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Two races for Sequim City Council this fall

Four new councilors

were swept into office in 2007, but only two of the three Sequim City Councilor positions up for election in November attracted challengers during the 2009 candidate filing period.

Those two contests brought familiar faces, including one who later withdrew from the race.

Incumbent Bill Huizinga, 68, was unchallenged for his Position 1 seat after the filing period.

A Sequim resident for more than 30 years, he was appointed in March 2001 to succeed a resigning councilor. He also was one of three councilors to run unopposed in 2005.

Huizinga said he is running for a third term because he wants to finish work on affordable housing and some zoning changes such as the sub area plan.

Incumbent Walt Schubert, 69, said he decided to run for a third four-year term on the council because things need to change and he doesn't see that happening with the four new members.

"I came into office 10 years ago to support the people and the economy and the well-being of the community and I intend to keep doing that," he said.

Schubert has held Position 2 on the seven-member council for 10 years. He served as mayor, a position chosen by the other councilors, from 2002-2007.

Schubert was unseated as mayor following the 2007 election when the four new councilors - Laura Dubois, Erik Erichsen, Ken Hays and Susan Lorenzen - were were elected on a platform of "intelligent growth."

Schubert is being challenged by Sequim Planning Commission chairman Ted Miller.

Miller, 63, moved to the Sequim area in 1997 and has been a city resident since 2006. He said he is running for three reasons:

_ Developers and real estate speculators don't belong on the council (Schubert is a real estate broker).

_ Schubert has led the effort to ensure the "very minimum" is required of developers.

_ Schubert has ignored the needs of senior citizens even though they comprise two-thirds of the city's population and provide two-thirds of the tax revenue.

"This is my first time running for office. I'm a fairly strong supporter of Mayor Dubois.

"The new people made a lot a mistakes because they were new and they were being attacked at every turn," he said.

The Position 3 seat being vacated by Paul McHugh was headed for a primary election but former councilor Bob Anundson withdrew last week. He said last week that his quick exit was not due to any impending scandal.

"I wish there was, I'm too old for that," the 67-year-old said with a laugh.

Anundson, who planned to run on a platform of frugality, said he withdrew after watching the council decide to spend $40,000 on one consultant study and another $135,000 on additional studies.

"I don't make a good Don Quixote, I'm too short for one thing. I have no problem with impact fees.

"I've always said residents shouldn't subsidize development but that kind of money is really precious in a recession. I look at this and I say it makes no sense," he said.

Anundson's withdrawal left only two candidates: planning commissioner Mike East and Don Hall, a former councilor. East, 66, and his wife, Nancy, have lived in Sequim for six years.

He said the current council has mishandled several issues, including the May 2008 firing of City Manager Bill Elliott and hiring consultants to do things that city staff is capable of doing.

"I just see the need for some 'common sense' on the council so they can make some educated decisions, which we haven't had in two and a-half years," East said.

"I think Walt and Bill have done an excellent job on the council and I know there's additional issues they want to address," he said.

East's opponent in November will be Don Hall, who served on the council until he lost the 2007 election to Susan Lorenzen.

Hall, 77, said he goes to all the council, planning commission and parks board meetings anyway so he might as well volunteer to run for office.

"I've always enjoyed it. I've been going to meetings for 10 years and served on the council for five and a half years," he said.

Hall said he is most proud of his efforts to get the Sequim Dog Park built, improve the Carrie Blake Park softball fields, replace signs around town and get an asphalt path from the water reuse park to the James Performing Arts Center.

Reach Brian Gawley at bgawley@sequimgazette.com.

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