Challenges await new City Council members

The OlympianNovember 7, 2013 

Voters are sending some fresh new voices to the city councils of Olympia, Tumwater and Lacey. Don’t expect dramatic changes as a result, but each of the newly elected officials bring the potential to positively shift their council’s conversations.

A growing incidence of drug use, discarded needles and crime in Olympia’s downtown troubled voters, who looked to business owner Cheryl Selby and neighborhood advocate Julie Hankins for stronger leadership in cleaning up the city’s core.

Likewise, voters in Lacey and Tumwater picked go-getting challengers over status quo incumbents. Michael Steadman should push Lacey City Council to be more decisive on annexations. Debbie Sullivan’s clarity on Tumwater’s most critical issues can help that council stay focused on matters within its control.

It’s one thing to have a vision and make campaign promises; it’s another to deliver measurable results. That’s the challenge ahead for all of this year’s winners.

On the two initiatives to the Legislature, Thurston County voters shot down Tim Eyman’s self-serving I-517 by 30 percentage points, 10 more than the statewide tally, but were more closely divided on GMO food labeling.

While statewide voters rejected the confusing and misleading claims of I-522 by almost 10 percent, the margin narrowed to just 3 percent in Thurston County. That reflects the county’s more liberal-leaning electorate.

Despite failing to convince voters, I-522 has introduced the term “GMO” into popular vernacular.

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