Union-Bulletin to endorse in Walla Walla council races, state initiatives

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This year’s ballot won’t be crowded but it is important. Voters will have the opportunity to elect people to serve on a number of local city councils, school boards, fire districts as well as other posts.

Over the next week the Union-Bulletin will be running its endorsements for the Walla Walla City Council races and two statewide ballot issues on the Nov. 5 ballot.

Voters are fortunate to have strong choices in the three races. Council member Jim Barrow, who is now serving as mayor, has been challenged by Paul Mobley. Council member Conrado V. Cavazos Jr. faces a challenge from Allen Pomraning. And in a race in which someone new will be elected, Richard “Dick” Morgan and Robert (Rob) Smith square off.

What was the only race for a seat on the Walla Walla School Board will essentially be won by forfeit. Joshua Gonzales, who came in second in the August primary election, decided last week to withdraw his candidacy for a variety of reasons, including a new job.

As a result, Sam Wells will win the office. The candidates’ names will still be on the ballot since they were printed before Gonzales made his decision.

Wells will be a solid addition to the School Board. He has taken a run for the post seriously over the past years, attending most of the School Board meetings. He has made an effort to prepare himself.

Wells, who is a financial adviser, seems to be pragmatic in his approach and he isn’t afraid to take a contrary position if he believes it’s the correct position.

Also on the ballot are two state initiatives, I-517, dealing with collecting signatures for initiatives, and I-522, which focuses on food labeling for genetically modified foods. We will offer our recommendations.

However, we will not address the five advisory votes. These nonbinding votes on legislation already approved and the outcome changes nothing. These are only on the ballot because Tim Eyman’s Initiative 960 was approved. It calls for all increases in taxes and fees, which were already approved by a two-thirds or more vote of the House and Senate, go to an advisory vote. .

We make recommendations to voters as a way to provide another entry point for discussions and debates about each issue and each race. It is our hope these recommendations, based in part by our interviews with the candidates, will stimulate interest in the campaigns.

The opinions expressed in the U-B’s recommendations are those of its Editorial Board, consisting of Publisher Rob Blethen, Editorial Page Editor Rick Eskil, Editor Rick Doyle and Deirdre Bealey, human resources manager.

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