Our Voice: Kennewick City Council -- Hubbard and Jones

October 23, 2013 

Hubbard vs. Parks

We have a battle of the conservative incumbents running for the sole at-large seat on the Kennewick City Council.

Bob Parks and John Hubbard currently are on the council. Hubbard is moving from his east Kennewick home to another house, forcing him to run for the at-large seat if he wants to remain on the council.

Parks has been on the council for 12 years and had decided to retire. That is, until Hubbard filed for his seat. Parks jumped back in the game and the contentious race was on.

Parks, a nuclear operator at Hanford, has been controversial in his years on the council, most notably for his stance on illegal immigrants. Kennewick has a large Latino population, and Parks has tried to bring the federal issue of immigration reform to the council without success. He also has been in favor of an English-only policy for the city.

Hubbard, who is a retired Hanford engineer, was voted into office in 2009 in a wave of change, during which voters showed their displeasure with the existing council and elected three new members who promised change. Controversies at the time involved the carousel project, Vista Field and a significant budget shortfall for the city.

Hubbard is a proponent of expanding services like sewer system connections to parts of the city that use septic tanks. He believes it's the city's role to serve its residents with appropriate infrastructure. Parks is not a proponent of the idea.

The candidates have different ideas when it comes to the format used to elect city council members. Kennewick uses a ward system which allows voters in the primary to vote only for candidates who come from the ward where they live. In the general election, city residents can vote on all council races.

Hubbard believes representation from the various regions of the city is important; Parks has supported an unsuccessful vote to abolish the ward system and open the races to any city resident.

Parks is proud that he is comfortable being the sole "no" vote on issues on the council at times. He says he speaks his mind and is not afraid to take a stand most of the time. While we applaud the courage to break out from the pack, we often don't agree with his ultra-conservative ideas.

Hubbard sees more value in relationship building. With that kind of attitude, we think he's the best candidate for the job.

Pacheco vs. Jones

In the race in Ward 2, Ed Pacheco is taking on Greg Jones. Jones was appointed to the council in March.

Pacheco, an explosives detection officer at Hanford, and Jones, the chief financial officer at the Hanford site for the Department of Energy, offer very different approaches to the council.

Jones has a wealth of business experience, while Pacheco is more a voice of the people. Both have a passion for the city and a desire to see economic growth.

Pacheco, with 30 years in law enforcement, sees his top priority as public safety. He wants to make sure gangs do not take over the city, and wants to find further support for the police department to increase staffing.

Both men have served on the planning commission and have a good knowledge of the workings of the city and its government. Pacheco is open to more imaginative ideas for growth and new enterprises, where Jones appears to be more mainstream.

Both candidates favor the proposed sales tax increase for expansion of the convention center, and they both see the need to take a careful look at the possibilities for Vista Field's redevelopment. Jones is for the city's ward election system, while Pacheco said any push to change to an all at-large council ought to come from the people.

Pacheco is another candidate who is not afraid to speak his mind. He thinks that may have cost him the appointment to the council when he and Jones were both up for an appointment to an open seat earlier this year. Jones errs on the side of diplomacy.

Both men bring a lot to the city and would give its residents the attention they deserve. We think Jones' 25 years of experience as a business leader makes him the better candidate for the job.

The Herald editorial board recommends John Hubbard and Greg Jones for Kennewick City Council.

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