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Voters will narrow race for County Council seat
The King County Council District No. 9 race has drawn three contenders, incumbent Reagan Dunn, Mark Green and Beverly Harison Tonda.
The district represented by the winner of the seat is an expansive parcel that starts with Enumclaw to the south and ranges to the edges of Issaquah and Bellevue to the north.
There are nine King County Council members representing the largest county in the state.
Beverly Harison Tonda lives on the Cedar River near Maple Valley. She is a member of the Greater Maple Valley Unincorporated Area Council.
Tonda stated she worked for Fred Meyer and as a national trainer for Key Bank.
“I am somebody who can bring change to King County,” Tonda said.
She said the Council has not “paid enough attention” to the budget.
Tonda stated the “whole organizational structure” needs to be examined.
“Do we need this very large structure and staffing?” Tonda asked. “That is my background.”
Tonda said one of the reasons she decided to run was her experience with the county while trying to develop a parcel in front of her home.
According to the candidate she has spent the last four years fighting the issue with the county.
She said her questions have gone unanswered over the past four years. “I think the county should have to answer taxpayers’ questions. My motivation to run is to get the job done. I’m ethical and I follow the rules.”
Green could not be contacted by phone prior to the publication of this article.
On the King County Elections Web site the candidate stated, “unlike present council, I wouldn’t waste money using taxpayer funded mailing privileges excessively, nor mandate qualifications for elections as if voters couldn’t do that, nor try to make it harder for citizens to put up initiative-type proposals.”
Green is listed as the chairman of the Party of Commons on the Web site. Green and the party are sponsoring Initiative 432.
According to the Web site the initiative makes “it easier for common citizens to run for office.”
Green stated by e-mail he expects to finish second and qualify for the primary.
Dunn lives in rural Maple Valley. He is the son of the late Jennifer Dunn, who served the region in the U.S. Congress, and he is the most visible of three candidates appearing on the primary ballot.
In making a pitch for another term, Dunn maintains he’s held true to a four-pronged promise made when he first joined the County Council.
The planks of Dunn’s platform are fiscal discipline, public safety, transportation and government reform.
Fiscal discipline might be the hot button issue in a county strapped for cash.
While some at the county’s highest level have suggested raising taxes to ease the fiscal burden, Dunn preaches against that plan.
“We want to keep this one of the best places in America to live,” he said. “We don’t want to tax ourselves into oblivion.”
Times are going to be tough, he said, noting his hope that the next county executive takes a hard line when dealing with employee unions. Dunn believes former executive Ron Sims was too soft, making concessions to employees in exchange for their political support.
“Ron gave the unions everything they asked for,” he said, citing an example close to home. Dunn and his wife are expecting their first child, an event that will cost Dunn $300, with insurance picking up the remainder of the tab. That type of package is too employee-friendly, he said.
With regard to public safety, Dunn said keeping citizens safe is the county’s paramount duty.
He criticizes policies that have taken 200 employees from the King County Sheriff’s Office during a time when county crime has been on the upswing.
“We have the makings of a perfect storm for crime,” he said, touting a get-tough approach to hardened criminals.
“The best way to keep people from reoffending is to keep them in jail,” he said.
He acknowledges that money is exceedingly tight, but insists that funding for police should be the No. 1 priority. If the budget ax has to fall, Dunn said, it should be somewhere other than law enforcement.
Dunn has curried favor in the county’s rural areas with his stated opposition to the Critical Areas Ordinance, a land-management concept that was supported by environmentalists, but despised by property rights activists.
He also made points in the agricultural community by hiring a “rural ombudsman” who serves as a liaison between the county and its rural dwellers and by pushing for continued county funding of the King County Fair.