On Nov. 8, Poulsbo voters must decide who is best equipped to guide their city through an ongoing period of change and challenge. Development of the Olhava project will continue, a new city hall is needed, and the city is facing a incoming wave of population growth.
Voters' choices may play a key role in deciding the city's actions in those issues. Positions to be elected include the mayor and two council seats.
Mayoral candidates surviving the primary are incumbent Donna Jean Bruce and challenger Kathryn Quade, a council member. For City Council Position 5, incumbent Ed Stern is facing challenger Stan Kennedy; in Position 6, council member Dale Rudolph is challenged by Herb Kai.
Our editorial board renews its earlier endorsement of Quade for mayor, and also endorses Stern and Rudolph for re-election.
Running for Position 5, Kennedy has a strong managerial, technical and engineering background; he is retired from the Defense Information Systems Agency and currently works as the IT/Logistics manager for Teachers School Supply in Poulsbo. He feels current council members need to focus more on sewer, water and other infrastructure needs in particular the problem of storm water infiltration into the sewer system. He says a decision on the aging city hall has been delayed too long.
Stern is a financial advisor and planner, has been on the council since 1997 and also has served on the Economic Development Council's board of directors, the city planning commission, and was chair of the Regional Telecommunications Committee. He agrees that the city hall replacement issue should be resolved, but says it has been delayed in order to put city resources into other areas. Stern also said the city has been working incrementally on the stormwater problem, and 50 to 75 percent of infiltration has been resolved. Overall, he said the city is continually involved in a "balancing act" between meeting critical needs and maintaining fiscal conservatism to avoid heavy debt loads and costs to taxpayers.
Running for Position 6, Herb Kai had extensive professional experience before federal retirement as a systems management analyst and previously as a chief of air traffic control in the Air Force. He has been heavily involved in community and volunteer activities in the city, port and library in Poulsbo. Kai says feels his informed "realist" approach would help in creating good solutions to vision-mission needs in many areas; he says he'd be an effective advocate for community members, and has been filling that role in a volunteer capacity.
Rudolph is a professional engineer, currently working as an engineer/planner for Navy Region Northwest. He has 20 years of professional management experience, 12 years on the city council, including working with public works, finance, public safety committees and others. Like Stern, he advocates a methodical, fiscally conservative approach to the city's needs; he feels his years of experience have helped him developed more knowledge and expertise than his challenger.
We commend Kai for his numerous local involvements and his passion for serving the community, but we feel Rudolph is demonstrably more qualified and a valuable asset to the council and those who elected him. Likewise, Stern is a very capable council member with extensive experience and there's no need to replace him.
However, we're continuing our endorsement of Kathryn Quade for mayor, because we feel she'd provide a dynamic leadership style that could be a nice counterpoint to the council's more conservative approaches. They could, we feel, provide a balanced leadership approach that would serve serve Poulsbo well in the challenges it faces now and in the future.