Letters to the Editor, Nov. 1, 2019

These letters were not published in print.

Walters loves the city

I am endorsing Stephanie Walters for city council position 3. The city of Bellevue needs a pragmatic leader who will help bring forth reasonable and beneficial growth instead of mass redevelopment for the sake of redevelopment. A person who understands the needs of current residents while planning for a green and modern place for those to come.

Stephanie is level headed and not a career politician with no motives beyond helping residents voice their ideas, concerns and vision for the city that they live in and love. With her at the helm, I do not fear squalid tent cities and ineffectual homeless policies because I know she would never let that happen to the city she loves. The only person I have ever heard talk about planning for when times get tough instead of grandiose projects and ideas that will cost residents more money. She represents everything good about Bellevue and its potential to be better and Bellevue should be grateful to have her.

Linda Nguyen

Bellevue

Former student supports Aras

As a former student of school board candidate Jane Aras — a beneficiary of her tireless and creative work to generate opportunities for early exposure in computer coding and math skills alike — it is without question in my mind that she is the best candidate I could imagine to serve the Bellevue Schools.

All can agree that education is the great equalizer. Access to a safe, healthy, and vibrant place to thrive is paramount to the future of our children. Unfortunately, creating and cultivating that is not easy. I’ve seen it done well and very poorly in many of the different educational settings I’ve found myself as a part of, but believe that Bellevue finds itself now in a place where we are poised to serve our students and families incredibly well by placing Jane Aras into this position as an advocate and actor for the good of all our students.

She’s excelled in creating curricula and opportunities for gifted students like myself who could never have enough to do in a classroom, but also in her service of children and families in disadvantaged communities. She has thrived in both special and gen ed, and is an exceptional evaluator of the strengths and weaknesses notable in every environment. I’ve seen her unmistakable passion, care and action to leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of educational opportunity, health and the well-being of students.

As pressures mount on all of our students in so many different and ever-changing ways, the challenge of addressing mental health concerns in schools is more daunting than ever. I know for a fact that there is nobody better than Jane to think about this and all other things in the systematic and holistic fashion that will serve all of our students well.

Gabriel Joseph

Bellevue

Wiest genuinely committed

My four kids receive special education, general education and gifted education services, so I support Francine Wiest for Bellevue School Board. What happens in the school day spills into the home. I want someone who understands firsthand my family’s complete journey, and who has a track record of being a successful advocate for students like mine.

I have known Francine for a decade, and she is a leader who combines a breadth and depth of personal, work and volunteer experience with actively reaching out to affected groups to get their views, and then adding in research, training and meetings. We started Bellevue Gifted Alliance and carpooled this summer to Olympia to “Reimagining Special Education” because we believe a better way is possible. We believe high expectations strengthens education for all kids. I have served on numerous PTA boards, including Bellevue Special Needs PTA, and worked with many great leaders. Francine has a remarkable ability to assess a situation, discern one or more solutions, and find common ground and paths to get there.

As a member of the district’s Equity Advisory Group, I appreciate that Francine consistently seeks the input of different groups on board agenda items and district programs, rather than relying on the loudest voices coming to her. Those of us in the trenches know who is truly active in the community and at school and PTA events. Francine is there for us. She is knowledgeable about the issues. She works to improve opportunities for all, regardless of background. Francine is sincerely committed, collaborative and I know I can rely on her to keep students’ needs first.

Francine is a wonderful representative for us all. Please help me keep Francine on the school board because she has the right approach to serve all students.

Susie Pietz

Bellevue

Barksdale support

I believe Jeremy Barksdale will be a fantastic addition to Bellevue City Council.

Barksdale has deep roots in Bellevue and has demonstrated his commitment to serving his community as chair of the Planning Commission for the city and a member of the board for Leadership Eastside. His experience with technology and business coupled with his leadership roles in the community give Jeremy the ideal perspective for helping Bellevue grow responsibly.

I was disappointed to read that a supporter of his opponent, Stephanie Walter, questioned Barksdale’s commitment to Bellevue because he serves on the board of the progressive advocacy group Fuse Washington. Contrary to their misleading claims, Fuse has helped bring people in Bellevue together for almost a decade in support of transit and transportation improvements that keep our community moving forward.

What’s even more disappointing to me is that Walter supporters are launching misleading character attacks instead of debating the important issues facing Bellevue.

Barksdale is prioritizing keeping Bellevue affordable, which includes creating more affordable housing for people like teachers, nurses and firefighters who serve our community. He will ensure every child in Bellevue’s great schools has a place to call home and will create well-paying jobs that will increase opportunity and economic mobility. He also wants to improve transportation to decrease the cost of living and make sure we spend more time with our families and less time in traffic.

These are the issues that this campaign should be about, not political mudslinging. Barksdale’s focus on issues that matter most is part of why he’s earned endorsements from numerous community leaders including Sen. Lisa Wellman and Sen. Patty Kuderer, Rep. My-Linh Thai, and Bellevue councilmembers John Stokes and Janice Zahn.

Barksdale will be an excellent member of Bellevue City Council and deserves your vote.

Janice Bristol

Bellevue

Aras support

As you fill out your ballots, vote for Jane Aras for Bellevue School Board of Directors. She is an experienced educator with a great understanding of what schools need to support students. She is a passionate advocate for all students and would bring fantastic perspective and skill to the school board.

Jane is endorsed by a long list of local educators, education advocates and respected organizations. In the midst of an election where outright lies and misinformation have been spread, Jane has embodied grace under pressure — modeling exactly the skills we teach our students and should expect of our elected leaders.

I have known Jane since my first years of teaching in Bellevue when her boys were each in my fifth-grade class and she actively partnered with me to support all students. Through her own career as a public educator and the vast volunteer work she’s done in our schools, Jane is a proven champion for the equity work that needs to happen in our system.

Vote for Jane.

Allison Snow

Bellevue educator

Wiest support

We long served on the Bellevue School Board and care intensely about Bellevue schools. We strongly support retaining current board member, Dr. Francine Wiest. We support her commitment to quality education for all students and the talent and thoughtfulness she brings to the board.

The Bellevue School Board election is particularly important this year. The board is relatively new as the majority of members and the superintendent have served less than three years. It is critical to retain quality directors. Francine is a terrific board member. She brings a breadth and depth of dedicated leadership experience. Having served as a local PTSA president and substitute teacher, Francine is invested in public education. She is smart and accomplished. She works well with others, earning her the support of all three of her fellow board members who are making endorsements, as well as broad support including Rob McKenna, former attorney general and Congressman Jim McDermott as well as three members of the Bellevue city council, councilmembers Robinson, Stokes and Lee.

Francine listens deeply, and is conscientious and responsive, which are crucial qualities for school board members. She recognizes the importance of challenging all students to achieve to their best, and providing the appropriate academic and well-being supports. Francine looks for solutions that bring the community together, not divide it while moving the district to more effectively address disparities in outcomes. Her perspective as a physician contributes to her whole child approach, and her experience as a systems researcher and management consultant enables her to provide the oversight needed to move beyond lofty ideas into thoughtful, actionable plans to make progress for all students.

Successful school boards need the continuity of engaged, committed directors who can promote advancement for student learning and well-being while maintaining a sense of stability. Francine fits this need.

Judy Bushnell Bellevue School Board 1991-2010

Steve Miller Bellevue School Board 1993-2004


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bellevuereporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bellevuereporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.