By the Herald editorial staff
The two races for Pasco City Council pit strong challengers against incumbents.
The city has seen tremendous progress in recent years and managed its incredible growth spurt with remarkably few growing pains.
Our recommendations in this year's council races go to the candidates best poised to keep Pasco on track. In one case that means a change, in the other the best bet is continuity.
Garrison vs. Greenaway
Pasco has evolved a lot in the past 20 years, from a slow-paced city that was once plagued with crime to an area of explosive growth and twice as many people.
City Councilman Mike Garrison has been in office for most of that evolution, with nearly 22 years on the council.
He's been there for the big decisions and to provide direction as the city expanded and developed a large retail base along Road 68.
He's been there as the crime rate dropped and certain areas of the city once again became safe for shoppers and residents.
Those are solid reasons Garrison should remain in office. He has a proven track record of looking out for the city's best interests and has helped guide it through tough times.
His challenger for the District 2 position, Alecia Greenaway, has some appealing qualities.
Garrison can come across as gruff and disinterested. Greenaway is bursting with enthusiasm and a fresh perspective. She comes across as highly organized and sincerely interested in the fate of her city.
Both candidates see growth as the biggest issue Pasco faces, and most voters are likely to agree. Any former resident visiting for the first time in a while would be shocked to see the changes at Road 68, Road 100 and Argent -- especially the new Chiawana High School.
It's a different Pasco. Garrison had a hand in making it better, and we believe the experience and historical knowledge he brings to the council will help Pasco continue its progression.
Now if we could just get him to smile every once in awhile.
Larsen vs. Samuel
Todd Samuel would be a formidable candidate in any city council race. He's a graduate of Leadership Tri-Cities, has served on several community organizations' boards of directors, and he's head of the Pasco Planning Commission.
Against Pasco City Councilman Tom Larsen -- who refuses to appear at any public candidate forums or respond to requests for interviews -- Samuel ought to be a shoo-in.
Larsen's reluctance to make a case for re-election strikes us as the wrong attitude for a public servant. Even if he doesn't take voters for granted, his behavior sends that message.
Samuel has the right attitude. He wants to hear reasoned arguments and make informed decisions, putting the best interest of the residents of Pasco at the forefront.
His management experience at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory ought to prove useful in city government.
As head of the planning commission, Samuel is intimately involved in key decisions affecting Pasco's tremendous growth. Since the commission's role is to make recommendations to the city council, he has a working knowledge of city government.
Larsen could take a lesson from Samuel. The incumbent's time on the council has largely been spent being divisive and disruptive. In short, regardless of the merit of his positions, he has not proved to be an effective leader.
Voters in Pasco would be much better served by Samuel.
The Herald recommends Mike Garrison and Todd Samuel for Pasco City Council.