Pasco city councilmen retain seats

Geoff Folsom, Tri-City HeraldNovember 5, 2013 

Two Pasco City Councilmen appeared to be easily retaining their seats in Tuesday's election.

Mike Garrison, an incumbent for 26 years, was in position to serve at least four more. He had 2,441 votes, or 64 percent, to lead challenger Aaron Beasley, a Pasco firefighter and former Pasco school board member. Beasley had 1,384 votes, or 36 percent.

Tom Larsen, who has been on the council for 12 years, was leading Stu Nelson, a member of the Franklin Public Utility District's board in the at-large position 7 race. Larsen had 2,286 votes, or 62 percent, while Nelson had 1,424 votes, 38 percent.

Garrison, a former mayor, campaigned on the city's past success during his time on the council. He said the city has grown 68 percent in the last decade, while lowering property taxes and having the lowest crime rate in the Tri-Cities.

"We ran a race where we stuck to the truth and stuff needed to run the council," Garrison said Tuesday night. "I think this will help us proceed with the things we need to do."

Beasley criticized the council for closing city pools at Kurtzman and Richardson parks. He said the city should work on building public-private partnerships for projects.

Tuesday night, Beasley said he was not giving up.

"We can't quit yet," he told the Herald. "I'm just waiting to see what's gonna happen."

Larsen is known for his opposition to projects that are popular with other council members, such as building a new Lewis Street overpass over the BNSF railroad tracks downtown. He could not be reached Tuesday.

Nelson tried unsuccessfully at one point to remove his name from the ballot, did not campaign or raise money during the race, and would not say whether he would serve if elected. PUD rules prevented him from serving on the board and the council at the same time.

The PUD pays more than the $12,000-a-year city council members receive.

Nelson defeated Larsen when the councilman challenged him for his PUD seat in 2012.

Councilmen Bob Hoffmann and Saul Martinez ran unopposed in their bids for four more years on the city council.

-- Geoff Folsom: 509-582-1543; gfolsom@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @GeoffFolsom

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