Primary changes landscape

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By Dennis Box

The Courier-Herald

A storm surge of political change swept over Bonney Lake last week, ending Mayor Bob Young's bid for a third term and sending council members Neil Johnson and Jim Rackley to the general election ballot.

After eight years, Young was the third choice among five candidates, gaining 443 votes (18.5 percent) as of Monday. Johnson received 1,004 votes (41.9 percent) and Rackley got 586 votes (24.5 percent).

The top two candidates in the primary face off in the Nov. 8 general election.

Dan Decker came in fourth with 192 votes, 8 percent and Quinn Dahlstrom took fifth with 146 votes, 6 percent.

"It was shock and awe," Councilman Mark Hamilton said. "I think this is a sea change in the city. I never thought it would be Neil and Jim. But I think the people want a different approach to growth."

The morning following the primary, Johnson was still surprised by the results.

"I expected support, but I didn't expect this kind of support," Johnson said. "Both Jim and I are friends and we will run a clean campaign and share our views with the people."

Johnson said he intends keep emphasizing his vision of improved quality of life in the city.

"People want a fresh view of Bonney Lake," Johnson said. "It is evident we need to control growth and concentrate on infrastructure."

Rackley said he looks forward to the next phase of the campaign.

"I'm glad there is a lot of support for my agenda," Rackley said. "Once the dust settles I expect to gain more support."

Rackley said he will emphasize the differences between himself and Johnson.

"I'm not pro-business," Rackley said. "I want to slow down growth as much as possible. We have no new roads coming off this hill for seven years. If we don't slow down we will be in gridlock."

Young said he felt there were various reasons for his defeat.

"Part of it was my four opponents really ran against me rather than each other," Young said. "It was a concerted effort to oust the mayor and they did it. The negative attacks and character attacks came, and it happened."

Young also said he thought people did not understand the Growth Management Act and its effect on the city.

"People are concerned about traffic and growth and I got blamed," Young said. "The next mayor will find out he doesn't have control of these things. I'm probably a casualty of the Growth Management Act. People don't understand what the state is doing to us. But it made good fodder for my opponents."

Decker is backing Johnson for mayor and asking his supporters to do the same.

Quinn Dahlstrom said she will stay on as a member of the Planning Commission and continue as a citizen activist. She is not supporting either candidate.

In other election news around the Plateau, Buckley Mayor John Blanusa, seeking his fourth term, will face City Councilwoman Pat Johnson in the general election.

Johnson edged out Blanusa in the primary, gaining 366 votes to the mayor's 309.

Former Sumner Mayor Barbara Skinner will face Tim Corliss for Charter Review Commission District 1 Position 1.

Skinner gained 6,703 votes, 39.3 percent and Corliss 5,134, 30.1 percent.

Incumbent Sherm Voiles and Cathy Freemen will meet again in the general election for a seat on the Sumner School Board.

Voiles picked up 3,126 votes, 53.4 percent, and Freemen 1,195, 32.7 percent.

Dennis Box can be reached at

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