For Tacoma council: Woodards, Thoms, Lonergan

The News TribuneOctober 7, 2013 

If this year’s polite races and unchallenged incumbents are any indication, either the Tacoma City Council is keeping citizens happy or its members are good at keeping their heads down.

Tacoma has big financial problems, and City Manager T.C. Broadnax – who has proven highly competent since he arrived early last year – has been making hard decisions to bring spending in line with income.

Often that’s all it takes to spawn angry factions bent on upending city government. But the November ballot all but sings “Kumbaya.”

Mayor Marilyn Strickland never got a challenger; for her, this election will be a coronation. Councilmember Marty Campbell has no opponent for his District 4 seat.

In Position 6, Victoria Woodards has pulled Robert Hill, a convicted felon with a rap sheet marked by guns, stalking and intimidation. No contest.

The two actual races are for the seats representing District 2 and District 3.

Robert Thoms and Patricia Lecy-Davis, both business owners, are squaring off in District 2, which encompasses Northeast Tacoma, the Tideflats, downtown and a large chunk of the North End.

The two are excellent candidates. Lecy-Davis, a salon owner and leader in the business community, offers a deep understanding of the city’s crucial small business sector.

We lean toward Thoms, who was appointed to the council in January in a competitive process. He’s had broad experience in the military as a naval officer, and also in public life, as an aide to Sen. Maria Cantwell.

We do note a couple of lapses: He neglected to get a business license when he opened his consulting firm, and the city’s ethics board rapped his knuckles for supporting a school bond measure while he was under a contract with the school district.

There are worse sins. We don’t think these are deal-breakers for this office.

Incumbent Joe Lonergan faces challenger Olgy Diaz in District 5, which includes the city’s southernmost neighborhoods.

Lonergan has proven to be a thoughtful and respected councilmember since his election four years ago. He pays close attention to his district’s needs. Somewhat more conservative than his colleagues, he offers an important perspective and a check on some of the zanier ideas that reach the council.

Olgy Diaz is a smart, young University of Washington graduate. She’s a good choice for voters who want a councilmember who’s nearly perfectly aligned with every Democratic constituency and cause in sight. We’re concerned she won’t add much philosophical diversity to the city’s leadership.

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