When Bothell was incorporated along the Sammamish River in 1909, it had 599 residents. Now, the city has about 30,000 people, its comprehensive...
When Bothell was incorporated along the Sammamish River in 1909, it had 599 residents.
Now, the city has about 30,000 people, its comprehensive plan anticipates 43,000 by 2025 and city limits stretch about four miles north of the original downtown and into Snohomish County.
Those numbers represent a large part of the concerns for three candidates vying for a seat on the City Council in Tuesday’s primary, where Position 3 is being vacated by the incumbent, Mike Johnson.
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The three candidates are Ernie Bellecy, Jeff Gard and Del Spivey.
Each says dealing with population growth and creating jobs are key issues facing the city. And each brings a different background to the campaign.
Bellecy is a pension consultant who has served in appointed city positions the past several years. Gard is an accountant and controller who came to the city about five years ago from Houston. Spivey is a Bellevue firefighter and lifelong Bothell resident.
Ernie Bellecy, 58
Occupation: Regional pension consultant
Personal: Married, one daughter
Background: Never held elected office; was appointed as planning commissioner
Top endorsements: Present and past Bothell mayors, including Sue Walsh, Bob Bandarra, Debbie Treen and Patrick Ewing; past and present City Council members Pat Pierce, Terry Olsen, Wendy Brady, Sue Kienast, Phil Kienast, Tim Tobin, Andrea Perry and Mike Johnson
Campaign Web site: ernieforbothell.com
Jeff Gard, 47
Occupation: Corporate controller
Personal: Married, three children
Background: Never held office
Top endorsements: Only endorsement listed is King County Women’s Political Caucus
Campaign Web site: jeffgard.org
Del Spivey, 42
Personal: Married, two children
Background: Never held elected office
Top endorsements: Bothell Firefighters IAF Local 2099; Washington State Council of Firefighters; Rep. Mark Ericks, D-Bothell; City Councilmen Jeff Merrill and Mark Lamb
Campaign e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s a look at each:
Bellecy puts protecting neighborhoods, making good land-use decisions, controlling taxes and having a successful economic-development program among his priorities.
“I bring the experience and respect from the people I work with,” he said.
Bellecy has lived in Bothell 18 years and works as a regional pension consultant in Kirkland. He served as a soccer coach for 16 years and with the PTA for 12 years, and about six years ago got involved in city affairs, becoming concerned about a proposed grid-system street plan.
“We successfully fought that proposal, the citywide street plan,” he said. “It would have put traffic through the neighborhoods.”
Bellecy ran for the City Council in 2003 and lost but says he has learned more about campaigning. He was appointed to the Planning Commission and belongs to the Bothell Chamber of Commerce.
Bellecy puts neighborhoods atop his list, along with land use.
“Every candidate wants to protect the neighborhoods,” he said.
“We only have a limited amount of land,” he said, noting that a 2004 comprehensive plan provides valuable guidance for how that land is used. “I want to see we stay with that comp plan.”
Gard sees adding housing, developing businesses, providing better services for the Snohomish County part of the city and developing a more-visionary management style as among needed changes.
“It’s kind of like what happened with the hurricane,” said Gard, noting plans to deal with Hurricane Katrina proved far from adequate. He thinks such a long-term view also is lacking in Bothell.
Gard, who grew up in Dayton, Ohio, mentions his Internet site as an example of an expanded view, seeing such innovations as a key part of communicating city ideas.
Bellecy also has a Web site and Spivey uses e-mail, but Gard has developed a multipart Web site with his background, his views on management and the city’s future, and a blog of miscellaneous thoughts.
Such approaches, he said, are likely to become more important as individuals and organizations find it increasingly hard to communicate and information sources become more random.
“I think people will want to live and work and shop very close together,” he said. “I think the cities that can pull that off are the ones that will succeed.”
Gard has a vision of how the city should be.
“I think the world has changed,” he said. Bothell should be “a place to live, a place to work, a place to shop.”
Like the others, Spivey has concerns about the city where he grew up and got his first firefighting job as a volunteer in 1980. He’s now a full-time Bellevue firefighter.
“I look at it as I’ve always been involved in the community, and this is another way to do it,” he said.
Spivey has been a junior-football and Little League coach and is an assistant football coach at Bothell High School. He also has been an elementary-school camp counselor and has taught first-aid and survival courses.
He sees guiding responsible growth, supporting local jobs and having an open and efficient government as crucial.
Spivey said he became aware of those concerns over the years and seized on the City Council opening as a way to have a positive influence.
“This is a first-time adventure for me,” he said.
Spivey has specific ideas for how things might be improved, such as avoiding the clear-cutting of land being developed.
“What we see a lot of now is the way codes are set up; they just bulldoze everything. We can keep a lot more of our greenbelts. … I think it would just be nicer if we managed our codes more efficiently,” Spivey said.
Peyton Whitely: 206-464-2259 or email@example.com