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The following is presented as part of The Columbian’s Opinion content, which offers a point of view in order to provoke thought and debate of civic issues. Opinions represent the viewpoint of the author. Unsigned editorials represent the consensus opinion of The Columbian’s editorial board, which operates independently of the news department.

In Our View: Perez, Gellatly for Vancouver City Council Pos. 3

The Columbian
Published: July 9, 2021, 6:03am

Out of three worthy candidates for Vancouver City Council, Position 3, The Columbian’s Editorial Board recommends Diana Perez and David Gellatly. At the same time, we note that Glen Yung also would be a strong addition to the council.

As always, this is merely a recommendation; The Columbian trusts that voters will examine the candidates and the issues before casting an informed ballot. Such homework is particularly important given the difficulty of choosing between the candidates for Position 3. Incumbent Linda Glover is not seeking reelection, and the top two vote-getters in the Aug. 3 primary will advance to the November general election.

In seeking a spot on the city council, Perez brings a strong record of community involvement. She has served on the Stronger Vancouver committee and currently is a member of the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission and the board of the Clark County Volunteer Lawyers Program. She is immediate past state director of the League of United Latin American Citizens, and she has received awards from numerous local organizations. “Public service is in my DNA,” she told the Editorial Board.

Perez’s civic involvement has given her a strong vision for the future of Vancouver. She deftly examines issues from a broad perspective and is able to offer comprehensive answers that go beyond the talking points typically provided by candidates. In speaking about addressing homelessness, she mentions the role that zoning regulations play in building affordable housing; in speaking about police reform, she mentions the importance of having detailed data on traffic stops.

And when it comes to the future of the city and the role of the city council, she accurately notes “we can’t stop growing; the process needs to be clear and up front.”

Gellatly also effectively articulates a vision for Vancouver, focusing primarily on concerns about the direction of the city. “We’re seeing issues that start in the Portland metro area reaching into here,” he told the board.

He says a city plan to create dedicated campsites for unhoused people is a “horrible idea,” and in speaking about police reform he says, “We can identify what doesn’t work — removing funding from a police force.” He also criticizes the Stronger Vancouver proposal as containing “a lot of wants, not needs.” That proposal was delivered prior to the coronavirus pandemic and has been tabled for now.

City council positions are nonpartisan, but it should be mentioned that Gellatly is the former chair of the Clark County Republican Party.

Yung, on the other hand, has taken a grass-roots approach to his political engagement. After getting involved with his neighborhood association, he has moved into a leadership position, has founded the Westside Neighborhood Coalition and has become a frequent commenter at city council meetings. “While actively protecting the livability of our neighborhoods,” he writes in the Voters’ Pamphlet, “I have seen politics being chosen over people.”

Yung praises city leadership for cutting spending at the beginning of the pandemic, when the future was unknown, and he sees the role of the council as a “check and balance against the power of the city manager.”

Perez, Gellatly and Yung have differing perspectives, but each would be a strong addition to the council. The Columbian recommends Diana Perez and David Gellatly for Position 3 on the Vancouver City Council, but we also recommend that voters do some homework before casting an informed ballot.