Kennewick City Council Pos. 2 incumbent challenged by Hanford patrol K-9 officer

Tri-City HeraldOctober 23, 2013 

— One of the six candidates Greg Jones competed against when he was appointed to Kennewick City Council earlier this year is challenging him again — this time in the Nov. 5 general election.

Ed Pacheco, a master K-9 handler with Hanford Patrol, is hoping to serve the community in another form as the councilman for Position 2, Ward 2 — the central part of Kennewick.

Jones, who was appointed in a unanimous vote in March, is hoping to add a full four-year term to the eight months he’s served on the council.

Those months have given Jones, 48, the chance to see how his background in finance, business and human resources will help him serve as a councilman, he said. He’s the Department of Energy’s Richland Operation Office assistant manager of business and financial operations and the Hanford site chief financial officer.

While Pacheco, 52, wasn’t chosen for the council seat in March, he was appointed to the Kennewick Planning Commission to fill the position Jones vacated with his appointment to council.

Pacheco, who also has served as a Kennewick police reserve officer, became interested in the city council after being asked to serve on a commission that’s been examining a criminal justice sales tax proposal for Benton County, he said. He expressed concern about gang activity and a desire to further public safety.

A criminal justice sales tax could help Kennewick fund the city’s growing law enforcement needs if voters choose to pass it, Pacheco said. A proposal may be suggested sometime next year.

Jones said the council will need to make choices on what to fund. It’s vital to find ways to pay for more fire stations, equipment, firefighters and police as the city grows.

Public safety, along with quality of life and economic development, are among what Jones describes as his priorities. He offers a “common sense perspective” with an ability to listen to differing views and to represent all of the city, he said.

Jones, who has volunteered with the Red Cross and coached youth basketball and golf, wants to work on furthering the city’s relationship with its partners such as the Port of Kennewick, he said.

He wants to help promote industrial, high-wage jobs to help the Tri-Cities reduce its dependence on Hanford in the long term, he said. Southridge, Vista Field Airport redevelopment and the city’s efforts to include land south of Interstate 82 and west of Highway 395 in the city’s urban growth area are key elements to that.

The proposed urban growth area expansion could attract manufacturing and industrial businesses, which would also help with the demand for housing and service industries, Jones said.

Pacheco, who has coached youth soccer, made the motion for the planning commission to recommend approval for Kennewick’s urban growth area expansion request, he said. That’s where the city needs to grow in order to attract industries here.

“I think you either grow or die,” he said.

Pacheco also thinks the city needs to focus on strengthening downtown Kennewick. Pacheco has a few ideas, such as a free Wi-Fi zone in downtown, Columbia Drive and Clover Island to help draw visitors to the area and to local businesses.

Kennewick should also consider a train from downtown to the Hanford site, since that could attract tourists once the gates open at Hanford, he said.

Pacheco counts among his strengths the ability to communicate, engage people and when it comes down to it, resolve problems and make hard decisions, he said.

Kennewick council members are paid about $12,000 a year.

-- Kristi Pihl: 582-1512; kpihl@tricityherald.com

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