Council-at-large candidates debate plans

Sarah Baldwin

Council-at-Large candidate Michael DeLeone talks to Kent residents last night in the basement of Fire Station 1. Other candidates include Paulette Kordinak, Lloyd Atkinson, Rick Hawksley and William Schultz.

Credit: Beth Rankin

Some candidates running for city of Kent council-at-large positions view students as a priority rather than a problem.

“They are a big part of our community, and we need to work with them as much as we can to incorporate them into our community and make them feel welcome,” candidate Paulette Kordinak said.

Prospective candidates for three city of Kent council-at-large spots discussed their platforms and plans at a forum held last night by The League of Women Voters of Kent.

Candidates discussed concerns about university relations, as well as the controversial Campus Link plan, during a question/answer session.

Candidate Rick Hawksley said the Campus Link plan is overly ambitious, and if it is not changed, the outcome will not be as impressive as planned.

Candidate Lloyd Atkinson said the new parking deck, conference center and other buildings that are part of Campus Link should be erected on Summit Street across from Risman Plaza, as opposed to where the complex is planned to go.

“It’s going to be hard on the students. It’s going to remove convenient student housing,” Atkinson said.

Candidate Michael DeLeone said he had similar feelings about the potential loss of student housing due to Campus Link.

“I’ve thought all along that Campus Link is just an idea. The city of Kent doesn’t have millions of dollars to buy up rental property and displace students. I don’t want to displace students,” DeLeone said.

Both Atkinson and DeLeone said they want to be on good terms with students and the university.

“I have a good relationship with students. I have to work around them every day, so you sort of get the pulse of what’s going on,” DeLeone said.

Atkinson said that while he does not have a personal agenda to carry out if he is elected, his primary goal would be to reduce unplanned spending and redirect it toward projects like fixing pothole-ridden streets in the town.

“My greatest concern is that in the past we have been spending our money on community development without a plan,” Atkinson said.

Candidate William Schultz said the city’s role in economic development should center around positive fiscal advances in Kent.

“Our whole strategy is to implement the Bicentennial Plan and retain jobs in Kent,” Schultz said.

DeLeone said one of the things he most looks forward to if re-elected is working with the new city manager, David Ruller.

“Mr. Ruller has so much energy and so many ideas,” DeLeone said.

Kordinak said she hopes to make Kent more user-friendly to both developers and regular people alike. She pointed out that the university is the city’s biggest commodity.

“We have a world-renowned university in our town,” Kordinak said.

Contact public affairs reporter Sarah Baldwin at [email protected].