Originally published Monday, October 17, 2011 at 3:46 PM

Re-elect Bill Bryant and Gael Tarleton to Port of Seattle commission

The Seattle Times editorial board supports incumbent Port of Seattle commissioners Bill Bryant and Gael Tarleton for re-election.

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BILL Bryant and Gael Tarleton were elected as Port of Seattle commissioners four years ago to fix problems revealed by a state audit. Each has fully earned re-election and faces only token opposition.

Bryant's opponent, Dean Willard, is campaigning to make a group of independent truck drivers into employees so the Teamsters can organize them. They would not be the Port's employees and their status is really not the Port's business.

Bryant, who runs a company that helps fruit growers and others in matters of international trade, is focusing on a more central issue to the Port: the widening of the Panama Canal. He fears it will lure Asian cargo to Gulf Coast ports, leaving Seattle and Tacoma with less cargo.

To counter that, Bryant has been working with the Port of Tacoma and local governments to improve truck routes, road bottlenecks, rail crossings, etc., so that containers may be moved to Chicago more quickly. By doing this, he argues, Puget Sound ports can maintain their edge.

Tarleton is an adviser on cybersecurity to the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Her opponent, Richard Pope, is the perpetual candidate of the Puget Sound region: He files for many offices and wins none of them.

Tarleton's big issue is to keep Seattle as a sustainable industrial port by providing land for shipping, fishing and aerospace work. "We have tenants here that have been generating jobs for a hundred years," she says. Port investments, she says, should be judged on how well they keep jobs here over the long term.

Bryant and Tarleton think long term. Both insist on protecting the environment and jobs. Both also have a proper sense of what a commissioner's job is and is not, what the executive should be doing and what matters need to be disclosed to the public.

The Times supports Bryant and Tarleton for re-election.


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