Shared from the 2017-07-14 Seattle Times eEdition

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PORT OF SEATTLE: STRONG LEADERS FOR TRUST, GROWTH

THE Port of Seattle is at a turning point that requires leaders who can restore trust in this critical institution and continue producing jobs and economic growth.

Among numerous strong candidates running for three port commission seats, voters should elect incumbents John Creighton in Position 1 and Stephanie Bowman in Position 3, and newcomer John Persak in Position 4.

Their range of experience and expertise will best help the port as it expands Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and faces stiffer competition for shipping business, particularly from terminals in British Columbia. They should also help the port improve internal challenges around accountability and transparency and help hire a new executive director. The previous director, Ted Fick, abruptly left in February amid controversy around poorly implemented bonuses and payroll changes.

John Creighton for Position 1

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John Creighton

Creighton, a lawyer who has served since 2006, is this race’s candidate most committed to defending the port and Seattle’s maritime and industrial zones — and the jobs they support — from encroaching development.

These zones are rare and precious. They provide opportunity for laborers without college degrees to earn enough to support families and buy homes. Located next to a deep-water port adjacent to rail service and highways, these lands and port facilities are irreplaceable.

Creighton should strive to make the commission more transparent and sharpen its oversight of staff. His experience, including leadership developing the port’s growth plan and his understanding of the realities of the port’s competitive challenges, makes him the superior choice.

Stephanie Bowman for Position 3

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Stephanie Bowman

Bowman has led a nonprofit assisting economically disadvantaged communities. She has experience in economic development and transportation policy, including handling federal relations for the Port of Tacoma earlier in her career.

Bowman has demonstrated principled, responsive leadership, most recently on supporting a path forward for Ivar’s to operate a food-cart after being displaced from Sea-Tac’s central terminal.

Neither candidate challenging Bowman knew who Fick was when asked about his performance, even though he led the port from 2014 until February. Both are well intentioned, but this lack of basic knowledge of the port makes them unqualified for the commissioner job.

John Persak for

Position 4

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John Persak

In a field of accomplished candidates, Persak stands out for his experience and commitment to supporting and expanding the port. A longshoreman, Persak has worked on the waterfront since 1998 and now serves as a policy advocate on issues such as workers’ health, the environment and land use.

As a commissioner, Persak could support extension of labor contracts and avoid disastrous port slowdowns. He should also find ways to support the inevitable automation of terminals that will change the nature of some jobs.

Even more valuable is Persak’s experience advocating for Seattle’s viability as a maritime and industrial hub.

Persak has been in the thick of current port-related policy discussions and has vigorously defended this essential component of the regional economy.

Editorial board members are editorial page editor Kate Riley,

Frank A. Blethen, Donna Gordon Blankinship,

Brier Dudley, Mark Higgins, Jonathan Martin, William K. Blethen (emeritus) and Robert C. Blethen (emeritus).

THE SEATTLE TIMES has a legacy of independent family ownership. Past publishers were ALDEN J. BLETHEN, 1896-1915; C.B. BLETHEN, 1915-1941; ELMER E. TODD, 1942-1949; W.K. BLETHEN, 1949-1967; JOHN A. BLETHEN, 1967-1982; W.J. PENNINGTON, 1982-1985. Other family members served as president: ALDEN JOSEPH BLETHEN, 1915-1921;

FRANK A. BLETHEN Sr., 1949-1967.

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