Election will alter landscape

By Dennis Box

The Courier-Herald

A change in the political geography in Bonney Lake will take place Nov. 8. The question is the extent of that change and the impact.

With Mayor Bob Young losing his bid for a third term, the question of his successor rests between council members Neil Johnson and Jim Rackley.

Young was able to attract only 18.4 percent or 444 votes during September's primary election, while Johnson picked up 1,007 votes, 41.9 percent, and Rackley received 592 votes, good for 24.6 percent.

The City Council is looking at least one new member in David Bowen, who is running unopposed for the Ward 4 seat being vacated by Deputy Mayor Dan Swatman.

Melvain Donyes and Swatman are vying for the At Large 1 seat being vacated by Johnson.

Dave King is running unopposed for another term in Ward 1.

Bowen said he is looking forward to taking a seat on the council, but was not certain how long he would be able to hold office.

“I have accepted an offer on my property from a local Eastown investor,” Bowen said. “I've committed to the sale, but I'm not sure where I will be moving.”

Bowen's property is at 22523 state Route 410, right in the midst of the Eastown expansion.

According to Bowen, the five-acre parcel is in the midst of a 60-day feasibility study and the price paid will be well in excess of $1 million.

Bowen was not sure if he would purchase another residence in Ward 4.

Another potential change on the council rests between Swatman and Donyes.

Swatman has been on the council since 1999.

Councilman Phil DeLeo, who was first voted onto the council in 1994, said he thought the council would move forward on a positive note no matter who wins.

Councilman Mark Hamilton said he thought the new political winds would bring increased cooperation between the council and the mayor's office.

“I think a lot of the old ghosts will finally die,” Hamilton said. “This will be a fresh approach. There should always be some tension between a council and mayor in a strong mayor system. The council has to rein in him in at times and there's a veto once in a while. We have to have checks and balances for the system to work.”

Hamilton noted the city administration and council around 2000 was at a point where they could not work together at all.

“The city was dysfunctional and it hurt the city long-term,” Hamilton said. “Everything was personal and the citizens were not well served.”

Hamilton pointed to traffic impact fees that were not put in place until 2003, well after the building boom started in the city.

“By then the damage had been done,” Hamilton said. “The planning was not done well enough because the city and council were not working together. It cost us.”

Hamilton said problems between the earlier council and mayor was one of the reasons he decided to run for the At Large Seat 2 in 2003.

DeLeo said he rated the current council's effectiveness down the middle.

“I think we've had a lot of insightful members in the past that were stymied by the mayor,” DeLeo said.

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