The Olympian’s endorsements for Tumwater City Council

Position 1: Leatta Dahlhoff and Pamela J. Hanson

Incumbent Leatta Dahlhoff is a longtime Tumwater resident who has served on the boards of several community organizations and nonprofits. She is a chemist who works as a toxics reduction specialist at the state Department of Ecology.

Her top priorities are homelessness, economic development, and the environment. She recognizes the complex web of problems that lead to homelessness and the need for regional collaboration to address them, including more living-wage jobs, more housing, and addressing the epidemic of addiction. She supports infrastructure development to support growth, wants organized labor at the table, and views habitat protection, wastewater management and environmental sustainability as integral to Tumwater’s planning.

Challenger Pamela Hanson is an Olympia native who worked at the state Department of Retirement Systems in the 1980s, but is not currently employed. She has conservative views on firearms, wants to slow growth, reduce spending, and increase disclosure and transparency in city government. She says the Tumwater Valley golf course is a drain on city resources.

She was evicted and now is homeless, living part of each month in a motel, and part in her car. She did not respond to The Olympian’s earlier request for a candidate statement, but she did participate in an online video voters’ guide. She promises to serve for only one term if elected.

We endorse Leatta Dahlhoff, who is a smart, thoughtful problem-solver.

Position 3: Joan Cathey and Mike Pavlich

Challenger Mike Pavlich’s family had a house fire when he was about 10, and the firefighters impressed him so much that he decided to become one. He served as an EMT and firefighter in Tumwater for 37 years, becoming a Lieutenant and Battalion Chief. He is also president of his homeowners’ association.

His agenda includes improving police and fire department training, wages and benefits, making Tumwater police wages equal to those in Olympia, and working on the merger of local fire departments. He also wants to increase the supply of affordable housing in Tumwater and support the success of the city’s businesses, though he offered no specific ideas for accomplishing those goals.

Incumbent Joan Cathey has served on the Tumwater City Council for 12 years, and has been mayor pro-tem for the past two years. She is a former minister, and served as executive director of the Olympia YWCA.

Her top issue is homelessness, and she serves on the Regional Housing Council, which also includes representatives from Lacey, Olympia and Thurston County. She is especially focused on the needs of low-wage single moms and senior women – two groups she believes need help to avoid homelessness. She is also working to bolster tenants’ rights and reduce evictions.

Cathey says her opponent “would be valuable on the council on public safety issues,” but “just needs more experience.” Pavlich says he “regrets running against Joan as a white male,” and is “impressed and proud of what she’s done,” but believes he would bring important perspective to the council as a first responder.

We endorse Joan Cathey because of her breadth of experience.

Position 7: Neil McClanahan and Charlie Schneider

Incumbent Neil McClanahan has served on the Tumwater City Council since 2003. He retired as a Thurston County Undersheriff in 2007. He has been a longtime local leader in housing and homelessness issues, and has chaired or served on many local nonprofit boards.

His priorities are housing for families with children, economic development, welcoming new businesses, and planning for population growth. He advocates for state funding to create a new salmon hatchery at Pioneer Park.

Charlie Schneider retired from the U. S. Postal Service and moved to Tumwater in 2015. He successfully advocated for a city park in his neighborhood, The Preserve, and now serves as vice chair of the Tumwater Parks and Recreation Commission. He has volunteered with several local environmental organizations, as a camp counselor for foster kids, and with Habitat for Humanity. He has attended Tumwater council meetings for two years to familiarize himself with its policies and budget.

His list of priorities is similar to McClanahan’s, except that he doesn’t support a new hatchery, which he says won’t produce any more fish than the current practice, which involves trucking smolts to Tumwater Falls. He believes Tumwater needs to be more involved in addressing homelessness in the region.

McClanahan has been a devoted, passionate leader – especially for children and affordable housing – for decades. Schneider is a bright, energetic newcomer who is plain spoken about his goals and has demonstrated solid leadership skills.

We endorse Charlie Schneider because of his energy and vision. And we thank Neil McClanahan for 16 years of service to his community.