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Poulsbo council candidates face full house at city forum

POULSBO — Six candidates for Poulsbo’s city council greeted a packed house at the Sons of Norway Thursday night at a forum event sponsored by the Kitsap League of Women Voters and Greater Poulsbo Chamber of Commerce.

While there was little debate, contenders for the first three council seats received ample opportunities to express their ideas on the city’s most important issues before a crowd of nearly 60.

In attendance were Position 1 contenders Linda Berry-Maraist and incumbent Mike Regis, Position 2 competitors Joseph Price and incumbent Connie Lord and Position 3 candidates Becky Erickson and incumbent Jim Henry.

Each was given time for an introduction and closing statement, between which all were asked written questions from the audience read by host and chamber executive director Stuart Leidner.

Linda Berry-Maraist championed the idea of leadership that stays ahead of issues in an effort to balance growth both “up and out.”

“Growth is coming at us at an unprecedented speed,” she said. Berry-Maraist serves on the Poulsbo Planning Commission, is chair of the Kitsap Public Facilities District and has worked on committees for both the Critical Areas Ordinances and Planned Residential Development codes.

She campaigned for a downtown city hall and said she will seek to develop creative, cost-effective partnerships.

Her opponent, Regis, drew upon his experience with the city — which began in 1977 — as an extensive background that allows him to address Poulsbo’s issues with the needed skills and knowledge. He is running for his third term and said despite changes throughout the city’s staff over the years, people have come to expect him to be factual, realistic and practical.

“I am the continuum,” he said.

Regis also said he has made a committment to the health of Liberty Bay. He is a proponent of a 10th Avenue city hall location.

Position 2 hopeful Price talked of his years of travel during his Marine Corps service as time spent learning how other places in the world have addressed the same issues facing Poulsbo.

“No matter where we go, we all have the same needs,” he said.

Price has lived in Little Norway for three years, and said he wants to more efficiently spend taxpayers’ money. He called for a multi-functional city hall at the existing location.

His opponent, Lord, said she’ll continue to utilize her skills and experience to bring Poulsbo into the future. During her past two terms on council she has served on all five council committees and looks forward to the city’s blossoming into a college town.

She has worked on issues including the Poulsbo Marine Science Center and Olympic College and believes building city hall at a downtown location will free up valuable property on Jensen Way for mixed retail use.

Lord also wants to involve area high school students in city government to inspire future leaders, and said she’d like to continue work on Poulsbo’s comprehensive plan to ensure a “wonderful quality of life” for residents.

Erickson said she first became involved in Poulsbo’s government when she discovered 547 homes were planned near hers on Noll Road and 1,600 were planned citywide. She influenced the building moratoriums instilled last fall and worked on both the CAO and PRD codes to then lift those moratoriums.

“We need to grow and change, but we need to grow and change in a constructive way,” she said.

Erickson said she will look for immediate, low cost solutions, including to re-sequencing of lights on State Route 305 to improve traffic flow.

Her opponent, Henry, who has served on the council since 2000, said he has made transportation his niche. He has worked on ideas for a passenger-only ferry from Poulsbo to Seattle, and will continue to work to get cars off the city’s roads. He said one-way streets in downtown will go a long way in solving traffic difficulties as well.

“People want answers, and that’s what I try to give you,” he said.

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