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Four seats on ballot in South Prairie
Things are heating up in the South Prairie Town Council races.
Four incumbents are looking to stay in their council posts and each is challenged, with two of those races featuring write-in candidates. For Position No. 1, incumbent Tony Caldwell is being challenged by Scott Easley; Position No. 2 incumbent Robert Stanbary Sr. is being challenged by write-in candidate Jim Frederikson; Position 4 incumbent Barb Wigton is squaring off against Chandra Hairston; and, for Position 5, Arlynn Caldwell is running to keep the seat she was appointed to, and is challenged by write-in candidate Chuck Bonato.
South Prairie Council No. 1
Caldwell has been a town councilman for eight years, and is running for his third term. Caldwell, a past structural designer for the U.S. government who has lived in South Prairie since the early 1990s, said he is running "to keep the town honest" because it has had serious problems in the past.
Caldwell said since he has taken office, he has been involved in getting more than $1 million in grants for the town for various projects, including the sewer treatment plant upgrades, parks and street projects. He also intends to go out for more grants for the town because he acknowledges that the majority of the projects are completed through grants or Scout projects.
If re-elected he will continue to work toward getting the sewer moratorium lifted in South Prairie and work toward getting more money for the sewer treatment plant upgrade.
Caldwell has supported the Foothills Trail and is trying to work with Pierce County to connect South Prairie's part of the trail to Orting's.
Easley, a truck driver, has lived in South Prairie for five years, and says he is running for council to try and make a difference.
He said the town has had too many lawsuits and too many complaints against council members, and needs a change.
Easley said the town needs to bring in more money and increase its revenue, and believes new faces in the town council could help get that done. "The town's going to go broke if it's not already broke," he said.
Easley said one of the top priorities for the town is to settle its agreement for fire services and have a lasting agreement. He said insurance ratings for houses in South Prairie have increased considerably since there is no set agreement.
Easley believes, for the town to be successful, more people need to get involved in town functions, and he doesn't understand why more people don't attend council meetings. He said there should be better communication between the council and the town's people, and he would work to get more input from them on what they think should be done about town issues.
"No matter who gets elected, the person who gets elected for that spot needs to do their best for the town," Easley said.
South Prairie Council No. 2
Robert Stanbary Sr.
Stanbary has been a town councilman for one year, filling a vacancy, and is running to complete that term. He has been a resident of South Prairie for 10 years and got involved in town politics to help the town in any way he can, he said.
Like Easley, Stanbary wants more input from people living in the town, and wants more people to get involved.
He said his number one priority in the town is safety. He agrees the town needs an agreement with District 20 about fire services.
"If a town doesn't have a fire department, it's lost everything," he said, adding if necessary because the levy fails, he would go back to the bargaining table to work out an agreement as soon as possible.
Stanbary also wants to see police protection services improved in town, and has been working for a solution for the past year.
"This needs to be taken care of before it becomes a problem," he said, adding 100 hours of police service contracted from the town of Wilkeson isn't enough.
Stanbary also said he thinks there needs to be more unity and agreement between town council members. He agrees with others that too many problems have been created because people don't know how to work with each other.
"You don't come into an office and start pushing people around," he said. "I've seen it done and know it's done but I won't stand for it. I try to stay away from the problems. I don't want it and I don't need it."
James Frederiksen is a lifelong resident of South Prairie. According to a flier he made, Frederiksen is interested in resolving South Prairie's fire department troubles and also bringing structure to the community. He seeks security for the citizens in knowing the quality of town services are intact while keeping costs down and maintaining reliability.
He is committed to the quality of life and success of the town and has been involved in city issues for many years. He would like to build on the vision of citizens to improve the high standards and quality of life. He said the town needs council members committed to improving the town and believes he can help make reasoned choices concerning the future.
His top priorities as a candidate are resolution and improvement of police and fire services; balanced and managed growth of the town; and a fiscally responsible and efficient town government.
He is a South Prairie volunteer firefighter and is on the security patrol for the town and vicinity.
South Prairie Council No. 4
The candidate could not be reached, but the following information was taken from her statement in the Pierce County Voter's Pamphlet.
A communications officer with the Bonney Lake Police Department, Wigton is a third-generation resident of South Prairie. She's now on the council, and says she is "eager to help improve and maintain the quality of family life in our town."
Her voter's pamphlet statement noted a belief in "honest and caring government, listening to our citizens and trying to promote a community where families can feel safe and protected."
Hairston, who is self-employed and has lived in South Prairie for a year and a half, thinks the town is a good place to call home because it is away from the bigger cities. She worked for seven years for the city of Seattle, involved in all aspects of government work, and said she knows how towns are supposed to run and has plenty of experience in various aspects of government, including applying for grants.
She is running because she feels there needs to be new people, voices and ideas running the town. Hairston feels a lot of things haven't gotten done in South Prairie because there has been too much arguing, and cooler, calmer heads need to prevail. "I think basically it's time for a change," she said.
"I think there are so many personality conflicts going on that things aren't getting done, and who's suffering? The town," Hairston said.
Hairston said one of the main things that needs to be done in South Prairie is a better working relationship between the town and businesses. She said the town hasn't been very business friendly, which has led to the closing of businesses, and that new businesses also need to be brought into town.
Hairstson is also interested in improving police services in South Prairie and said there is far too much small crime taking place in the town parks for anybody to feel safe letting their children go there. She thinks better police services would improve those and other problems in South Prairie.
She would also like to see more community resources and programs, like a senior center in town. She, too, wants to see the town settle a fire services agreement with South Prairie, and thinks a lot of time has been wasted arguing.
Hairston also believes communication and involvement from town's people can be improved. She said many people live in the trailer park in town, and want to be a part of the town, but because of the lawsuits between the town and the trailer park, feel like they are being shut out.
The candidates for Countil Position 5 could not be reached.