Jean Layton should be our next at-large council member.
One need go no further than looking at the web sites of Layton and her opponent, Roxanne Murphy.
Layton provides the voters with a clear choice as demonstrated by her lucid, detailed and cohesive commentary and positions taken on various
issues faced by Bellingham citizens. Dozens of links to blog entries by Jean appear on her website, and it contains full texts of commentaries by and/or interviews with the candidate.
For example, Layton offers the following on various issues, however these are by no means an exhaustive list:
Urban Villages: “… the City council went through a long, citizen involved, process to establish the six Urban Villages, back in 2009. Quite frankly, I don’t understand the desire to upzone housing in single family areas when these Urban villages have yet to be created.”
Housing – “I’d like to see a program where unsheltered people build their own tiny homes (with guidance) and then have them sited in neighborhoods similar to [a] program from Portland. Not all who are unsheltered need mental health treatment. Many simply need a safe, lockable place to put their belongings while they work or attempt to find work.”
City Council Roles – “I would bring the voice of a renter to the council. Currently 54% of the City housing is rentals and yet not one of the Council is a renter.”
Wages – “Our minimum wage must increase to at least $15 per hour.”
Candidate Layton also has real world experience with neighborhood issues from her service on the York Neighborhood board of directors and as precinct captain for the local Democratic Party. She also volunteers in several other venues, all of which is mentioned on her web page. And by the way, she rents her home, putting her among the 54% of Bellingham residents who also rent. She will bring that experience to the council.
Although there is much more on Candidate Layton’s website, making comparisons to the incumbent Democrat - with a questionable party endorsement* - are difficult as Roxanne Murphy provides little in the way of proposals for the future, and her record as council member at-large over the past four years is unremarkable if not dismal. For someone who touts her degrees in communications and public administration, Murphy’s website communicates little and provides no substantive presentation of ideas other than “support” for various issues. There are no details, no plans, no discussions. The issues page of her re-election web page consists solely of a list of topics she is “preserving and supporting,” whatever that means since she offers absolutely no clarifications. This is not the stuff of a serious candidate but one of an incumbent who floated to a second term merely due to lack of opposition. Murphy does have a list of about a dozen endorsements. However, as I have said in other venues: endorsements are not positions, endorsements are not ideas, endorsements are not records of accomplishments. Endorsements are primarily lists of groups or individuals to whom one has obligations. Murphy’s Facebook page is equally bereft of any information on which to judge her candidacy. Dreary.
I’ll say it again. Vote Layton.
*As NWCitizen commenter Steve M. James added in a comment to Ralph Schwartz’s earlier article on the primary election, “Let’s remember that Murphy got the Democratic endorsement through a slight of hand at the endorsement meeting. An email went out prior to the meeting that among other things said the in races where there are two Democrats running, there would be no endorsement vote. Then, at the meeting, on a motion from the floor, that position was changed by vote of those present and a vote was held to endorse. So, how many Layton supporters did not come to the meeting believing there would be no endorsement vote for that position. And, not every Democrat is pleased with all her action as Council Person. She has made statements regarding ADU’s and rental regulations that I find troubling.