Work: Wenatchee city councilman, history and government teacher at Wenatchee High School for 38 years, retired from teaching in 2007.
Experience: Board of trustees, Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center. Board member, North Central Regional Transportation Planning Organization. Former member of the city’s Planning Commission and Historic Preservation Board.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in history from Biola University, 1968; Master in history from Gonzaga University, 1975.
Personal: Age 64. Jim Bailey’s blog.
Work: Head clerk, Wenatchee Salvation Army store.
Experience: Former CASA volunteer (a court-directed children’s advocate), volunteer work with the Salvation Army.
Education: Graduated form Ellensburg High School, 1988.
Personal: Age: 39.
WENATCHEE — Very different backgrounds with similar goals to control spending and keep the city in the black.
That describes challenger Seth Merriel and incumbent Jim Bailey who are vying for the Position 1 City Council seat.
“I’d like to get the budget under control. It seems like they’ve been spending an awful lot of money on window dressing like Town Toyota Center,” Merriel says.
“They built it without asking voters, and now the city is stuck covering it if it doesn’t go right. I like to see spending on families.”
Merriel has twice bid unsuccessfully for seats on the council, the first as a candidate on the November 2007 ballot, and then again as an appointee when the winner of that election, Christy Filby, resigned.
Merriel says the city’s Affordable Housing Committee hasn’t produced “noticeable results” for the community. He says he’d work to bring the city’s need for affordable housing to the forefront.
“Nobody’s stepped up to take leadership or control of it,” he said. “I want to jump in and take charge of that and make sure someone is doing something.”
Merriel said he’d listen to voters and make his own mind up on the issues.
“I wouldn’t be a ‘yes man,’” he said. “Our leaders have gotten away from listening to the people who voted for them. I’d fight to make sure they’re being heard.”
He added, “I feel I’m different, strong and not afraid to take a stand on tough issues.”
“Appropriate” growth, affordable housing and a sound budget are top issues for Bailey, who was appointed to his post in 2008 when then-Councilman Frank Kuntz resigned.
“The budget is the big deal,” he said. “In April of last year, we started taking a serious look at the budget. We made amendments to it without having to lay people off. We’re very conscious that the people are our most valuable asset.”
Bailey points to the challenge of the city’s obligation to cover Town Toyota Center’s debts.
He said that firing the center’s former management company, Global Entertainment Corporation of Tempe, Ariz., arranging for city staff to oversee the center’s books and hiring a new general manager are steps in the right direction.
The arena’s obligation nibbles away at revenue, but he said efforts to bolster the center and support riverfront development will pay off.
“They’ll pay dividends in the future, but we need to start building up tourism and attracting green businesses,” he said. “Bringing in good, strong businesses will create living-wage jobs. We don’t need big-box retailers with minimum-wage jobs.”
Bailey doesn’t favor growth at the expense of the western foothills.
“Saddle Rock and Castle Rock, are defining features of the community. I believe in protecting and maintain those.”
He added, “I’m not anti-growth. There are appropriate places where you should build and places where you shouldn’t build.”
Bailey said he brings experience and a desire to serve.
“I don’t have any axes to grind,” he said. “I have an advantage of having been on the council for a couple of years… They (voters) would be getting someone who can represent them and do the things that need to be done to make this a good community.”
Christine Pratt: 665-1173