Who will take the reins in Normandy Park?
By Lindsay Peyton
There are three contested seats on the City Council in Normandy Park.
Shawn McEvoy and Earnest Thompson are vying for Position 1, Susan West’s former seat.
West is running unopposed for Position 2, which is Mayor Pro Tem Mike Bishoff’s former seat.
Bishoff is challenging Kathleen Waters for her current seat, Position 4.
Patrick McDonald and Kathleen Quong-Vermeire are competing for Position 6, vacated by councilmember Tom Munslow, and Sue-Ann Hohimer is running unopposed for Position 7.
Voters will decide the outcome on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 7.
Mayor Jonathan Chicquette, Position 3, and Michelle Sipes-Marvin, Position 5, retain their posts until December of 2019.
Earnest Thompson felt there was lack of leadership on the City Council and decided to throw his hat into the ring.
He currently serves on the city’s Planning Commission and formerly on the Budget Advisory Group
“I have lived and worked for about one third of my adult life in Europe and Asia and have been dealing with multiple cultures and ethnic groups for years,” he said. “Those experiences give one perspective and an ability to really listen to others.”
Thompson said the most important issues facing Normandy Park are street maintenance and financial stability – and especially addressing airport pollution.
“Data shows that we have large increases in cancer, respiratory disease and skin maladies directly attributable to airplane pollution,” he said. “The noise, as bad as it is, is the canary in the mine shaft compared to the dangers of volatile active compounds and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.”
He does not believe that the Port of Seattle will help Normandy Park or other cities in south King County.
Instead, Thompson said residents should push for bullet trains and hyperloop transportation.
“Normandy Park has no real influence on these events, but we can at least be on record as supporting these improvements to our environment,” he said.
Thompson also promises to address derelict buildings in the city, address road paving and promote code enforcements of regulations.
“At the end of the day, fiscal responsibility is paramount, and we must continue to build our reserve fund so we don’t get caught out like the city was back in 2008,” he said.
He believes that encouraging business and economic activity, as well as artists and public art projects and small high-tech start-ups would improve Normandy Park.
Shawn McEvoy, a long-time resident of Normandy Park and former councilmember and mayor for the city, decided to run for council so he can help problem-solve and accomplish goals for his hometown.
He believes that Normandy Park’s police force is under staffed. “Public Safety has got to be our number one priority,” he said. “We have challenges ahead . . . Outside our borders, there are areas of high crime, gang activities, and violence.”
His other main concern is ensuring that the city has a sustainable source of revenue for a healthy financial future.
“The major issue facing Normandy Park is our economic conundrum,” he said. “The sales tax concept is not adequate. We now have to levy ourselves every six years to make our ends meet.”
He also pledges to work to maintain roads and parks – and to reduce the impacts of the Sea-Tac Airport. “We have challenged their environmental misdeeds and have been successful in seeing them, eventually, embrace their efforts to reduce and control pollution and even become a model for other airports in this regard,” he said. “There is still much to do.”
McEvoy hopes to help local businesses thrive and attract new ones to the area.
“The real challenge is the limited area where businesses can operate,” he said. “Zoning efforts have allowed some opportunities, but we simply do not have enough businesses to do the job. We could use some help.”
He suggests working with nearby cities to create a better plan for the future.
Kathleen Waters said she has spent the past four years helping the city recover from financial crisis, working on policy decisions, engaging volunteers inimportant city matters and recruiting individuals to make the city run more efficiently.
“I tackle tough issues and advance differing opinions among colleagues to come to a collaborative decision,” she said. “I use research, discussion, cooperation, collaboration to make city council work successfully. Risk taking is also useful to step up and speak out and this is part of my regular way of doing business.”
Waters said financial sustainability, street repairs and up-zoning on First Avenue to increase tax revenue are the most important issues facing the city.
She explained that the city is in better financial condition than when she started on the council. She served as chair of the Finance Committee for the past three years.
“I was rigorous in taking steps to stabilize our finances and determine if any expenditures could be reduced,” she said.
Waters plans to explore how business and occupation tax could generate income. She added that Normandy Park could zone developed or undeveloped land on the east side of First Avenue to increase revenue.
“Wouldn’t it be better to increase our revenue while controlling the optics and operation of what gets developed across First Avenue south from us?” she asked.
Mike Bishoff currently serves as Normandy Park’s Mayor ProTem, chair of the Finance Committee and member of the Public Safety Committee. He wanted to run for re-election to continue efforts to develop plain language city budgets and promote financial transparency.
“While the city has nothing to hide, we have historically done a poor job explaining city budgets and finances,” he said. “My goal here is to build a broad base of financial knowledge that will allow our neighbors to be fully informed and constantly aware of where our city stands and to make sure our tax dollars are spent as efficiently as possible.”
Bishoff added that another top priority is supporting the local police department. “Public safety is as critical an issue as the City’s financial health and is a community defining service,” he said.
Bishoff said he has the necessary skills to help the city develop a long-term vision for its future. He has experience in technology, as well as accounting and finances.
“I am highly qualified to represent the citizens of Normandy Park regarding the financial health of the city,” he said. “If elected, I will continue to focus on additional improvements the City needs to assure strong financial health.”
He added that he is a “no new taxes candidate.”
“I am strongly against any increase in taxes,” he said. “I am pro-business and will look for more opportunities for economic development in our city by encouraging businesses versus discouraging them.”
Kathleen Quong-Vermeire has lived in Normandy Park for over 35 years and served on the City Council for 12 years. She has been a member of the Normandy Park Budget Advisory Group and the Facilities Planning Task Force – and was also formerly the city’s mayor.
“As long as I live in Normandy Park, I will work hard to give back to my community and be a part of Normandy Park’s growth,” she said.
Quong-Vermeire is currently a Commissioner for Highlinewater District.
“The skills, experience and confidence which I can bring forward would be of great value for Normandy Park making sure healthy discussions take place leading to the decisions that affect all,” she said.
Quong-Vermeire said preparing Normandy Park for emergencies and maintaining a stable and balanced budget will be her top priorities.
“I will listen to all sides of the issue before making any decisions,” she said. “I’m committed to keeping Normandy Park a place we can all call home.”
Patrick McDonald said, as a husband, father and longtime resident of Normandy Park, he wanted to do something to keep the city a safe and family friendly place to live. That’s why he decided to run for city council.
McDonald spent seven years in the financial planning industry with Northwestern Mutual, serving as a wealth management advisor and then director of development. He has spent the last five years with Merritt Hawkins, a healthcare consulting and recruiting company, as one of their directors of recruiting.
“In both of my positions, I have been responsible for leading large teams and work with some of the biggest healthcare organizations here in Washington state and across the country,” he said. My experience consulting with both executives and community appointed leaders, makes me uniquely qualified to collaborate with all citizens of Normandy Park.”
McDonald said maintaining a vibrant police force, working to improve economic development and preserving the existing culture of Normandy Park through well-funded parks and generous lot sizes would be his top priorities.
For more information about Normandy Park’s City Council, visit www.ci.normandy-park.wa.us/city_council.
For more information about King County Elections, visit www.kingcounty.gov/depts/elections.