Debate heats up for Yakima City Council seats, prop. 1

YAKIMA, Wash. -- On Thursday evening city hall was the site of a good old fashioned political debate.

The four candidates for the two open city council seats squared off.

Following that was a debate on Proposition 1, important to every taxpayer in the city.

Every side got their turn on everything from paying taxes, public safety, and downtown development.

"I consider myself to be a friend of the tax payer, I have a proven record of resisting tax increases and wasteful spending," said Bill Lover, current council member running for re-election.

When it comes to spending your tax payer dollars, all the candidates agreed on the goal of saving you money as each shot down the idea of bringing a Business and Occupation tax to Yakima.

And when it comes to public safety, candidates felt that while some things are improving, there's still work to be done.

"Graffiti sends the message they're there and therefore you're not safe," said David Ettl, current council member running for re-election.

"They intimidate their neighbors, when they say they're going to set your house on fire you better believe them," said Lover.

The newcomers running for council seats expressed a fresh way of looking at things.

"I believe that everyone in the community should have their voice heard," said Charles Noel, running for city council.

"I think the real issue has to do with not knowing each other, it has to do with the division that exists in this community between people of color and people of non color," said Carole Folsom-Hill, running for city council.

The second part of the evening focused on who has the power to raise your taxes.

Proposition 1 will require a two thirds majority vote from city council for any future tax increases.

That means 5 out of 7 members of council must vote as opposed to the current 4 out of 7.

Those opposed argued with no history of abuse on council this was not necessary as it would give too much power to a select few.

They compared it to our current government shutdown.

Those in support say the issue is simple, people voiced their opinion of wanting the change to cut back on city spending.

All of the candidates favored the idea allowing for more privatization of services as downtown continues to develop.