Basics: Cathy Lehman, current local director of Futurewise and downtown business advocate, is running for Bellingham City Council, Ward 3 against incumbent and long-time Democrat Barry Buchanan.
Straight Talk: If this were simply a matter of Barry Buchanan against some nameless nobody, I would vote for Barry in a heartbeat. Although he voted for Red Light Cameras (boo!), this is a forgivable sin. Barry is polite, does his homework for the meetings and responds well as a public official. But, enter Cathy Lehman. Never have I seen someone with such a laser focus on revitalizing our downtown. In short, she gets it. She knows that our long-term success as a community depends on having an effective urban core. Housing, business support, streamlining licensing, infrastructure investments, she covers all these bases and more. I couldn’t think of a time we need that voice more than now.
Counterpoint: What about Barry’s experience? He has been involved, built relationships, heck, he was even the former chair of the Whatcom Democrats? Yes, this is all true, but when I see the Bellingham City Council, I am nervous about how homogeneous they are. All middle-aged to senior white men from similar backgrounds, upbringing and Bellinghamster point of view. That is not to say that they always agree, but there is definitely some human experiences and viewpoints missing among this crowd. I don’t fault them for this, but I think it will make Cathy’s inclusion all the more valuable.
Bottom Line: Sorry Barry Buchanan, I really like you and highly recommend you run for office again (how about the County Council?) but the Political Junkie solidly endorses Cathy Lehman for Bellingham City Council. See her website and get involved here.
I plan on writing these posts as I sort out who I am going to vote for locally. Stay tuned for more endorsements. I reserve the right to change my mind.