April 20, 1998

Front Page

New faces, new city, same old problems


Andrew Walgamott/staff photo

Campaign signs crowd a well-traveled intersection in Kenmore.

     by Andrew Walgamott
   Staff reporter

   KENMORE--They come from many different walks of life, everything from college students to college administrators, domestic engineers to certified public accountants. 'They' are the 14 people who would sit on Kenmore's interim City Council. Some have experience as public servants on local fire and water boards; one is taking an urban studies class while another has a political science degree. They all have ideas; there's no lack of those. Trouble is there are only seats for seven of them.
   On April 28, voters here will go to the polls to decide who those seven people will be. The winners will be sworn into office at a public ceremony beginning at 5 p.m. May 8 at the Aqua Club, 18512 58th Ave. N.E. The interim council's primary job will be to establish the city's government between May and official incorporation August 31. They'll do it by hiring a city manager, approving basic ordinances and contracts for services.
   The following think they have what it takes to get Kenmore off the ground:
   Position 1
   Dick Taylor, 72, uses the slogan, "Let's look beyond the problems to the promises" in his campaign. Taylor told residents at a recent forum that the Lakepointe development was the "goose that laid the golden egg." He says that the tax base there will provide tax revenues to make other projects possible. A retired principal, Taylor serves on the Lakepointe Task Force, the 522 task force, and has been an advocate of incorporation since 1994.
   Taylor says voters should beware of promises to cut taxes, saying that a minimal savings on property taxes per house could translate to the loss of two police officers.
   Pat O'Brien, 42, says the new city should plan a budget that doesn't require tax increases. "My guiding principle will be to plan budgets that are based on tax monies available, not those that require increased taxes," he said. Bringing three years of experience writing proposals, contracts and budgets for an overseas company, O'Brien said he opposes restricting access to businesses along the north side of Bothell Way. He says the city should protect its businesses. A Kenmore resident of 33 years, O'Brien is in residential real estate as well as fund raising auctioneer.
   Position 2
   Steven Gimurtu, 63, is a retired teacher who also serves as a commissioner for the Northshore Fire District. "I want to use my experience, knowledge and commitment to get the city of on the right foot," Gimurtu said. A 30-year resident, Gimurtu was a past president of the Kenmore Community Council in the late 1960s and early 70s. Gimurtu said voters approved incorporation for local control and listed his platform as solving transportation, land-use and surface water issues. He said the city council will be able to address traffic congestion and pollution with Lakepointe as the project moves forward.
   Steven Colwell, 50, is the owner of a prosthetic clinic. He says his experience in personnel, contracts and operating within budgetary constraints gives him "the ability to analyze the information, and with all the data presented, make a sound decision." A key issue for him is beautifying Kenmore. "I will work very seriously in an effort toward the development of sign ordinances, and beautification of parks, trails and neighborhoods," Colwell said. The 25-year Arrowhead resident feels he has the "energy and the skills necessary to help Kenmore grow into the community that all of us can be proud of."
   Position 3
   Allen Goumas, 64, is a business consultant, who visualizes Kenmore as the jewel of Lake Washington with movie theaters and restaurants on its shores. He said sidewalks are needed to protect pedestrians and undergrounding utilities and removing billboards would be an asset. Goumas said he'd like to see the Lakepointe developer put up funds to help move people and cars. "I believe my 40 years in finance, management and self-employment qualifies me as a natural candidate to lead Kenmore into the next millennium," he said. Goumas owned Al's Union 76 for 20 years and was a finance manager for 20 years before that.
   Deborah Chase, 47, is a project manager who served on the Kenmore Governance Strategies Committee and the current incorporation committee. She said she would bring her15 years of business experience in the telecommunications industry to the council. "I've served on a Board of Trustees and understand the role of policy and direction setting, which is similar to the role of a councilmember, versus the role of operations management," the 10-year Kenmore resident said. She said in the next four months, the council will focus on transitional issues, then begin to identify and address urgent issues such as traffic flow improvement.
   Position 4
