Opinion

Conrad Lee, Kevin Wallace, Vandana Slatter best for Bellevue City Council | Editorial

Six people are seeking three seats on the Bellevue City Council. All are intelligent, but that doesn’t mean they are equal in what they would bring to the task of guiding the city. Three stand out: Conrad Lee, Kevin Wallace and Vandana Slatter.

Conrad Lee for Position 2

This race is the easiest to call. Lee’s 20 years on the City Council have given him the knowledge and experience necessary for Bellevue’s continued success. With all he has on his plate, he is probably the most accessible of those on the council and can be found at city and neighborhood gatherings throughout the year. That community connection is something others should emulate, both those now on the council – or who want to be. Also, he is fiscally conservative and in touch with the city’s needs. As an immigrant himself, he understands that growing part of the city. Wisely, voters have elected him to the council five times.

His opponent, Lyndon Heywood, is critical of the city and some of its departments he has dealt with, partially over the need and construction of bicycle lanes. Retrofitting bicycle lanes to a mostly built-out city is difficult, but Bellevue has shown its commitment in the improvements to the West Lake Sammamish Parkway where a wide pedestrian/bicycle lane is being added to roadway improvements. Heywood’s critiques of City Hall show that he cares about the community. We would like to see him broaden his interests to other areas of the city he thinks need improvement.

Kevin Wallace for Position 4

Wallace is finishing his first term on the council and has shown a keen ability to forge practical solutions to difficult problems. Wallace had strong views on the route light rail should take into the city. However, when his position didn’t prevail, he actively engaged Sound Transit to ensure that Bellevue neighborhoods got the most protection possible from the impact of the trains.

Wallace’s knowledge of commercial development can benefit the city as its downtown business matures and diversifies. It’s also impressive that he has the endorsements of numerous Democratic and Republican leaders from across the region, testimony to his non-partisan approach to government.

This race has become contentious, mostly because of the political spin that challenger Steve Kasner has unnecessarily put on a non-partisan race. A video shows Kasner telling the audience they must help him remove the “neanderthals” on the council and turn the Eastside solidly Democratic. While he takes pains to tout his ability to work collaboratively, his comments in an unguarded moment to a specific audience should raise questions in the voters’ minds if that would be the case if elected.

Vandana Slatter for Position 6

The race for Position 6 is a tougher call. Both candidates have achievements and attributes on the plus side of the ledger.

Slatter brings a strong combination of business success and solution-focused approaches to issues that should work well on the council. She has Master of Public Administration and Doctor of Pharmacy degrees from the University of Washington and works for a national biotech company. She also has strong community ties as a trustee on the Overlake Hospital Foundation and CHILD, an accredited, therapeutic day-school designed for students 5-17.

Four members of the City Council endorse her: Wallace, Jennifer Robertson, Claudia Balducci and Don Davidson.

Bellevue’s future is to grow smartly. Slatter’s business background and community connections should help make that happen.

Her opponent, Lynne Robinson, also has a strong resume from her work over the past decade on the Bellevue Parks Board and the Network on Aging. Her experience from work on issues and with various community organizations would be a plus on the council. She also supports a balanced approach to help Bellevue move into the future. However, Slatter’s background indicates that she would be better positioned to help the city move forward at this time.

The Bellevue Reporter endorses Conrad Lee, Kevin Wallace and Vandana Slatter.

– Craig Groshart, Bellevue Reporter

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