Residents of the City of Oak Harbor are fortunate to have a strong slate of candidates for City Council.
Right now, the city needs a council that works hard, engages in healthy public discussions, is open to hearing all sides of the issues and unites for the good of the community.
With that in mind, the Whidbey News-Times is endorsing the following:
Joel Servatius vs. Sandi Peterson
Joel Servatius has served on council for two years after being appointed to a vacant seat. During that time he stepped up to improve efficiencies within the city, including pushing a move to go paperless. He is involved in the community and does the work.
Sandi Peterson has been a silent drum behind the scenes, helping candidates get into office. She participates on city committees and has familiarized herself with the issues.
Both are excellent candidates, but Servatius deserves more time to show what he can do to keep the city moving forward.
We’re looking forward to seeing what else Servatius can bring to the table.
Peterson should certainly stay involved, and will be a welcome candidate for council in the future, but we give Servatius the nod in this round.
Jim Campbell vs. Skip Pohtilla
While both candidates are active in the community and involved with city projects, Campbell is not one to go with the majority.
Every group of decision makers needs a rational, dissenting voice, someone who will step up and be devil’s advocate.
Campbell is that voice.
One thing that stood out during candidate interviews with Campbell were his comments about council members’ pay and benefits.
Council positions are part time, and nowhere else in the city do part-time positions qualify for health benefits. Why should council? Good question.
That voice is needed on council to spark debate with the hope open discusssion prompts better decisions.
Pohtilla is also an active participant and should also keep his eye on the council for the future. He’s been involved in various commissions for the city, including the Arts Commission. He’s also active in Navy League.
We like Pohtilla’s professionalism and approach, but urge a vote to keep Campbell on the council.
Bob Severns vs. Lucas Yonkman
Bob Severns’ has a broad range of experience and a professional background working in title insurance that is beneficial to the city, especially as the city moves forward on projects such as the wastewater treatment facility.
We like Lucas Yonkman for his passion on issues such as the Second Amendment and hope he will remain involved in the local government processes.
That said, the Second Amendment is a Constitutional right, a federal matter.
Right now, the council’s focus is on proper management of taxpayer money and making decisions that will best serve the citizens of Oak Harbor.
With a bit more time under his belt learning the ways of the city, we see Yonkman as a viable candidate in the future.
We choose Severns for this race.
Danny Paggao vs. Mike Piccone
For 20 years, Danny Paggao served on council and we have the greatest respect for his dedication.
Where Paggao brings a certain continuity and calmness to council, we think challenger Mike Piccone promises to bring a fresh perspective and exuberance that would be healthy and beneficial for the City Council.
Piccone is former military, enlisting after Sept. 11. He’s now a stay-at-home dad who isn’t polished in his presentation, but has an earnest approach that is refereshing.
We’d like to see Piccone bring his energy and common sense approach to the City Council.