   Mark Knutson, 22, says he is running because of the opportunity to have a positive influence on the future of Kenmore. "I will bring my energy and problem solving ability to Kenmore without the agenda of an experienced politician," Knutson, a University of Washington biology student, said. He says once the immediate tasks of forming a city are completed, his top priorities will be traffic and growth. "We can address these issues by developing a good comprehensive plan to manage growth and fund road improvements" Knutson said. An Inglemoor High school graduate, Knutson has lived his entire life on Finn Hill.
   Chip Davidson, 66, has served 24 years as a Northshore Utility District commissioner, been a volunteer firefighter with the old Kenmore Fire Department for 12 years and has been a Northshore Rotary member for more than 20 years. "I have served and worked with other agencies elected officials and staff to accomplish objectives that were difficult to achieve agreement on. This experience will be needed on the new City Council," Davidson said. His platform consists of helping "develop a city government that is efficient and effective." Davidson, a 37-year Arrowhead Drive resident, is a certified public accountant.
   Position 5
   John Phelps, 57, has said he was "born to be an accountant" and that he "enjoys solving complicated, detailed problems." With a B.A. in accounting from the University of Washington, Phelps said he's in favor of intensified law enforcement, maintaining the current level of taxes and creating an affordable city government. The former president of the Washington State Tire Dealers Association now spends his time as a Moorland PTA board member and as a soccer referee. "Every council needs a referee," he noted at a recent forum. Among his objectives is creating more playfields and securing land before it is developed.
   Tika Esler, 48, said her top three priorities include hiring an experienced city manager that will keep the council on track, establishing fiscal responsibility and then addressing traffic. An associate dean of enrollment services at Bellevue Community College, Esler said she would bring 20 years of experience in personnel and labor management as well "experience in team building, goal-setting and most importantly, budget setting." Listed in the "Who's Who in Higher Education in the West," Esler has lived in Kenmore for the past 15 years. Originally from Cuba, she and her husband served on the technology committee.
   Position 6
   Lyle Sellards, 69, has lived the past 4.5 years in downtown Kenmore. A retired minister and real estate broker, Sellards touts his administrative, budget, personnel and management skills he gained on local, state and national levels. He breaks the council's job down into hiring a city manager, finding a City Hall site, establishing contracts and then policies for the future of Kenmore. Sellards said he is for "planned growth, environmental sensitivity, beautifying Kenmore [and] parks and playgrounds. I am for finding acceptable solutions for traffic and pedestrian concerns as well as Swamp Creek flooding."
   Elodie Morse, 55, is an 18-year resident of Arrowhead. A self-described domestic engineer, Morse says she has the time and energy to give the new city ten years of her time. Her platform includes rejuvenation of businesses, attracting other types of businesses, and "ensuring adequate funding for essential public services without the need for property tax increases." "I have not seen much change in Kenmore except more apartments with no concern for foot traffic and the business areas with the 'same old look and feel'...We need jazzing up," Morse said. With a B.A. in political science, Morse says she doesn't take "no" for an answer.
   Position 7
   Jack Crawford, 69, would bring the past management experience he gained with the U.S Navy as a military personnel officer, as president of the Model A Ford Club of America, and from his own Marriage and Family Therapist practice if elected. A 29-year Kenmore resident, Crawford said he will be a strong advocate of active parks and recreation. "We now have only passive parks. Playfields for the young and adults or our community are creative needs," he said. Crawford is also a coach for a men's senior softball team and recently served on a Northshore School District vocational training committee. He is an active member in his church.
   Richard Clements, 41, is a King County Court Security officer who's lived in Kenmore for the past seven years. His platform consists of "getting the city off to a good start [and] making sure every penny is spent wisely. I'm a homeowner. I don't want to see my taxes go up." Clements is also retired from the post office and has served 16 years as a King County Sheriff's Office reserve officer. He said the council should make sure the positives of Lakepointe, such as open space and trails, offset the negatives of increased traffic. "I'm going to do the best job I can to keep the citizens informed," Clements said.