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City council candidates eye races
Competition comes to the Sequim City Council for the Aug. 16 primary and Nov. 8 general elections this year. Eight candidates filed for four positions, including Erik Erichsen, incumbent, and Peter Duncan for Position No. 1; Laura Dubois, incumbent, Ron Fairclough and John Miller for Position No. 2; Ken Hays, incumbent, for Position No. 6; and Eric Miller and Candace Pratt for Position No. 7.
Position No. 2 is the only Sequim race to go to the primary along with the local county commissioner District No. 1 seat.
Position No. 2
Dubois moved to Sequim in 2004 from Sacramento, Calif., after retiring from Sacramento Municipal Utility District as a budget and business planning analyst.
She’s running for her second four-year term to work toward completing council goals such as updating the comprehensive plan, purchasing land for the city hall and adopting a transportation master plan.
“Transportation is an important thing to me,” said Dubois. “You should be able to walk from Bank of America to Hurricane Coffee without taking seven minutes,” she said.
Dubois also wants to help create better bike lanes and cross-circulation in the city.
Fairclough moved to the city in 1973 after serving in the U.S. Army, working for Boeing and studying to become a dental technician. He retired through his company, Sequim Laboratory of Dental Arts.
“When I came to Sequim, the wonderful thing was that I could walk to everything,” he said. “I want to make Sequim more walking-centric.”
Fairclough said he also wants the city to build a new city hall near the existing one using nearby properties, including his property on Spruce Street, to expand. He said property owners around the site have been on the hook and unable to sell because of the location.
“I’d like the council to function better,” Fairclough said. “I think the city manager (Steve Burkett) is doing a good job and the city is on the right track but going too slow.”
Miller, originally from California, has lived in Sequim for five years. He retired from 34½ years with Safeway.
He’s been a member of Sequim Speaks since October 2010.
Miller said from his observations the city council is out of touch with the economy’s impact on its citizens.
“The city budget is going up and economy and revenues are going down. There’s got to be a balance,” Miller said.
“From what I’ve seen at meetings, (councilors) think we haven’t been hit by the recession, but Sequim must have been hit.”
Miller said there are a lot of needs in the city that must be met now.
“I think being a small city, we should focus on what’s around us right now like streets, sidewalks and the police department,” Miller said. “We should pay for that then we start adding to our good community.”
Although three of four eligible positions are competitive, because there are just two candidates in the following races, they go straight to the general election.
Position No. 1
Duncan has lived in Sequim for 1½ years after long stints in Port Angeles and the Seattle area.
His mother, Dorothy Duncan, is a former mayor of Port Angeles and three-term county commissioner.
Duncan owned and operated Duncan and Haley financial services and TEFnET, a wireless Internet network construction company. Now he does wireless Internet consulting and helps with the business Artisans Creative Consignment.
“I’ve learned a lot about being a small business owner on the peninsula and working with governments like the City of Port Angeles and Clallam County,” Duncan said.
“There aren’t people in my age group (20s-50s) active politically and they need a voice,” Duncan said.
He also wants to promote and retain family wage jobs in the area, particularly for young families and professionals. Duncan said Sequim needs to be an entrepreneur-friendly environment and have jobs that take advantage of local resources to drive other businesses to come here.
Erichsen moved to Sequim in 2002 after retiring from the Department of Energy’s Hanford site in Richland. He worked there for 25 years in different managerial positions.
He said when he first ran for city council, he felt the council at the time was not listening to what the people were telling them and was letting growth run rampant.
“I think we’ve gone to the point of trying to organize the growth so it can be in the proper areas,” he said.
“I think we’ve grown (as a council) with speaking to the people’s concerns. We’ve gone out of our way to devise ways to find out the public’s opinion.”
Erichsen wants to continue on the council to help complete city goals like determining a future for the Guy Cole Convention Center in Carrie Blake Park, finding a site for the city hall, finding a permanent solution for the city’s impact fees and organizing the comprehensive plan so it’s easy to read.
Position No. 6
Hays, the city’s current mayor, is running unopposed. Hays said some of his goals are updating the comprehensive plan and finishing his certified municipal leader credentials to learn more about city operations so that he can better serve the community.
Position No. 7
Two possible candidates stepped up following the decision by first-term councilor Susan Lorenzen not to seek reelection.
Miller moved to Port Angeles at age 11 and graduated high school in 1973. He left in 1977 for a career as a laborer and Federal Aviation Administration mechanic. On a medical disability pension from Labor and Industries since 1990, he moved to Sequim in 2002.
One reason for running for council is that Miller feels a citizen’s rights should be put before the government’s rights.
Another issue is growth in the city.
“I don’t believe that the Growth Management Act is just for growth but its quality of life toward its citizens,” Miller said. “What are our true wants and needs in Sequim?”
Miller said the city should be less focused on the commercial aspect.
“I’d like to leave this a farming community and not as a strip mall community,” he said. “The City of Sequim doesn’t even have a decent storm drain system. We need to focus more on getting a bang for a buck with our infrastructure in this town.”
Pratt, originally from California, said she came to the Pacific Northwest in 1997 and has lived in Sherwood Village since 2006.
She’s served as president and recently voter service chairman with the League of Women Voters, organizing candidate debates and forums, including one on the 2010 state ballot initiatives.
“I am especially excited about the steps the city is taking to update and revise its comprehensive plan,” Pratt said.
“I look forward to bringing my skills to that process. The comp plan is the basis for the city’s planning and growth. I will work hard on the plan’s development as well as making it understandable and accessible
to the residents. That’s where my league experience will be especially helpful.”