Letters to the Editor, Oct. 18, 2019

Election letters

Wiest is leader we need

As PTA president and vice-president at multiple schools for the past decade, and chair of the Bellevue College Parents Advisory Committee, I have seen my share of leaders and considered many important educational issues, and that is why I support Dr. Francine Wiest for Bellevue School Board. I am deeply impressed by Francine’s values and excellent service as a community advocate and PTA leader supporting all students and engaging families.

Francine is resourceful and constantly thinking about how we can improve our systems, and then she acts accordingly. From seemingly little things like gathering volunteers to finding surplus books at the district warehouse to supplement new teacher classrooms and provide books to students in need, to advocating for a learning model where all students grow every year with the right emotional and academic supports, to turning schools into community hubs, Francine is a true leader. She works collaboratively, listening to our students and families, and brings in a diversity of programming to meet various needs—STEM nights, a breakfast program, curriculum enhancement, and a dozen more. She asks discerning questions, tracks down resources, engages partners, and develops new leaders.

Across PTAs we call on Francine when we face tough issues because she is knowledgeable, genuinely listens, and finds solutions. She has been an advocate at a high level for over 25 years, from national reform to deep involvement in our Bellevue public schools. Her capacity to hit the ground running in service to our students is unmatched, and in less than a year on the school board she has already made a substantial positive impact. Francine moves our district forward for all students, and we need that progress to continue. Please join me in voting to retain Francine Wiest for school board.

Emilie Castle


Walter endorsement

I’m writing to add my full support for Stephanie Walter for Bellevue City Council position 3.

I have known Stephanie for over 12 years and can attest to her integrity, moral values, and technical capabilities. Stephanie has proven experience as a finance professional and member of the Bellevue East Side Council.

Stephanie exceeds expectations in the critical areas of urban planning, leadership and in navigating the city’s complex regulatory environment. Stephanie listens and supports our local neighborhoods, but most importantly she takes action when required.

As a community advocate, Stephanie steeped herself in city zoning regulations and successfully solved a series of complex issues affecting the local neighborhoods. As a member of the East Side Council she has continued to fight for the neighborhoods and for the independence and values of the people of Bellevue.

In the many years that I have known Stephanie I have always been impressed with her ability to listen, affect compromise when needed, but most importantly to not allow herself to be steamrolled into forsaking the values of those of us here in the city of Bellevue.

That is why I will be casting my vote for Stephanie this November, a true proponent for Bellevue values, responsible growth and civic integrity.

Mike Steelsmith


Reject preferential treatment

In 1998, a statewide public ballot adopted Initiative 200 prohibiting state and local governments from discriminating against or granting preferences to any racial or other named groups. This once again freed state and local governments to hire and promote the best qualified employees and contract with the most qualified contractors to obtain the most competitive goods, services and prices. These are essential to allow governmental bodies to efficiently carry out their duties to the public. It allowed public schools, and in particular colleges with many applicants and limited openings, to admit the most qualified students.

Federal, state and local governments make available all manner of programs and educational opportunities to help make the interested public better able to compete. It should be noted that many of those not admitted to their preferred public college campus as freshmen attend another college, work hard and transfer as sophomores or juniors to the campus they preferred.

Earlier this year the Washington Legislature was presented with Initiative 1000 (I-1000) which called for reinstating preferences for certain racial and other groups in the hiring of government employees and contractors and admission of students to public schools and colleges. The Legislature had to either adopt I-1000 as written or let the public vote on it this November. Unwilling to trust a public vote, it enacted I-1000 at night on the last date of the legislative session.

Doing so reversed the 1998 public ballot.

Signatures were gathered for Referendum 88 (R-88) which has placed Initiative 1000 for a statewide vote in this November’s election.

To preserve government efficiency and eliminate government action treating certain racial and other groups preferentially, vote to reject R-88/I-1000 this November.

Bruce Hand


More support for Walter

I personally endorse Stephanie Walter for Bellevue City Council.

Stephanie Walter’s community accomplishments set her apart from other candidates. She led a grassroots community group, was elected city of Bellevue Planning Commission chair, revitalized the Lake Hills Neighborhood Association, and serves as the East Bellevue Community Council vice chair. Stephanie brings a pragmatic, problem solving approach to every endeavor, and does not take no for an answer, and carefully reviews the testimony of all sides of an issue.

I first became aware of Stephanie when she galvanized her neighbors to question the rise of rooming houses in her neighborhood. She met with local leaders, took her concern to public officials and the media, and succeeded in establishing more clear guidelines on rentals in single family residential neighborhoods. While initially helping her local Lake Hills community, Stephanie’s efforts have resonated throughout Bellevue neighborhoods.

With Stephanie’s innovative suggestions, the Lake Hills Neighborhood Association meets regularly and holds special events.

Stephanie was appointed to the city of Bellevue Planning Commission by then-Mayor Claudia Balducci. She served as chair. She was instrumental in both the Eastgate Transportation and Land Use Project Study, as well as the Downtown Livability Initiative. Stephanie helped the commission balance city council direction, concerns of constituents, and wishes of developers to create landmark strategies for both Eastgate and Downtown neighborhoods.

Stephanie was elected to East Bellevue Community Council by her Lake Hills constituents in 2018. She serves as vice chair. Stephanie’s in-depth experience brings a new perspective to the decision making process.

Bellevue couldn’t ask for a more dedicated, experienced and non-partisan councilmember than Stephanie Walter.

Betsi Hummer