Northwest NEWS

October 8, 2001

Front Page

Duvall forum hosts local and regional candidates

by Lisa Allen
   Valley View Editor
   DUVALL - Residents had a chance to hear from local and regional candidates for public office at a forum last week sponsored by the Duvall Chamber of Commerce. The following are some of their comments.
   King County Executive
   Incumbent Ron Sims (Dem.) is being challenged by Santos Contreras (Rep.) for this position.
   Rachel Bianchi, representing King County Executive Ron Sims, focused on Sims' visibility in dealing with issues, at the same time apologizing for his absence due to a busy schedule.
   Bianchi said the executive's desire to tour the county and not confine himself to making decisions in the office has defined his administration.
   "He has recently visited Duvall and checked out all the latest additions McCormick Park, the youth center and the park and ride lot," she said, adding that McCormick Park is "amazing, and the result of (city-county) partnerships that we want to continue."
   Bianchi noted that Duvall has grown 67 percent in the last 10 years.
   "Ron wants to make sure new growth is intelligent and planned so that the quality of life continues," she said.
   Eric Rohrbach, representing Sims' opponent, Santos Contreras, said the candidate had a family emergency that day so could not attend the forum.
   Rohrbach said Contreras' position is that the county needs a change in leadership.
   "Sims has been in county government for 16 years," said Rohrbach. "Now, Boeing has left for Chicago and the traffic here is second worst in the nation. His transportation plan has been a disaster. Light rail will stop a mile from the airport. What are we supposed to do then? Walk, or take a bus?"
   Rohrbach said that Sims has failed to provide leadership.
   "Santos has had 38 years of experience at Boeing," he said. "The last five years he was chief negotiator for the engineers and pilots unions and never had a work stoppage. We need someone who can bring people together and bring solutions."
   Rohrbach said Contreras pledges to meet with Boeing and Microsoft to seek solutions to problems, work with the governor on a transportation plan, stop spending on light rail until it can be proven better than others and stick with a zero percent property tax increase.
   King County Council, District 3
   With incumbent Louise Miller retiring, this contest is between state Representative Kathy Lambert (Rep.) and Kristy Sullivan (Dem.).
   Kathy Lambert cited her experience of seven years serving in the state Legislature, adding that some have questioned why she would leave state government for county.
   "In the Legislature, I was one of 147 members with a $21.6 billion budget, while in county government, the ratio is one of 13," she said. "I would be able to get a lot more accomplished. There is a $500 million King County budget and I plan on prioritizing on how to spend it."
   She noted her business background and work on the state budget committee. "Transportation is crucial and complicated," she said. "We need to develop a plan to increase capacity ... we have to do that for the growing population."
   Kristy Sullivan, Snoqualmie School Board member, said in her last year as president of the board it was recognized as the Outstanding Board in the state, with the district having the most improved WASL test scores in the state.
   "We kept our promises to voters," she said. "What I can bring to the council is the ability to listen, learn and lead. I watched Louise (Miller) do a great job preserving rural spaces and promote businesses."
   Sullivan said transportation is a serious problem.
   "The Legislature, with my opponent as a member, had the opportunity to pass a transportation package," she said. "They went three extra sessions and did not come up with a plan. I'm about solutions and getting results."
   Mayor of Duvall
   Becky Nixon is challenging incumbent Glen Kuntz for this non-partisan position.
   Mayor Kuntz focused on his achievements during 15 years in city government, first as a City Council member and then eight and a half years as mayor. Kuntz was originally appointed as mayor and has been unopposed in subsequent elections.
   "I am glad this year I have some opposition," he said. "It has forced me to take a look at what I have done as mayor. I have had a good relationship with other local business owners, led a staff of 36 city employees with three department heads, volunteered my salary so the city could get a computer network system and brought people together to solve problems."
   Among his accomplishments he listed acquisitions for property for the sewage treatment plant, the Big Rock Ball Park, Dougherty Farmstead, Duvall Park and Ride, water tower property, proposed police station, and the youth center.
   Kuntz said he is particularly proud of the fact that when he became mayor, there were 13 findings in the city's books by the state auditor.
   "The last six years we have had perfect audits," he said. "My goals for the future are to complete the youth center and the ball park, listen to merchants and the people, expand McCormick Park and double the Arts on Stage, which was a big success."
   Challenger Becky Nixon, an 11-year resident, countered some of Kuntz's statements by noting that in her doorbelling campaign she has found that many people feel disconnected with the city and are dissatisfied.
   "I would like to see some broadening here," she said. "Many people have not met the mayor. The government needs some tweaking."
   Focusing on the city's most visible problem the building application moratorium due to the sewer plant limitations, she asked, "Why did this happen? There needs to be some vision and long term planning for growth."
   Nixon said her recent position she held as a community specialist for Riverview School District gave her a good relationship with the schools.
   "We need a closer network between the city and the schools," she said. "We need a sign for Cedarcrest and a resource officer from the police department. We also don't want four lanes through town."
   She criticized the way the park and ride was built, since buses are unable to turn around there.
   "People don't use it because of that and at night it's not well lighted," she said. "The city needs new leadership. My vision is a livable, cohesive Duvall."
   Duvall City Council, position 3
   There is no incumbent for this position. Candidates are Will Ibershof and Diane Salz.
   Ibershof, a 12-year resident, said the big issues are growth, the sewer and the problems of the people living up by the high school, who feel unconnected with the town.
   "Taxes on the plateau are too high," he said. "Utility rates are astronomical. They are even charged for recycling. I want to create greater business growth and the sales tax needs to be increased."
   Ibershof said the city should work to get grants and low interest loans for the youth center.
   "Right now, the cost of residential hookups is $4,600," he said. "I feel this should be raised to $10,000 per house and encourage business hookups to go town to $4,500."
   Ibershof said he wants Duvall to be a "number one city."
   Diane Salz said she moved to Duvall 14 years ago.
   "It's an excellent place to live," she said. "I like the small town atmosphere. I have been on the planning commission for three years and volunteered for Duvall Days."
   She said she worked to help create the soccer field at Cedarcrest High School and was on the bond committee for the fire station bond issue.
   "The most important issues are commercial growth, the sewer, preventing four lanes from going through town and getting more grants," she said.
   Riverview School Board, Director District 1
   Dave Hunter and Lori Oviatt are candidates for this position. Oviatt did not attend the forum.
   Hunter said he has been involved with Tolt Middle School, been with the site-based team for two years and served on the superintendent's search commiteee. He also served on the Carnation City Council and was mayor there for two years. Hunter has a BA in business and economics and a master's degree in business administration.
   "This school district has a lot going for it," he said. "There is a great opportunity to grow. But there are financial concerns now because of declining enrollment and that is a major issue."
   Riverview School Board, Director District 5
   Roberts Brown is challenging incumbent Bob Decker for this position. Brown was not in attendance.
   Decker said the district is "a winning team. Staff and students are winning awards and everything is going right. I want to thank everyone for their support of the tech levy and completion bond. The people of Duvall and Carnation have really shown their support. Who wouldn't want to be on the school board?"