The debate for three positions on the Maple Valley City Council candidates lacked one thing. A debate! The evening on Oct. 15 was attended by a respectable crowd of interested citizens. The candidates went through the question series with similar answers from each candidate. I wished each candidate had been allowed to ask questions of each other. The result might have come closer to a debate.
The conclusion of the session resulted in the public receiving a better familiarity of each candidate. David Pilgrim surprised us with his delivery and answers. Typically, he’s soft spoken at the regular City Council meetings.
The question of “What type of business would you like to see coming to Maple Valley?” His answer was no matter what we’d like to see it should be evaluated by hired real estate professionals who know what retail companies could be attracted to a city our size.
Jim Flynn got high grades in the answer on what to do with the financial drain of Lake Wilderness Golf Course. He suggested that the golf course should sell off its development rights to a developer. The funds derived would pull the golf course out of the red. None of the candidates suggested shutting down the restaurant. The golf course is making money, but the restaurant isn’t.
None suggested reviewing the city sign code which prohibits the restaurant entry sign from being improved or changed.
Gary Habenicht asked do you support the city mitigation fees? No one mentioned that Maple Valley’s commercial mitigation fees are one of the highest in King County for a city our size. Retail commercial mitigation fees have a direct relationship on retail/commercial stores moving to Maple Valley. Every candidate felt that the only city employee that the Council should manage is the city manager and not try to manage the whole employee staff. That is what the city manager was hired to do.
One of most qualified candidates, based on community leadership and experience was, Victoria Jonas. However, they all were accomplished speakers. It’s too bad three of them will lose. All in all it was a worthwhile session. Thank you, Reporter newspaper for putting it on.