KENNEWICK COUNCIL, POS. 1: Voters have several choices in Kennewick council race

With three decades of city hall experience, Marge Price sees herself as the best qualified to return to the Kennewick City Council.

But she'll have to overcome challengers in the Aug. 18 primary election. The top two vote getters for Ward 1 will advance to the Nov. 3 general election. Voters must cast their mail-in ballots for the primary by Aug. 18.

Don Britain and John Parker are making their first try for council, while Betty Klundt is making a repeat run at the office she held from 1986-89.

All four candidates are running low-budget campaigns, but Britain and Parker are putting more energy into it by walking neighborhoods and handing out fliers.

Marge Price

Price, who was city clerk for 22 years, is seeking a fourth term for position one, but it is the first time she's had to run in a primary with more than one opponent.

A professional registered parliamentarian, Price is an expert on how to conduct public meetings. She is running on her record of service, noting that her legacy has been showing councils how to conduct the public's business.

"Why not run again? I love this city," Price said.

"And I have the time to serve," she added.

Price said she spends several hours each week serving the community, where she participates in nine community committees and attends to various city council duties.

"I think the city is doing well," said Price, who rarely votes in the minority and stands by the council's recent actions that have created some controversy.

Price said the Vista Field Airport should be converted to better use, that the carousel should be somewhere other than Columbia Park, and that pushing for development of the Southridge area is the right thing to do even if it means $24 million in city-issued bonded debt to do it.

"Our greatest challenge is to live within the budget," Price said.

Price went with the council on the Columbia Park Golf Course lawsuit, noting that an appeal may yet reverse the $3 million jury award against the city. But testifying in that case was the toughest thing she did as a council member this year, she said.

Betty Klundt

Challenger Klundt disagrees with nearly everything Price says.

"I'm upset over the way the city spends our money. Why close the airport when it brings in a million dollars? And we need to stop spending money on the carousel," Klundt said, referring to the city's $860,000 invested so far on the 1910 Charles Carmel carousel.

Klundt says she's running again to get the public interested in what the city council has been doing.

Two of Klundt's hot-button topics are the $3 million jury award against the city on the golf course lawsuit and a recent council decision to build a large parking barn as a temporary storage facility for the carousel.

"How can we have a hiring freeze and then spend all this money?" she asked.

"We need people in there who will ask questions, and not just say yes-yes-yes," she said.

Klundt doesn't plan to campaign and doesn't expect to unseat Price.

"I'm not saying I'm better than any other candidate. I'm just glad we have so many people who've filed," Klundt said.

Don Britain

Britain is a lifelong resident of Kennewick and is a case manager for the state Department of Social and Health Services. He's sought positions on the Kennewick School District Board of Directors, the city's Kennewick Improvement Board and the Kennewick Irrigation District.

"I consider myself the average citizen who is concerned about his community," Britain said.

His main focus is how much and how fast the city is spending money.

The $3 million golf course jury award, the $860,000 investment in the antique carousel, and going ahead with city-issued bonds debt to develop Southridge trouble him, Britain said.

The carousel should not be placed in the Vista Entertainment District near the convention center, he said, and he doesn't see why the city should "be twisting the port's arm to close it.

Britain said he understands government bureaucracy by being inside it, and he has learned "to work and disagree without a lot of negativity."

Britain's biggest gripe about the council: "They've been there too long and don't question each other."

His website, www.britain4 council.com, gives added personal information and perspective on issues.

John Parker

Parker's interest in city hall goes back to when the council allowed Waste Management to renegotiate a new contract that raised rates while granting free dump days.

Great deal for some people, but not for senior citizens who don't make dump runs, he said.

A retired IRS analyst, Parker likes to keep close watch on the money going out of city hall. The jury award on the golf course lawsuit irked him.

"Where's that $3 million going to come from?" he asked.

The council should be thrifty, he said, noting that growth should not be tied to "suspected sales tax revenue increases."

As for the Vista Field Airport: "It is way under-utilized," he said.

And the council push for Southridge area development that needs $24 million in bonds to jump start a $73 million wish list?

"I want to know who the potential partnerships are? That's $50 million over the next five years," he said.

Parker, who has lived in Kennewick since 1982, said he will be his own man, owing no favors to anyone.

He's walking neighborhoods, distributing fliers and putting out signs, all on his own dime.

"I've got the passion and I want people to see me as a little different. It's time for change," he said.