Our Voice: Pasco Council: Watkins, Yenney and Francik

All three races for the Pasco City Council pit a political newcomer against an experienced incumbent.

All three challengers are smart, impressive candidates who would serve Pasco well if elected.

But we have to make a choice. This time around, in every instance, our nod goes to the veteran council members. Their knowledge of the issues facing the city gives them the advantage.

However, we think Bertha Aranda Glatt, Bertha Alicia Coria and David Milne would make fantastic future leaders. If they don’t win this time, we encourage them to continue their civic interests by getting involved in city commissions and boards.

In that vein, the city council should consider these three when making appointments to various city volunteer positions. Pasco will be better off having them involved.

Watkins v. Glatt

The race for Position 6 on the Pasco City Council poses a tough choice for voters.

Mayor Matt Watkins, who has served a dozen years on the council, is being challenged by beginner Bertha Aranda Glatt.

Glatt, a former social worker, is just the kind of candidate the city needs following the controversial police shooting of Antonio Zambrano-Montes earlier this year. The shooting divided the city and brought race to the forefront of the discussion that followed.

Glatt was born into a Spanish-speaking home in Texas, is bilingual and has spent most of her life in Pasco. Her parents worked in the agriculture industry and taught their children the value of service to their community.

She chose to run for the city council in the aftermath of the shooting. The only problem we see with Glatt is she chose to challenge Watkins for the at-large position. She could have run in her own district, but did not want to go against the only woman on the city council, Rebecca Francik.

This makes it really tough.

Watkins, a software engineer for Lockheed Martin, is a solid leader who brings a level of professionalism to the council. He is a unifying voice and does not shy away from difficult times. He is reasoned and thoughtful and knows the city well.

Pasco can’t afford to lose Watkins’ leadership as it heals and moves forward.

Yenney v. Coria

Bertha Alicia Coria is an exceptionally poised 19-year-old who graduated from Pasco High School in 2014. She is bilingual and a substitute paraeducator for the Pasco School District.

She said she started attending Pasco City Council meetings after the fatal police shooting of Zambrano-Montes in February, and believes the city council could use more diversity and a younger voice.

She is challenging Councilman Al Yenney, who has represented District 1 for eight years.

Coria has been busy attending a variety of leadership workshops and community events, and her youthful commitment to bettering her city is inspiring.

Yenney, however, has been a reliable councilman whose background as a small business owner is an asset. He is not afraid to speak his mind and his down-to-earth manner makes him approachable.

Coria is on the right track, and if she keeps up her involvement her day will come. But until then, our pick is Yenney.

Francik v. Milne

David Milne lives is west Pasco and owns Milne Nail Power Tool & Repair on West Lewis Street. Living at one end of town and running a business at the other end gives him a unique perspective.

As a head coach with Pasco Youth Football, he would like to see improved playing fields for youth teams in the city, primarily at Highland Park, where the facilities are inadequate. He also discussed the difficulty of navigating the Road 68 area and would like to see better planning in the future. His concerns are valid and we are impressed he decided to run for office instead of just complain.

However, Rebecca Francik has 19 years on the council and her institutional knowledge is too valuable to lose. She is a Pasco school librarian who researches issues thoroughly before making decisions. She can list several accomplishments that have been achieved through city policies and appears genuinely excited about Pasco’s future.

We’ve no doubt Milne would be a quick learner if elected, but we would like to see him gain more experience in city affairs and try again.

The Tri-City Herald recommends Matt Watkins, Al Yenney and Rebecca Francik for Pasco City Council.