Originally published July 29, 2011 at 3:15 PM | Page modified July 29, 2011 at 5:16 PM

The Times recommends Godden or Classen, Clark or Ferguson in Seattle Council primary

THE Seattle City Council is no place these days for the politically weak or infirm. This council must work more cohesively than most councils...

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THE Seattle City Council is no place these days for the politically weak or infirm. This council must work more cohesively than most councils and toil extra hard to keep government on an even keel. Citizens elected a renegade mayor so council members often have to represent the city on the regional stage.

In measuring council candidates, with Mayor Mike McGinn in office two more years, voters need a winning combination of experience and fresh ideas. That leads us to a dual endorsement for Council Position 1. We recommend two-term incumbent Jean Godden and bright, new challenger Maurice Classen, a senior deputy prosecutor and small-business owner with much potential.

Godden is the sensible, experienced centrist who keeps cool when the mayor is waving his arms and doing his activist routine on things like street safety and the downtown tunnel. Both Godden and Classen support the tunnel.

Godden has served as budget chair, capably, with the help of staff, cognizant of budget limitations, and in an open manner. As such, she cannot claim much easily identifiable legislation. But the budget process has gone smoothly, with the council staying reasonably ahead of the next round of cuts. In recent years, the city trimmed millions of dollars without too much rancor, save for parking-meter rates and cuts to community-center hours.

Classen has been thinking about getting into city politics a long time. He has studied the issues and seems ready to deliver on job creation and public safety.

For City Council Position 9, Sally Clark and Dian Ferguson should advance to the general election. The incumbent, Clark, has the skills to make things work at City Hall. She is pro-tunnel. As chairwoman of the land-use committee, she recently ushered through new street-cart rules by working with varied interests. Restaurant owners remain worried about competition from street carts, which pay considerably less in overhead, but Clark is willing to tweak her plan if necessary. A safer and livelier streetscape is worth the effort.

Clark led council review on expansion of Seattle Children's hospital but came under fire for a tedious process that went on for too long.

"Sally is a follower and she's wishy-washy," said opponent Ferguson.

Voters should be aware of a residency footnote. Ferguson lived in Seattle for decades, moved to Tukwila for five years and back to the city shortly before filing for office. Ferguson is an intelligent, well-spoken individual who led SCAN TV for two years before it closed. She has worked in Seattle and knows the community.


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