The husband of a Pasco woman who sued the city to change its electoral process will try to unseat a 21-year City Council incumbent.
Russell E. Glatt is one of four challengers in District 5 running against Councilwoman Rebecca Francik.
His wife, Bertha Aranda Glatt, did not file to run this election season. She unsuccessfully challenged Mayor Matt Watkins in 2015, and later was represented by the American Civil Liberties of Washington in her federal lawsuit that claimed Pasco’s system violated Section 2 of the federal Voting Rights Act by diluting Latino votes.
“Bertha really felt like the objectives of her campaign had been met, and she’s really satisfied that so many candidates have come forward, especially Hispanic candidates,” Russell Glatt said. “So at this time she’s letting me have the opportunity to come forward.”
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The race is for a two-year term.
Francik, a librarian and teacher at Rowena Chess Elementary School, was first appointed to the Pasco City Council in 1996 to replace a member who moved out of the district. She is the council’s mayor pro tem.
Her opponents for the primary election will be Joan Larsen — the wife of sitting Councilman Tom Larsen — and David Milne, Mark “Doc” MacFarlan and Glatt.
The district covers a large section of west Pasco, west of Highway 395 and south of Interstate 182 to the Columbia River, in addition to the area west of Broadmoor Boulevard.
Milne, owner of Milne Nail Power Tool & Repair on West Lewis Street, challenged Francik in 2015. He has been a regular fixture at weekly council meetings for the past two years.
Milne could not be reached Friday, but previously told the Herald he’s concerned that while the city keeps building more houses, it doesn’t seem to be able to attract new businesses, particularly to the downtown core.
A father of four in a blended family, Milne is active with Boy Scouts, Rotary and Pasco Youth Football. He’s said a fresh voice is needed to help lead the city and he has the energy to move Pasco forward.
Glatt is a social service specialist involved with the state Department of Social and Health Services’s WorkFirst program in Kennewick. He had been on the Pasco Code Enforcement board for three years — 2 1/2 of that as the co-chair — until he recently resigned.
Glatt has learned a lot about how the city operates, and feels he’s been called to run for a council position, he said.
“The current City Council, in my opinion, has been dysfunctional. There’s at least one member that doesn’t vote at times and a couple others are more concerned about bringing issues like Arlene's Flowers — that was not an issue that should have been brought up,” he said.
Pasco has seen a lot of growth over the past two decades, and he is concerned about where it goes from here, he said. Though he lives in District 5, he believes all areas of the city should be striving towards moving ahead for the future.
Glatt thinks the leadership has been deficient when it comes to revitalizing downtown Pasco, and wants the focus on supporting businesses and getting people to return to the downtown core for shopping.
He also wants to see the riverfront developed near the cable bridge, along with the Port of Pasco’s Osprey Pointe.
“When somebody asks you where you live, I want people to say with pride, ‘I live in Pasco,’ ” he said.
MacFarlan is a longtime family physician with a Kennewick practice. He is semi-retired and has more time now to roll up his sleeves and get involved in his community, he said.
“I think that the city councilmen that have been there probably have been there long enough,” he said. “My hope is to be a fresh set of eyes and hopefully a set of ears to still listen to the people that you serve.”
This will be the first time MacFarlan gets to vote for City Council since his home was annexed into Pasco, he said. He loves where he lives, but is a little disappointed with the way the district boundaries were redrawn.
“I think there are issues of growth and growth management that haven’t been optimal. It’s more reactive than planning, in my personal opinion,” he said.
His wife, Cynthia MacFarlan, is the founder of Therapeutic Riding of Tri-Cities, or TROT, a nonprofit that connects children and adults with disabilities to a horse or dog as a therapy strategy. They have a daughter who is about to turn 18 and head off to college.
District 1: A second person filed for the seat left open by outgoing Councilman Tom Larsen. Marla Rico is competing against Blanche Barajas for the seat.
Rico was not available for comment.
District 2: Consejo Latino-backed candidate Ruben Alvarado wants to motivate the east Pasco community to become involved in challenging incumbent Al Yenney. Alvarado is part of a slate of candidates Consejo Latino is supporting during the election.
A planning commission member, Alvarado said some friends began looking at the turnout from east Pasco during previous elections, and it appeared that the community was disengaged from the process.
“I just see the future of the east side is very bright, and that prompted me to want to run,” he said. “We want to change people’s perspective of what east Pasco is.”
Alvarado, 33, works for Tierra Vida, helping to organize people.
District 4: It’s now a six-person race for the seat presently held by appointed Councilman Chi Flores.
Abel Campos, Dan Hatch and Trevor Sall joined Flores, Roberto Garcia and Pete Serrano in the hunt for the seat.
Hatch and Campos could not be reached.
Sall, 45, a radiological control technician at Hanford, is making his first attempt to run for public office, because he wants to improve what is available for residents.
“I’m just tired of being the guy who’s complaining,” he said.
