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Last published at August 7, 2009 at 12:42 PM

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The Times recommends: Holland, Albro for Port of Seattle commissioner

The Seattle Times supports Rob Holland and Tom Albro for Port of Seattle commissioner.

Vote | Port of Seattle, Position 3

FOR the two open seats on the Port of Seattle Commission, The Times endorses Rob Holland and Tom Albro.

A union-backed group at PortReform.org is running a slate this year, arguing that the Port is in urgent need of reform. We think the reform is already under way. The Port has a new CEO, Tay Yoshitani, four of the five current commissioners are fairly new, and the long-serving commissioner, Patricia Davis, is retiring.

The task this year is to choose commissioners who will set broad policy for the Port in a world of competitive threats, keeping Sea-Tac airport and the working waterfront healthy. A diversity of background is useful in a five-member group, but also agreement on the Port's mission.

For Position 3, our choice is Holland, who is labor-backed but not representing exclusively a labor interest. Holland lives in Seattle and is a great-nephew of former Seattle City Councilman Sam Smith. He works at Seaport Energy in the fleet-fuel business, and knows the Port as a customer. Holland stresses that the Port's mission is "to support trade, and maritime and industrial jobs" and says he would work to keep Seattle competitive.

His principal opponent, David Doud, is a Bellevue real-estate broker whose signature idea is higher rates of return on Port land. Holland's view is more suited to a public enterprise.

For Position 4, our choice is the business-backed candidate, Albro. He is an entrepreneur who runs the company that operates the Seattle Monorail. He has also been a civic volunteer, serving as chairman of the Municipal League from 2000 to 2002. Like Holland, he is for preserving industrial and maritime land uses.

So is his opponent, Max Vekich, who was once a Democratic representative in Olympia. Vekich was a solid labor vote, and is now a member of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. Vekich knows the waterfront, but his close identification with organized labor makes him a risk for this post.

The Port Commission needs people who are smart, who will do the work, and who have a broad view of the public's interest and how the Port fits into it. We endorse Rob Holland and Tom Albro.

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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