Bellevue is changing. A community that many people once thought of as only a sleepy Seattle suburb across Lake Washington now embraces new businesses, new residents, new challenges and new ideas. We recommend voters embrace change on their city council, too, and select Dexter Borbe for Position 2. He brings a fresh perspective that would benefit planning for the future.
Borbe lacks government experience, but that is not unusual in a city-council race. He makes up for it with a solid professional résumé. He owns a small home health care business, is a former renewable energy executive and even worked for a time at Amazon. He will bring management skills and strategic thinking to the council.
Like many Bellevue residents and the incumbent he is challenging, Conrad Lee, Borbe also is an immigrant. That lived experience will help him better understand the needs of the entire community.
High on his list of priorities are housing and transportation.
Housing has become a pernicious challenge. Rents and home prices have skyrocketed as the housing inventory has not kept up with the influx of new workers and residents. Too many people are priced out of the market or pay excessive rent. Borbe would like the council to take another look at some zoning decisions and encourage more accessory dwelling units as part of a comprehensive plan for housing.
On transportation, Borbe supports investment in multi-modal stations and systems. More roads alone will not solve the city’s congestion woes.
Voters still skeptical should check his growing list of endorsements. He reports that two sitting councilmembers – Jeremy Barksdale and Janice Zahn – as well as King County Democrats and the 41st Legislative District delegation back his candidacy.
Lee has held his seat for 24 years. Bellevue residents have benefited from Lee’s service. He is a pragmatic leader who promotes fiscal responsibility. His connections to diverse communities in the city are not to be underestimated when it comes to bringing people together on controversial issues.
Yet in recent years Lee has cast some questionable votes. Not least was his opposition to siting a permanent men’s homeless shelter that the city had committed to build as part of a regional agreement. The project ran years behind schedule.
Also on the ballot are Christie Sanam Lo and Johan Christensen. Neither offers a more compelling vision for the city than Borbe.
Lee’s experience and institutional knowledge are certainly valuable, but at this time of change in Bellevue, Borbe will bring fresh, energetic leadership.