As primary elections will soon be upon us, Liberty in Bellevue has decided to make a very clear statement of support to those running in the 2013 Council and School Board Elections. We examined all bios that were submitted and encourage all of you to do the same. So without further ado, here are our selections!
Bellevue Council Race
Ward 1 – 5 candidates (1 is an incumbent) – Seats Available: 2
Ward 2 – 4 candidates (2 are incumbents) – Seats Available: 2
Ward 3 – 2 candidates (1 is an incumbent) – Seats Available: 1
The council races this year are going to have some pretty good competition. With 11 candidates vying for only 5 available seats, it is encouraging to see the response from the community. One of LiB’s major goals this year was to not have any council seat election go unopposed (only 1 person running).
With that said, LiB is firmly throwing their support behind…drum roll please…
…any candidate that can show the following traits:
- A distinct and clearly communicated vision for our residential community and business district.
- Ideas with the resolve to act on them to support their vision.
- A clear understanding of what council’s role is in the community and strict discipline to act and vote in a way that does not over legislate.
- A clear communicator who is not afraid to speak to and listen to the community. Transparency is key!!
- A candidate that can clearly show that they are acting in the best interests of the community, not just for themselves.
- A clear understanding of their elected responsibility to fiscal matters. The successful candidates should be able to understand and vocalize the difference between the reasons for finding areas to try and save money vs. areas where it is important to spend money.
Bellevue Mayoral Race
3 candidates (No incumbents, however 1 is a current councilperson)
So we have a 3 way race going for the position of Mayor of Bellevue. The makeup of this field is interesting; we have a current councilperson, a former Bellevue mayor, and a former councilperson.
The critical things to note in the characteristics regarding who would make a great candidate are that the Mayor has 3 major responsibilities.
- To act as the head of the Police Department. In Bellevue the Police Chief directly reports to the Mayor.
- To put together the yearly budget that is presented to our council.
- To add input during discussion periods at council meetings (as a non-voting party), but in the case of a tie, the mayor does cast the tie breaking vote.
So knowing that, there are some alternate characteristics that, while inclusive of all the ones listed for a councilperson, should be considered.
- As head of the Police Department, it is expected that the successful person have a good understanding of the police department and also be willing to work with their Chief and officers to ensure that the function of the police department remains a valuable part of our community. This should also include our schools!
- As budget preparation is key, so is education. The successful mayoral candidate should be well educated in all aspects of business, budgeting processes, and the ability to recognize wasteful spending.
- An open communicator. The Mayor is the “CEO” of Bellevue and with that comes great responsibility. While not a voting member of the council, it is imperative that they also work with the council to define the direction of the community and be open to letting the public know when council begins veering from its course.
And last but, very certainly, not least….
Northgate School Board
7 candidates (1 is an incumbent) – Seats Available: 4
The Northgate School board races this time around will change the face of the current sitting board. Of the 4 seats available only 1 incumbent is running. As of the beginning of next year, we will see at least three new people on the school board. Couple that with amount of attention that has been placed on our district lately and it makes for a very important election.
One very important thing to note about this election is how critical the primary election is. As all candidates have cross-filed (listed on both democrat and republican ballots), the top 4 from each of those ballots go on to the general election. Because they have cross filed, if the same 4 people win both the democrat and republican primary, those will become the next 4 members of the school board. Let’s make this primary count and educate yourself before stepping into the voting booth, as this might be the only chance you get to choose from the 7 candidates.
So what should we be looking for?
- From the feedback the community has given over that last few months ….communication ….communication…communication! We need school board members who want to engage and speak with the residents to understand how their residents feel.
- A realistic point of view. After the controversial moves the school board recently made, it is very important that our school board maintain a realistic point of view. It is not the time to be partisan. It is ok to challenge decisions to ensure the best one is made, however they should not be challenging based on their personal political beliefs, but rather coming to the center and making decisions that best represent their constituents and the good of our school district.
- School board budgeting. For the next 5..6..7 years, finances are going to be extremely tight! It will be very important for our school board members to understand all of the different inputs and mandates that control the district’s budget. As a resident you should be looking to those that have a well-rounded grasp of the problems we face and a willingness to use an all of the above approach to solve them!!
- The last thing that our students need is a good, well rounded curriculum. As residents we should be ensuring that the people we put on the school board are committed to ensuring that the core subjects, electives, arts and sports programs are maintained to the best of their ability. It is with a balanced curriculum that all students can fully participate in their own education.
To summarize, I did say at the beginning that LiB was going to endorse candidates…we just did. It is now up to you, the residents of Bellevue and Avalon to educate yourselves and put aside the straight party line vote. You must engage and ensure that our communities maintain the best we can offer. It all starts here!
With that said, LiB has spent much time organizing the information provided by the candidates and it is available on our website for your reading pleasure. We encourage you to ask the candidates questions by replying to each of the posts and we encourage all candidates to answer those questions. Sure it’s a lot to read, but it is extremely important. Bellevue and Avalon have a lot to win or lose this time around. We want you to be a part of the solution!!
Let’s start with a quick way to narrow down your choices. LiB believes in transparency and a willingness to engage the public from all of the elected officials. Of the 21 people running in this election (as of the time this blog was written) there are 5 that don’t believe they need to tell you what their ideas are for governing and being leaders in our town. I’m sure you can figure out who they are.