Our Voice: Pasco City Council races

October 11, 2013 

The Pasco City Council has two seats that will be decided this election. One is an easy choice, the other is nearly impossible.

Garrison vs. Beasley

The choice between challenger Aaron Beasley and incumbent Mike Garrison for Pasco City Council is an easy one.

Beasley, a Pasco firefighter for 30 years, wants to see the city council focus on the basics -- roads, parks and other infrastructure.

But Garrison has served on the council for 25 years, during an unprecedented growth spurt that kept Pasco among the fastest-growing communities in the nation. During that time, he's demonstrated an ability to help keep Pasco focused on the basics.

Has everything gone perfectly? Of course not. Road 68 can still be a nightmare to negotiate during certain times of the day.

But is Pasco better off than it was when Garrison first joined the council? Without a doubt. The population jumped 68 percent in the past 10 years, the property tax rate dropped 28 percent and the crime rate decreased 27 percent. That's a record that earns Garrison another term.

His experience extends beyond city hall. He also has served on the Tri-City Development Council, Tri-Cities Visitor & Convention Bureau, Ben Franklin Transit and the Hanford Communities Board.

Beasley promises to encourage growth in the private sector, but Garrison has delivered. He was a key player in the partnership with the Port of Pasco to provide the water reuse facility and other infrastructure to attract food processing companies. Today, Resers, Simplot and Twin City Foods are all providing jobs in Pasco as a result.

We like Beasley's ideas. His proposal for developing the west end of Columbia Park with investments by Northwest professional sports figures was intriguing, for example. But so far, that's resulted in Richland, Kennewick and their insurance companies paying Beasley $400,000 to settle a contract dispute but no improvements to the park.

Pasco is not done growing. Four years ago, we said, "It's a different Pasco. Garrison had a hand in making it better, and we believe the experience and historical knowledge he brings to the council will help Pasco continue its progression."

That conclusion still is valid today.

Larsen vs. Nelson

We are stymied in the other race for Pasco City Council. Both candidates declined the invitation to speak to us.

Tom Larsen is the incumbent of 12 years. He has a well-earned reputation for being against nearly anything the rest of the council is for. He's been popular with the electorate in the past, but we cannot recommend him.

We are all for the voice of reason and caution. Larsen has neither.

At the same time we don't know enough about Stu Nelson to recommend him, either.

The good news is a write-in candidate has until Oct. 18 to file for the office, although write-ins do not get their name on the ballot.

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