Mayoral debate set for BLHS
April 30, 2009 · Updated 1:33 PM
By Dennis Box
The League of Women voters and the Bonney Lake Courier-Herald are sponsoring a mayoral debate beginning at 7 p.m. Sept. 7 in the Bonney Lake High School Commons. There is no charge for admission and members of the community are encouraged to attend.
All five candidates - Quinn Dahlstrom, Dan Decker, current City Council members Neil Johnson and Jim Rackley and incumbent Bob Young - have agreed to participate.
The format will be as follows: the first one hour and 15 minutes of questions will be drawn from topics selected by the newspaper's editorial staff. The questions will cover areas such as growth, administration of the city, the downtown plan, City Hall and the future look of Bonney Lake.
Each candidate will have two minutes to answer the question, followed by a one-minute rebuttal for each participant.
The second segment will be a 30-minute period of audience questions. Members of the audience are encouraged to write down questions, (forms and pencils will be provided) that will be collected and given to the moderator.
Candidates will have one minute to answer the questions.
The moderator, Eileen Fox, a member of the League of Women voters, will ask all questions. A league representative will also act as the timer of the event.
The third segment will be a three-minute wrap-up for each candidate.
The state primary is Sept. 20, where the field of five will be whittled to two finalists, and the general election is Nov. 8.
Dahlstrom said her campaign theme is "neighbors helping neighbors" and she has spent the last 18 months gathering people together who want to back her candidacy. The 63-year-old Dahlstrom works as a freight consultant and is a member of the Planning Commission.
This is the first time Decker has run for political office, but he previously has collected signatures for petitions. Most notable was Proposition 1 in 2003, asking to change the city's form of government from mayor-council to council-manager. The proposition failed with more than 70 percent voting no. The 58-year-old Decker works as an independent insurance agent and notary.
Johnson was elected to CIty Council At-Large Seat 1 in 2001. He said he will lay out his vision of the city in the first 90 days of his administration and reinstate the integrity of the office. The 40-year-old Johnson has decided to give up his council seat to pursue the mayor's position. Johnson works as a sales and marketing manager for Rotary Offset Press.
Rackley is a councilman from Ward 2. He intends to improve roads, sidewalks and parks. The 58-year-old Rackley also said he wants to improve the morale of the city, which he says has been damaged by the large turnover of department heads. Rackley is a retired accountant.
Young is running for a third term. He said the city needs strong leadership to set the tone for this area over the next 30 years. The 59-year-old mayor is a minister at Valley Christian Center in Sumner and works as an insurance agent and in sales.
Dennis Box can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.