Four candidates vie for open Pacific City Council seat

The Pacific City Council decides Monday who is to assume Gary Hulsey's seat.

Hulsey resigned last week for health reasons.

The council interviewed three of the four applicants for the position and briefly discussed the selection in executive session during its workshop May 5.

Candidates for Council Position No. 1, Michael Hollenbeck, Katie Garberding and Howard Gustafson, were all there for the interviews. The fourth, Richard Woodall, was a no-show.

The winning candidate gets to serve out the 19 months left of Hulsey's council term.

First up was Garberding, who served on the council briefly last year as an appointee after current Mayor Leanne Guier vacated her position to become mayor.

Garberding, left, a five-year resident of Pacific, touted her previous experience on the council and her community involvement.

"If you would have me, I'd be honored to come back and help to move the City forward," she said. "My previous experience was under five months, and I didn't exactly change the world, but I learned how the City works and was proud to be part of such a group that has the ability to build and protect the community I have chosen to call home."

She referred to her involvement as a volunteer at the senior center, her fundraising efforts and the other City functions she has performed.

"I've been attending council meetings for over three-and-a-half years, only missing a few," she said. "I have a strong sense of my community and the ability to organize and facilitate."

Garberding added:

"Lastly, I have a great desire to participate in keeping our City on a healthy and positive track and look forward to working with you all," she said.

Garberding noted that she decided not to run for the seat she had temporarily occupied because she would have had to run as a write-in after missing deadlines to get on the ballot.

"And knowing how the write-in went last time, I didn't feel like that was something I wanted to do at that time," she added, referring to the write-in victory of recalled former mayor Cy Sun.

The council also interviewed 40-year resident Howard Gustafson, right.

"I began being interested in the council when we were first invited to become a part of the City of Pacific," Gustafson said.

After his property was annexed into Pacific, Gustafson said, he decided to become involved in his community by serving on the Pacific Planning Commission for 14 years.

Gustafson, a frequent attendee of the city's council meetings and workshops, said he first applied for Guier's vacant position.

"I thought I'd try one more time," he said. "Over my 14 years [on the commission], I think I've been able to become acquainted with many of the issues that exist here in the city. And I thought it'd be nice to get on the council and move up a little bit. I don't know all the answers, but I think right now, judging by all the other comments, the number one issue is marijuana. That is the one most dominant, as far as you folks are concerned."

Pacific has slapped a moratorium on any medical and recreational marijuana businesses in the city to give leaders time to figure out how to deal with them.

Last, Hollenbeck, left, a two-year resident, addressed the community.

"I was brought here through some unfortunate circumstances, but when I landed here, I was really surprised at what kind of a city you actually have here," he said. "It's beautiful. You have some great people. You're having your problems, but every municipality is."

Hollenbeck said he hoped to work with the police department through the public safety committee and use his horticulture degree for the parks board and committee.

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