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Snoqualmie official in race for county executive
Snoqualmie's former interim public works director, Alan Lobdell, says he is running for King County Executive because county officials have forgotten they are public servants.
“If I'm elected, county employees would learn very quickly they are public servants,” he said.
A public works engineer for 33 years, Lobdell says he understands the problems facing the county better than the others running for Ron Sims' empty seat. Lobdell is focusing on transportation, the environment and county finances in his unconventional campaign.
Lobdell wants King County to relieve congestion by pushing for improvements to critical parts of its transportation infrastructure and continuing to support mass transit.
The county's transportation infrastructure is outdated by 40 years, Lobdell said.
He wants the county to push for fixing highway interchanges which create bottlenecks, such as the junction of Interstate 90 and State Route 18.
King County's transportation problems are too big to solve in four years or even eight years, Lobdell said. He wants to start chipping away at the problem now.
King County should conserve as much land as possible for future generations while providing comfortable communities for people to live, Lobdell said.
The county has always had to balance the land use needs of its rural and urban populations.
“People should have property rights. Yes, there should be some limitations, but there shouldn't be too many restrictions,” he said.
The county's existing environmental regulations are failing, Lobdell said.
“Every bit of pollution going into (Puget) Sound should and can be stopped,” he said. “There's no excuse. As an engineer, I know there's no excuse.”
The county can curb run-off — a major source of pollutants in the Sound — by better enforcing environmental regulations and building more wastewater treatment plants, according to Lobdell.
“There are places where millions of dollars are being wasted on useless regulations and other places where money isn't being spent where it could solve problems,” he said.
Like many counties in Washington, King County is facing a crippling general budget shortfall. Lobdell wants the county to find a way to shore up the general budget with money from its committed budget, which is several times larger than the general budget.
However, money in the committed budget cannot legally be used for general budget expenses. His proposal would require a significant legislative effort.
“Sometimes if you don't try, you're not going to get anywhere,” Lobdell said.
Lobdell is running an unconventional campaign, relying on word-of-mouth and online social networking for publicity and not fundraising.
“Everybody's asking for money; I'm telling voters to pay their bills” rather than donate, he said.
Several of his competitors will likely have well-financed campaigns and extensive political networks. Also running for Sims' empty seat are King County Council members Dow Constantine and Larry Phillips, former KIRO-TV anchor Susan Hutchison and state Sen. Fred Jarrett, D-Mercer Island.
Lobdell ran a similar campaign in 2001, when he received nearly 12 percent of the vote in the primary election for county executive. His strong showing came after he had already pulled out of the race after his wife, Maxine, was diagnosed with breast cancer. He self-published a book, A Man's Torn Heart, about losing his wife to cancer in 2003.
Lobdell will have a harder time getting past the primary this time around. In 2008, King County voters elected to make the position non-partisan, with the top two vote getters going to the November election. Lobdell, who ran as a Republican in 2001, will have to greatly improve on his previous showing in heavily Democratic King County to advance past the primary.
For more information, contact Lobdell by e-mail at email@example.com or via mail at Alan Lobdell for KCE, P.O. Box 7600, Covington, WA 98042. A Web site will be online in the near future.