Election scramble could change future of city, schools

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Last week’s election took some by surprise. Longtime incumbents on the Moses Lake School Board and Moses Lake City Council defended their respective seats. And some newcomers emerged victorious. The closely contested seat between school board president Kevin Donovan and challenger Elliott Goodrich is still undecided until the next ballot count on Monday. Goodrich is leading the race by 21 votes. Challenger Vickey Melcher has a solid lead against school board incumbent Oscar Ochoa of 383 votes, or nearly 7 percent.

If Donovan doesn’t receive more votes, that makes two incumbent positions lost to newcomers. Change isn’t always a bad thing and of course, voters should have their say at the polls. We wouldn’t have it any other way because our country was founded on the basic principle of open elections. The Moses Lake School District is grappling with growth challenges and has tried three times to pass a construction bond for a new high school. This year’s $135 million construction bond did pass, but the election certification is being contested by a group of voters. They contend ethical issues surfaced when school district employees contacted voters whose ballot signatures were missing or didn’t match the signature on file.

Perhaps a fresh set of eyes would help resolve this matter and lend another perspective. It’s not for us to say who’s right or wrong. We just hope a resolution comes soon before more time and resources are spent. If the resolution hinges on a new bond proposal being crafted, a diverse group of people must be involved and heard during the process.

On the Moses Lake City Council, incumbents Karen Liebrecht and David Curnel have solid leads. Newcomers Mike Riggs and Daryl Jackson also have good leads in their own council races. It will be interesting to see how many of the city’s existing programs and projects stay the course, receive an overhaul or just undergo slight tweaks with new leadership in place.

The condition of roads, budget priorities, and efforts to form a Transportation Benefit District to fund street maintenance projects are important city issues at hand. The city council approved the district’s formation and preliminary election results show 52 percent of voters approved the related proposition to fund a 0.20 percent sales tax for street projects.

The school board and city council have plenty of work to do on their respective projects. We wish all involved the best of luck during the coming weeks and months ahead. Most of all, we thank those who ran for public office and those who continue to serve the public in their elected positions. It’s a thankless and tireless job, but much needed as our community deals with the challenges of growth and progress.

Editor’s note: This article corrects an earlier version which transposed the name of the leading candidate in a Moses Lake School Board race. Goodrich was leading, not Donovan. The spellings of Elliott Goodrich and Vickey Melcher’s first names are corrected as well. We regret the errors.

— Editorial Board

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