In an election that has several variables, The Columbian’s Editorial Board recommends Glen Yung and Hector Hinojosa in the primary for Clark County Council, District 1.
The first variable is that incumbent Temple Lentz is not seeking re-election, leaving the contest to three candidates who have not held elected office. The second variable is that candidates for county council are running for the first time without declaring a party preference, a change approved last year by voters.
That will require voters to do some homework in order to know the candidates and where they stand on the issues. As always, our recommendation is designed to foster discussion and provide information about the candidates; the rest is up to the electorate.
In Yung, voters will find a candidate who has taken a grass roots approach to political involvement. A longtime resident and business owner, he first became involved with his neighborhood association and then became a frequent public commenter at Vancouver City Council meetings.
During an interview with the Editorial Board, Yung demonstrated a clear understanding of the issues facing the county. He is well-prepared, well-informed and possesses a demeanor that will make him an effective, collaborative councilor.
Yung favors increasing funding for the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, saying, “I don’t think anybody in our community has not noticed the uptick in crime.” To deal with that and other needs, he notes that responsible governing means approving an annually permissible 1 percent increase to the county property tax levy, which recent councils typically have rejected. “One percent isn’t even close to the 8 percent inflation,” he said. “We’ve made mistakes in the past.”
Regarding construction of a new Interstate 5 Bridge, Yung says a proposal currently in development is imperfect but, “I’m a realist and I’ll take what I can get.” The bridge proposal is largely out of the purview of the county council, but the issue clearly is of interest to Clark County residents.
In addition, Yung says his experience as a contractor gives him valuable insight into land-use policy, one of the primary issues facing the county council.
Hinojosa has a long history of community involvement and leadership. “I see a county council that would rather stick to ideological solutions than real solutions,” he told the Editorial Board.
Hinojosa correctly notes that the county is designated as the lead local agency for addressing homelessness. Regarding the outdated county jail, he favors an extensive work release program to reduce the jail population; Clark County currently does have such a program. He also favors replacing the Interstate 5 Bridge and says, “The longer we delay this replacement, the more it’s going to cost.”
Doug Coop also is on the ballot and has a history of community involvement. Coop speaks of listening to constituents and being a collaborative elected official, but his stridency leads to doubts about how effectively he would do that. As a voter, he said he opposes school levies because schools are “failing our kids”; he favors an unrealistic proposal for a third bridge across the Columbia River and vociferously opposes an I-5 Bridge replacement; and he quixotically says the county can simply reallocate funds to meet its needs.
In the three-person race for Clark County Council, District 1, Glen Yung is the standout and has earned the recommendation of The Columbian’s Editorial Board. With two candidates advancing to the general election, we also recommend Hector Hinojosa.