Bellevue’s voters should cast their primary votes to return John Stokes for a third term in Position 1 on the Eastside city’s at-large council.
Stokes, a retired attorney, was unopposed four years ago when he first came up for reelection. He has a long résumé of civic service, including schools, parks and transportation organizations, as well as a two-year term as the council’s mayor. As a council member, he has played a pivotal role in building consensus during Bellevue’s contentious drive to open a year-round homeless shelter. He has also shown meaningful leadership by insisting that the shelter not be required to maintain a broad buffer zone that would disqualify most potential sites in Bellevue.
Stokes’ methodical approach has contributed to Bellevue’s steady development during a period of intense commercial and residential growth. In particular, his leadership role on Bellevue’s affordable housing plan and his support of a state law change to encourage condominium construction promise to improve housing availability in one of the region’s most expensive cities to buy a home.
Challengers Martin Acevedo and Holly Zhang each found fault with Stokes’ shelter proposal, with Acevedo, a businessman, saying a buffer zone is needed and Zhang, who owns a jewelry store and once was homeless, saying that shelters are ineffectual. Although Acevedo presents additional ambitious proposals — including a dream of a public utility district for the Eastside — neither opponent can match Stokes’ real-world accomplishments or his granular policy knowledge of the issues confronting Bellevue. Stokes is a clear choice for reelection.