentious debate over the future of the downtown corridor, Council members need to be cognizant of the gradual change in the city’s demographics, the overcrowding in some Peninsula School District elementary schools, and the fact that Gig Harbor is no longer a quiet fishing village that can only be home to a select few.

Franich is a third-generation resident who served on the City Council from 2000 to 2010. He spent 13 years as a commercial fisherman in Alaska, California and the Puget Sound, and has been a successful Gig Harbor businessman for 22 years.

Norman, who has lived in Gig Harbor for 30 years, has a background in real estate sales, development and management, which gives him a solid base on one of the city’s biggest issues. He also has experience on local community boards — which will serve him well on the Council — having been a board member of the YMCA of Pierce/Kitsap at Camp Seymour as well as stints on the parks board in Tacoma and Multicare Health Foundation.

Franich served the city well during his previous tenure on the City Council, but that was a different time. Things are changing now, and the thinking and policy-making of yesteryear isn’t going to get it done in this current climate. The recent restaurant opening in the Millville section of town isn’t disrupting life with area residents, and it is becoming more and more clear that a structure for the canoe and kayak race team in Ancich Park will likely be built — two decisions that Franich wasn’t in favor of.

In the open Position 3 on the Gig Harbor City Council, The Peninsula Gateway Editorial Board endorses Peter Norman.

Although Norman has no official service with city politics, he has done his homework, taking time to talk with heads of the city’s engineering and public works departments and current Council members. With a long career in real estate development all over the county, he also has worked with opposition factions and listening to members’ concerns.

He understands Gig Harbor is growing, and understands the fact that how it grows matters greatly to all who live here. Norman’s 30 years of hands-on business experience and community service in both the public and private sectors will help him navigate the tough future choices he will likely face as the population continues to grow.

He also understands economics and fiscal responsibilities attached to city decisions, as well as the impact of such decisions on residents. His acknowledgment of the unreasonable curtailment of growth is affirmation that he knows what he is getting into by entering into city politics. He is focused on continuing to strive for solutions while the city is growing.

Norman has a strong background in management, budgeting, negotiation and working with municipal governments, and that has prepared him for meeting the responsibilities of a City Council member.