Election letter: West Richland mayor -- Not Merle Johnson

July 24, 2013 

Before I vote in any election, I read candidate statements and seek as much information as I can before submitting my ballot. In West Richland, there is a contested mayor's race, and as a former city councilman, I believe I have an excellent insight on the candidates.

One of the candidates, Merle Johnson, submitted a statement that he had "dedicated the last 14 years of his life to helping children."

Mr. Johnson did not support the purchase of a scoreboard for a Little League field or the hiring of a consultant to develop a park plan for our children. The city council minutes from April 5, 2011 and Nov. 8, 2011 confirms his actions.

Prior to being voted out of office, he voted not to pay the city's bills three times and voted against approving the city's budget for the next year. Finally, Mr. Johnson repeatedly took actions to obstruct economic development in West Richland. I personally heard him say, "If I could, I'd put a sign on the Van Giesen bridge saying, Keep Out!"

No economic development equals higher taxes. Voting against parks and Little Leaguers, paying the bills and obstructing economic development isn't good for West Richland. That doesn't sound like the mayor we need.

MARK S. HANNEMAN, West Richland

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