City candidates face off

POULSBO — After patiently listening to Mayor Donna Jean Bruce and Councilwoman Kathryn Quade tell voters why they should be Little Norway’s next mayor, Councilman Mike Regis rushed to the podium and went on the offensive.

All of the candidates come into the race with a different perspective, Regis told the crowd of 45 gathered at the Sons of Norway lodge on Thursday evening.

“One has a vision for a sustainable traffic corridor that won’t happen because it’s on state land,” he said. “The other has tried to build the focus on a new city hall without public input.”

“My focus is the same as your focus,” he continued after pointing squarely to the MagLev idea supported by Quade and the municipal campus project being shepherded by Bruce.

However, Quade said her interest in the MagLev technology spurs from her belief that the city should explore new alternatives to solve existing problems.

“Bear in mind whatever happens, it will come before the citizens,” Quade assured the audience.

In response to Regis’ criticism of her handling of the municipal campus, Bruce said the project was unanimously approved by the city council and promised there will be citizen input.

“Citizens will be able to participate in the design phase and we don’t want you to feel left out,” she said.

Bruce also explained that the architect chosen to conduct the study on the proposed 10th Avenue site was selected on its good record.

“I can assure you the selection was on its merits, not because they were personal friends of the public works director,” Bruce said. However, Quade told the audience she would work harder to bring in local firms on city projects.

“I would do whatever I could in my power to have, if not total, local control, at least a collaborative effort, because I believe we’re all connected,” she said.

Regis echoed Quade’s remarks, saying no one has any idea of the quality of local architects.

“We haven’t known this since 1972 and we need to recognize the caliber of people we’ve had coming into this community,” he explained.

All three voiced their support of efforts spearheaded by the Bight of Poulsbo to reopen the now-closed Marine Science Center.

“I think very highly of the Bight Poulsbo and they are doing a wonderful job,” Bruce remarked.

Quade and Regis also both expressed their appreciation of the group’s efforts and said the center will open again.

In her closing remarks, Quade told the audience that she believes she is the best candidate for the job.

“I truly believe I am the best qualified candidate to lead Poulsbo through the next growth period,” Quade said.

Bruce told the audience that in order to move ahead the city needs to consider all possibilities and not be afraid to do things differently.

“There are many things that require leadership and a steady hand and I think I can provide that,” she concluded.

As he closed the mayoral candidate part of the forum Regis urged the audience to help him get through the primary.

“If you don’t live in the city, tell your brother, your sister, your cousin, whoever and have them vote for me, so we can work for you,” Regis said.

In contrast to the tension of the mayoral panel, the city council candidates spoke about the issues with relative calm.

Community advocate Herbert Kai, who is running against Councilman Dale Rudolph, told the audience that he will bring an alternative position to the council.

“I believe things should come from the community up to the council and not the other way around,” Kai said.

For Rudolph, who is seeking his fourth term on the council, his main reason for running is because he wants to continue getting things done.

“One of the things I really like to do on the council is work with people, and I feel my experience will allow me to do that,” Rudolph remarked.

Councilman Ed Stern, who is opposed by Stan Kennedy, said the city has done more right than it has wrong.

“We have a lot that we can improve on and I’m very proud to be part of this community,” Stern said.

For Kennedy, his decision to run is rooted in his belief that the council needs a renewal process of its own.

“I think it’s time for a change on city council and renewal is good,” Kennedy explained.

Even though she is unopposed Kimberlee Crowder assured the audience that she will use the election season to prepare for January when she takes her seat on the council.

“I’m glad I’m unopposed but I’m still going to study the issues and make sure I’m prepared when the time comes,” Crowder said.

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