Editorial: Slowik's best mayoral choice

Oak Harbor city government is fractured, and the best bet for bringing it together is to elect mayoral candidate Jim Slowik.

His opponent, 12-year City Council veteran Paul Brewer, has served his community with honor, but he’s not the best choice for mayor at this time. He’s been involved with many squabbles on the council, he’s been at odds with the present mayor, and his election would likely lead to more turmoil. This is not to say that Brewer has been wrong on the issues; in fact, his instincts have generally been good. He’s the only council member who takes pride in looking out for the “little guy,” but he often doesn’t do his homework and he has been unable to work well with others, which is exactly what an effective mayor has to do.

Slowik served very effectively on the Oak Harbor School Board, ultimately chairing that board. Under his leadership the school district enjoyed considerable improvement, building trust in the community that translated into a successful building bond and operating levy proposals. In Oak Harbor, building trust is no easy task.

Slowik is already trusted by the business and education communities and has lent his leadership to a number of successful citizen projects, in particular the Wildcat Memorial Stadium fund-raiser by the Rotary Club.

Oak Harbor’s government needs new leadership from a trusted outsider who can come in, work effectively with all sides, and get the city back on the right track. Jim Slowik is the best choice for mayor in the Nov. 6 election.

There are also three city council positions on the ballot, and the choices here are easier. For Position 1, Jim Palmer is the preferred candidate. He’s knowledgeable, hard working, gets along well with others, and knows the city well. His expertise in business will be a welcome addition to the council’s collective expertise. His opponent, Bob Morrison, is seeking to return to the council, but he can’t match the promise offered by Jim Palmer.

For position two, Beth Munns is the obvious choice. She’s been active for many years in making her community a better place in which to live, with volunteer activities ranging from the Navy League to Island Thrift, United Way, Help House and the Oak Harbor Planning Commission. Seldom is a newcomer to elective office so qualified to serve. Her opponent, Christ Hiteshew, is bright and enthusiastic but doesn’t have Munns’ broad background. He should volunteer more in the community, ask to serve on a few city committees, and try again in the future. One of Beth Munns’ strengths is that she’s so likable and enthusiastic that she can help bring the council together.

For position 3, Rick Almberg is by far the superior candidate. He brings a long background in land use planning, construction management and community volunteerism to the position. With his business skills and knowledge gained from seven years on the Oak Harbor Planning Commission, he will be a valuable member of the city council team, better able than most to understand what city staff and developers are bringing to the table. His opponent, Mel Vance, simply does not have the necessary background to serve on the council.

Oak Harbor is fortunate to have such outstanding citizens willing to run for elective office this year. If they make it a priority to develop within the city’s present boundaries and always make their deliberations open and public, the city has a bright future indeed.

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