He wants to figure out ways to attract more commercial businesses to Pasco, and increase the amount of available housing. He is still studying how he would accomplish that.
Position 3: Incumbent Steve Christensen drew three challengers in his first bid for reelection — Brian Griffith, Lisabeth Jimenez and Debi Maxwell.
Jimenez could not be reached.
Griffith, a 36, an assistant vice president of marketing with Gesa Credit Union, said his job affords him the chance to see programs at the school district grow and flourish.
“I come from a family of educators,” he said. “My father was a college English professor and my mother was an English instructor at the college level. Education is important. I would like to throw my hat in the ring and get involved.”
After the failure of a $69.5 million bond in February, Griffith wants to work with the teachers, parents and residents to develop a bond that is attractive to voters.
Debi Maxwell, 46, a mother of two, wants the district to become a place where the board helps students and teachers to succeed.
“I would like to find more opportunities to say ‘yes’ to our teachers and students,” she said.
In particular, she heard of students being denied a chance to pursue programs because of where they live.
“We just really believe in Pasco schools,” she said. “We’ve seen what Pasco is capable of and we want to support Michelle Whitney and the direction the district is heading in.”
Position 5: Two people are challenging Amy Phillips for her spot on the Pasco School Board — Jeff Peterson and Marlando Sparks Sr.
Sparks was not available to talk.
Peterson, 40, is a father of five, including three special needs students, and he wants more focus helping children on the fringes.
“If you have the right focus (on a special needs student) they can do just as good as a mainstream student,” he said.
The district needs the right balance of good facilities and quality teachers, he said.
He is a project manager in the health and safety field at Hanford and moved to the area 10 years ago.
Position 4: The race for the seat that Councilman Bob Parks is leaving continues to attract more contenders.
Austin Griffin,22, a Starbucks employee, became the sixth person to seek a seat on the Kennewick council. He wants to make sure the city can continue to expand.
“Kennewick is already one of the greatest cities in Washington,” he said. “I just want to help the city grow. The sky is the limit.”
Position 1: Incumbent Don Britain drew a challenger on the last day of filing. Lindy Verhei, a Kennewick native, submitted her application for his seat.
Verhei wasn’t available for comment.
Position 1: Mayor Bob Thompson submitted his application to run for re-election. Rhoda Williams, Kalen Finn and Jess Monterey are running against him.
Position 3: After a week where it seemed incumbent Councilwoman Sandra Kent would escape without a challenger, two people added their names to the race.
One, Lloyd Becker, was not available for comment.
The other, Shir Regev, 43, is looking to make the city council more accepting and open, she said.
She attended two council meetings, including one where the group Love, not Hate Tri-Cities proposed declaring Richland an inclusive city.
She felt the council’s response was dismissive.
“I felt like I could complain or be part of the solution,” she said. “At some point you have to do something, and it seems like asking hasn’t been working.”
Position 4: The seat being vacated by David Rose drew two new challengers, bringing the total to four. Harold Anderson and Ryan Lukson joined Michael Luzzo and Ginger Wireman in the race.
Anderson could not be reached for comment.
Lukson, 35, a civil deputy with the Benton County Prosecutor’s Office, is looking to improve the community by improving communication between governments.
His experience in Benton County gives him insight into the workings of government, he said.
“One area I see improvement in is building on our existing partnerships between the cities and counties to achieve the greater good for the community as a whole,” he said. “Too many times as local governments we let budget constraints, personalities, and individual politics get in the way of achieving things that are for the betterment of the community as a whole.”
Position 7: Two more people joined the race for incumbent Dori Luzzo Gilmour’s seat — Frank Boasen and Michael Alvarez.
Neither Alvarez nore Boasen was available for comment.
Position 2: Two-time State Superintendent of Public Instruction and two-time Richland School Board candidate Ron Higgins is challenging Board President Rick Jansons.
Higgins, 70, is looking for a change in education at the district. He said graduation rated and test scores are high at the district, but he would like to see the writings of historical figures taught, as well as the importance of the free market system.
“There are a lot of things that we are doing right, but the buck has to stop with the school board,” he said. “You’re going to have to push back sometimes.”
Mayor: Former Mayor Jerry Peltier is seeking his old job back from incumbent Mayor Brent Gerry.
Peltier held the position from 1993 to 2005. In the period, he saw the city grow from 4,000 people to roughly three times that. Since leaving city government, he has seen decisions that he says puts the city at financial fisk.
“I think I can help turn them around. I’ve been called by several people wanting me to run,” he said.
He pointed to a project to build new city hall on a new lot as one of those poor decisions.
“I never floated any municipal bonds. They floated some city bonds,” he said. “There’s nothing I can do about the damage that has been done, but I can help with getting the finances under control.”
Position 1: Robert Perkes and William White filed to challenge incumbent John Smart.
Position 2: Merle Johnson is seeking to unseat Rich Buel.
Position 3: Michelle Marcum filed to challenge incumbent Gail Brown.