In Our View: Three for City Council

Burkman, Topper, McEnerny-Ogle are clear choices for Vancouver voters



Three positions for the Vancouver City Council are on the docket for the Nov. 5 election — ballots will be mailed Oct. 16 — and the choices appear to be clear for voters. Each of the matchups features one candidate who was endorsed by The Columbian for the August primary that reduced each race to a final two candidates, and those contenders have retained their sterling credentials.

o Position 1: Incumbent Jack Burkman has used a collegial, positive style of governance and engagement to build an impressive bipartisan list of supporters. Burkman, who is running against Micheline Doan, employs a thoughtful, measured approach that often makes him the voice of reason in a world of contentious politicking.

Burkman has served on the council since 2009 (he also served several years earlier), and he also is a Clark College trustee and serves on numerous local boards. Doan, a local Republican Party activist, has made preventing the extension of light rail into Clark County one of her primary positions, but she does support a new Interstate 5 bridge.

As we noted before the primary election, Burkman has become a council authority on several issues: “One prominent example is technology; the former high-tech executive has helped push the council and other city departments into the digital age, using devices and strategies in ways that benefit taxpayers with both savings and enhanced transparency.”

Burkman’s broad experience and record of coalition-building make him a clear choice.

• Position 2: Alishia Topper, a newcomer to politics, has made an impressive entrance into the arena. As the senior director of development at Fort Vancouver National Trust and a board member for Columbia Credit Union and Vancouver’s Downtown Association, she brings a refreshing optimism and can-do spirit to the race.

Topper is running against 12-year incumbent Jeanne Stewart, who, as we have written editorially in the past, “has maintained a steady watchdog role on the council, but her contributions to the council and enthusiasm for the job are on the wane. . . . She has built no meaningful alliances on the council and repeatedly has clashed more than collaborated with colleagues over C-Tran, waterfront redevelopment and other key issues.”

Topper, running on a slogan of, “Let’s get to YES,” has said that Stewart “has served well, and there is a place for dissent, but eventually you need to move forward.” While she is new to campaigning, Topper has the energy and insight that make her the logical choice in this race.

• Position 3: As The Columbian wrote in July: “Anne McEnerny-Ogle knows Vancouver neighborhoods better than perhaps anyone. As chair of the Vancouver Neighborhood Alliance, she has met with 43 different neighborhood associations in the past three years.”

McEnerny-Ogle, a retired teacher and one of the busiest civic activists in the community, has demonstrated the coalition-building skills that are necessary for working on an effective city council. She has five years of experience on the Vancouver Planning Commission, and has worked with dozens of civic clubs, transportation organizations, environmental groups, and youth programs.

McEnerny-Ogle’s opponent, Frank Decker, is stressing limited government and his opposition to light rail in his campaign. McEnerny-Ogle presents a more rounded and informed approach to city government that makes her the best choice in the race for Position 3.