Vancouver voters are faced with a difficult choice in the seven-candidate race for city councilor, Position 6. While there are several contenders, The Columbian’s Editorial Board recommends supporting Diana Perez and Paul Montague in the Aug. 6 primary.
As always, this is simply a recommendation. We trust that voters will study the candidates and the issues before casting an informed ballot. Regardless of which two finalists advance to the November general election, we expect that Vancouver will elect a worthy councilor to replace Bill Turlay, who is not seeking re-election.
Perez is running for office for the first time, but her lengthy history of public service marks her as a well-qualified candidate. She works as a program specialist for the U.S. Forest Service and has more than 25 years of experience in public land management. She has served on the Stronger Vancouver committee; has been appointed by the governor as a commissioner for Washington State Parks and Recreation; has served on the city’s Strategic Plan Oversight Committee; and has been co-chair of her neighborhood association.
With the Stronger Vancouver committee, she helped devise a proposal to raise taxes by $30 million a year in order to increase city services. While that proposal is likely to draw opposition from many residents, Perez demonstrates a thoughtful demeanor and a firm grasp of the issue. “We are not meeting the needs and demands of the population,” she said when the editorial board held a group interview with the candidates. “We have a very shallow tool box” of methods for raising funds.
Perez, a resident of east Vancouver, has been deeply involved in community affairs and has developed a strong understanding of the issues facing the city.