Mayor Thompson v. Slovic and Anderson v. Regev: Time for a change on Richland council? | Editorial

Richland Mayor Bob Thompson has been a powerful force on the city council for 25 years.

Challenger Randy Slovic is a worthy opponent who says it’s time for a change in Richland leadership. After much discussion, we decided we agree with Slovic.

She gets our nod for Position 1 on the Richland City Council.

Thompson has done an admirable job protecting citizen’s interests and guiding the city since he first joined the council in 1994. Richland’s booming growth happened under his watch.

Whatever progress the city has made in the last couple of decades, Thompson was part of it.

After so many years, Thompson is adept at figuring out city finances. As an example of his expertise, he said he helped Richland citizens save some $202 million in electric rates because he and fellow city council members made a good decision on a BPA contract in 2001.

On Hanford-related issues, he has been an outspoken advocate for the city on a state and national level. An accomplished litigator, Thompson doesn’t back down when fighting for Richland’s long-term economic interests and the safety of its citizens.

His blunt, outspoken nature, however, can be intimidating to average citizens.

And Slovic, while no push-over, would be an approachable elected official we think could bring a necessary new attitude to the city council.

She wants city council members to share office hours so people can visit and express concerns. Slovic wants to set up Walking Town Halls around the city so more people can participate in city government.

In short, she wants to bring more people to the table.

We like her goals, and if anyone has a chance creating a more inviting atmosphere at city council meetings, it’s Slovic.

She was a legislative assistant in both the U.S. House and Senate, and could handle advocating for Richland issues on a national level. She knows about transportation funding, rural development and natural resources.

On a local level, her priorities include safer biking and pedestrian infrastructure, more transparency online so citizens can see more clearly what’s on the city council agenda, more diversity on boards and commissions and better fiscal management.

Thompson has Richland’s best interests at heart, but the average citizen wouldn’t know it.

Slovic wants the city council to get buy-in from the public. She wants people to feel connected to their elected leaders. And her experience with national politics makes her capable of filling Thompson’s shoes.

We thank Thompson for his long, devoted service to Richland, but we think it is time for someone new.

The Tri-City Herald recommends Randy Slovic for Richland City Council.

Anderson vs. Regev

The contest between Richland City Councilman Brad Anderson and challenger Shir Regev for Position 2 is a tough one.

Much of our discussion centered on Regev’s goal to change how Richland runs city council elections. Currently, all seats are at-large, which means anyone from any part of the city can run for any seat.

Regev notes that the majority of current city council members all live in Meadow Springs or Hills West, and she believes other neighborhoods should be represented too.

Dividing the city council up by both districts and at-large positions is the answer, she believes.

Regev admits that if elected, her districting plan could make her a one-term city council member — and she is fine with that.

We think her plan has merit, and Anderson does as well — which is refreshing.

It is a welcome perspective from an elected official. The way Anderson talks, his concern for Richland citizens appears to outweigh concern for himself.

Anderson was elected to the city council in 2011 and ran unopposed the last time his term was up. He said he’s glad he has an opponent this time because he believes voters should have choice.

We think Anderson’s leadership skills are still developing, and we’d like to see more of it at the meetings.

In our meeting with him, he was a straight-shooting, broad-thinking candidate who tended to agree with a number of Regev’s ideas.

He is focused on long-term goals for the city, while Regev is more concerned with changes that need to be made now.

Since Anderson seems amenable to Regev’s short-term ideas, we think he could mesh both far-reaching and immediate concerns if re-elected.

He said he supports Regev’s districting plan, and we would like to hold him to that.

Regev said she decided to run against Anderson because he “threw down the gauntlet” and invited a challenger. So she obliged.

She is an excellent candidate, but we recommend voters send Anderson back for another term and another chance to get things done.

The Tri-City Herald recommends Brad Anderson for Richland City Council.


Behind Our Election Recommendations

Who decides the recommendations?

Members of The Tri-City Herald editorial board interview political candidates, as well as advocates and opponents of ballot measures. The editorial board is comprised of experienced opinion journalists and community members, and is separate from The Herald’s newsroom. Conversations are on the record.

What does the recommendation process entail?

Whenever possible, The Herald editorial board meets with opposing candidates at the same time. The questions are largely focused on a candidate’s qualifications and goals, and the hour-long session resembles a conversation more than a scripted interview. The editorial board then discuss the candidates in each race and decides who to recommend. In the case of ballot measures, we strive to have representatives from both sides of the issue in the room at the same time so we can get past the political rhetoric and obtain firm answers. Board members seek to reach a consensus on our recommendations, but not every decision is unanimous.

Is the editorial board partisan?

No. In making recommendations, members of the editorial board consider which candidates are well prepared to represent their constituents — not whether they agree with us or belong to a particular political party. We evaluate candidates’ relevant experience, their readiness for office, their depth of knowledge of key issues, their understanding of public policy and their ability to work with the current board . We’re seeking candidates who are thoughtful and who offer more than just party-line talking points. The editorial board will endorse both Republicans and Democrats.

Why are the editorials unsigned?

Our election recommendations reflect the collective views of The Herald’s editorial board — not just the opinion of one writer. Board members all discuss and contribute ideas to each editorial.

Related stories from Tri-City Herald