Kiest will stay put

  • Brooke Fisher<br>Enterprise editor
  • Monday, March 3, 2008 6:40am

Longtime incumbent Lake Forest Park City Council member Alan Kiest will likely return to his seat on the City Council, joined by three political newcomers.

As of Wednesday morning, the Enterprise’s deadline, election results indicated that incumbent Alan Kiest would retain his seat on the Council and newcomers Sandy Koppenol, Don Fiene and Donovan Tracy would take seats for the first time.

In the race for Position 1, 16-year incumbent Kiest held a 143 vote lead over newcomer Catherine Stanford with 53 percent of the vote. Stanford had 47 percent of votes.

“The voters had a choice between an independent voice on the Council and a candidate hand-picked by the mayor and heavily supported by him and the political faction that surrounds him,” Kiest said. “Voters chose to retain the independent vote.”

Kiest, 56, said his fifth-term victory is for the environment and volunteers who have worked to improve the quality of the city’s creeks and parks. His campaign represented a cross-section of people who have appreciated his leadership regarding neighborhood issues and who were concerned that the city not be influenced by special interests, he said.

Stanford, a planning commission member who has served as chair for the last four years of her 10-year term, was disappointed that Kiest had taken the lead, but was pleased with the number of votes she garnered.

“The results are remarkable, but I am disappointed,” Stanford said. “I worked hard on the campaign and was sincere in wanting to serve.”

A few factors likely gave Kiest an advantage, Stanford said, such as her campaign getting off to a late start and Kiest’s name recognition.

In the race for Position 3, newcomer Sandy Koppenol held a wide lead over Chuck Paulsen. Koppenol had 62 percent of votes and Paulsen had 38 percent of votes.

“I am really happy the Lake Forest Park community supports me,” Koppenol said. “I look forward to serving the community.”

Koppenol, 38, who works at a biotechnology company in Bothell, is an eight-year resident who decided to run after joining the King County Citizens Advisory Group. She also is a member of the Lake Forest Park Planning Commission.

“I have been so involved in the community versus my opponent who hasn’t been as active,” Koppenol said. “It is my level of involvement and experience that won me the seat.”

Voters elected her, Koppenol said, because they want to see changes to the Burke Gilman Trail and want a “smart plan” for Towne Centre which would involve working with a developer to ensure a community gathering space, as well as shops and housing.

For Position 5, Don Fiene took the lead over Tom French with 57 percent of votes. French had 42 percent of votes.

Fiene was hopeful all along that he would take the lead, he said, although he anticipated it may be a close race. He said what made the difference in votes is his level of dedication to the community the past few years. A 28-year resident, Fiene serves on the Planning and Environmental Quality Commissions.

“People have appreciated that and appear to like the things I have accomplished,” Fiene said, “and the issues I’ve identified and my approach to solving some of the challenges.”

In the race for Position 7, newcomer Donovan Tracy received a larger percentage of votes than newcomer Marjorie Ando, with 63 percent of votes. Ando earned 37 percent of votes.

Tracy, who was celebrating with family and friends on Tuesday evening, was excited to be in the lead and said he believes good advice from some existing Council members made a big difference. Tracy, 58, is a 30-year resident who works as a financial consultant.

“There was a lot of great support early on,” Tracy said. “The encouragement made me feel I could go ahead boldly and do this.”

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