New-year harmony not achieved in SeaTac as Tony Anderson selected mayor
Political resurrection for Deputy Mayor Gregerson
The new year didn’t bring new harmony to the SeaTac City Council as Tony Anderson was selected Jan. 10 as mayor on a 4-3 vote.
With outspoken lawmakers Gene Fisher and Ralph Shape off the council and Tony Anderson presiding, business was conducted in a quieter and smoother manner.
However, several amendments by council allies Rick Forschler and Pam Fernald were voted down on 4-2 voice votes.
At the start of business, Forschler nominated Terry Anderson for re-election as mayor while Councilman Barry Ladenburg, who defeated Fisher in the acrimonious November election, nominated Tony Anderson.
Forschler, Fernald and Terry Anderson voted for Terry Anderson while Ladenburg, Dave Bush, Mia Gregerson and Tony Anderson voted for Tony Anderson. Bush was elected in November to replace Shape, who didn’t run for re-election.
In another 4-3 vote, Gregerson was selected as deputy mayor after Forschler again nominated Terry Anderson. The votes split along the same lines as the mayor’s selection.
Tony Anderson will serve a two-year term as mayor while the deputy mayor’s term is for one year.
Gregerson’s selection as deputy mayor marked a remarkable political resurrection for her.
In September, Fisher’s wife read emails at a council meeting that had been made public due to a public records request. Many of the emails were between Gregerson and SeaTac Human Services Director Colleen Brandt-Schulter that denigrated fellow council members and residents as well as containing contact information about human services clients. The contact information was reportedly used to organize a meeting in 2009 to defeat an elected mayor proposition. Gregerson’s opponents called for a state Public Disclosure Commission investigation.
By October, when council members delayed until January Gregerson’s proposal to form a citizens diversity committee, she was openly talking at the meeting about not being on the council by the new year.
However, in the November election, a hospitality workers union and others spent more than $100,000 against Gregerson’s opponents and the elected mayor proposition that was once again on the ballot. The union members also extensively door-belled homes during the campaign.
In the election, Gregerson barely defeated Erin Sitterley and 12-year-incumbent Fisher was badly defeated by Ladenburg. Bush also defeated Michael C. Kovacs.
The elected mayor proposition went down for a fourth time. Fisher had been mentioned as a possible elected mayor if the proposition had passed. Even with the proposition defeated, Fisher, who was serving as deputy mayor, may have been selected by fellow council members in January to serve as mayor.
Among those Fisher blasted in his final December council meeting was King County Councilwoman Julia Patterson, a SeaTac resident, who he said had interfered in the race, using the “Patterson Political Machine.
“She has both her husband and daughter working for the city and soon her liberal and progressive neighbors will be running city government,” Fisher added.
On Jan. 10, Patterson attended the reception for the new mayor, deputy mayor, outgoing council members and new council members.
During public comments, resident Vicki Lockwood complained that Tony Anderson has a conflict of interest as mayor because he works for the Port of Seattle as a police officer.
The Port operates Sea-Tac Airport, which has a huge presence in SeaTac.
In other business, lawmakers voted to eliminate council committees in favor of holding study sessions involving all council members preceding regular council meetings.
The council also ratified Gregerson’s suggestion to set up a citizens’ advisory Community Building Committee. The committee had originally been known as the diversity committee.