Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Lakewood chooses new mayor

The News Tribune reports today,

Claudia Thomas, who’s believed to be the first black female mayor in Washington’s history, will lead Pierce County’s second-largest city for the next two years.

The Lakewood City Council on Tuesday voted 4-3 to make Thomas mayor. She was chosen over former mayor Doug Richardson.

... The selection of Thomas and [deputy mayor] Arbeeny also demonstrates the growing strength of Lakewood CARES, the government watchdog group and political bloc that has tried to take over the council majority since 2001.

Thomas was nominated by newly elected City Councilman Ron Cronk, who was sworn in that evening. Cronk, who won his seat by just 67 votes, is the third CARES member on the council. The other three votes for Thomas came from Arbeeny and Pad Finnigan, also members of CARES, and Thomas herself.

Arbeeny is the first member of the group to hold a leadership office on the council.

For the past two years, Thomas has tended to be disdainful of CARES and its agenda, often rolling her eyes or mumbling on the council dais when one of its members speaks.

Even though her mayoral support came from CARES and she in turn voted for Arbeeny, she insisted that “I don’t make deals and I don’t side.”

For the record, I've voted for CARES members, who in general opposed the multi-million dollar city hall, speeding cameras, and a few other porkish projects.

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