Chelminiak, Balducci and Stokes the picks for Bellevue City Council
Two Bellevue City Councilmembers have earned re-election: John Chelminiak and Claudia Balducci. The Times also endorses John Stokes for an open seat.
THE large number of builders and developers contributing to contests for Bellevue City Council reflect an ongoing battle to wrest control of the city's vision for future development.
Re-election of Councilmembers John Chelminiak and Claudia Balducci ensures consistent and stable leadership as Bellevue charts a smart growth course and continues with the light-rail line linking Bellevue with Seattle, Mercer Island and Redmond.
Connectivity between Seattle and major employment centers on the Eastside — such as the Microsoft campus in Redmond — is good for our region.
Development of the Bel-Red and Eastgate I-90 corridors would offer Bellevue more housing, employment and open space and take density pressure off downtown. But as past tensions and bickering about light rail proved, a unified vision relies on an experienced, knowledgeable council.
John Stokes is endorsed for the Position 1 seat vacated by Councilmember Grant Degginger. A retired attorney, Stokes' impressive civic résumé includes service on the Bellevue PTSA Council, the Bellevue Schools Foundation Board and the city's Parks and Community Services Board. Opponent Aaron Laing is a lawyer with a much smaller civic résumé.
Chelminiak's bid for a third term for Position 3 offers voters stability and an impressive track record balancing downtown development with the needs of Bellevue's neighborhoods. By contrast, opponent Michelle Hilhorst, who works for AT&T, has little experience on citywide issues.
Balducci's combined service on regional panels earns her re-election for Position 5. A council member since 2004, Balducci boasts a strong civic and professional résumé. She is director of the King County Jail, chair of the Puget Sound Regional Council's Transportation Policy Board, a Sound Transit board member and the council's smart voice on regional transportation issues. Balducci is better prepared and connected than her opponent, Patti Mann, a Seattle paramedic and firefighter.
Councilmember Jennifer Robertson is unopposed in her bid for Position 7.