Don Davidson is throwing his considerable experience back in the ring of local politics because he feels like he left things unfinished last time he was in office.
The 76-year-old, two-time mayor left the Bellevue City Council two years ago, citing health reasons. He is running against incumbent John Chelminiak for Position 3.
“What happened was when you are on the outside looking in, you see things differently,” he said. “I don’t think Sound Transit should be going through Mercer Slough.”
After setting up the initial contact and subsequent planning with Sound Transit, Davidson said the city government failed its duty to the people by allowing the rail line to head straight through the nature park.
The self-described conservative said he has an environmental streak, and the line through the park came about as a result of the City Council ignoring citizen comment.
“I did testify about the plans, and everyone was trying to make it sound like I had changed my mind,” Davidson said. “I’m running against an incumbent because I wanted to make sure there was new blood on the council.”
The key facets of his platform are improving transportation in the city, protecting the character of Bellevue’s neighborhoods and running an “effective and efficient” government.
Davidson said if elected, he would like to get to know the workings of the current council before moving on important growth issues.
“How we get to the solution is what makes the difference,” he said. “The Eastside still doesn’t know what it wants to be when it grows up, and it’s up to us to look at that big picture.”
Just the facts:
Profession: Recently retired dentist
Family: Married 53 years, three children, four grandchildren.
Political/community experience: Two-time mayor of Bellevue, two-time deputy mayor of Bellevue, elected to Bellevue City Council six times, was elected president of Association of Washington Cities.
In seeking reelection, John Chelminiak said that the future of Bellevue is vital to making the city a safe and accessible one, and he hopes his continuing presence on the City Council will be the right fit to get it that way.
“I’m excited to be where we are as a City Council,” he said. “We are working very well together and are very much focused on the future of the city.”Chelminiak is running against Don Davidson for Position 3.
This future depends on major road and transit projects which Chelminiak has helped plan and approve, he said. First among these are the light rail project and connecting downtown to the Bel-Red corridor and other parts of the city, he said.
And for the coming growth on the Eastside, Bellevue has a responsibility to have options for affordable housing.
“When people hear that, they think of lower-income workers,” Chelminiak said. “But we want to have affordable options for people who are doing well, maybe families moving along in life. We want the whole spectrum to be available.”
A refocus on neighborhoods and bolstering the Neighborhood Enhancement Program would allow different neighborhoods to have say on various policies and actions, Chelminiak said.
This expected growth comes with a set of its own issues as well.
“Public safety is something we have to consider. We’re a much larger city than we once were,” he said. “That comes with more criminal activity. We also have really major events like the fireworks and the Strawberry Festival. We’ve got to prepare for gentle crowd control.”
A connection with Kirkland’s trails system is another hope of Chelminiak’s for the future.
The election is Nov. 3
Just the facts:
Profession: Senior manager of municipal contracts at Waste Management.
Family: Married; Daughter, step-daughter.
Political/community experience: Three-time City Council member, worked to attract Global Innovation Exchange, former member of Bellevue Planning Commission.
Ryan Murray: 425-453-4602; firstname.lastname@example.org