Council incumbent withdraws
June 16, 2009
By Warren Kagarise
David Kappler announced June 11 he would not seek re-election to the City Council — less than a week after the longtime councilman filed with King County Elections to run for another term. Kappler withdrew his candidacy with the elections office a day before the withdrawal deadline.
As he announced his intention to withdraw, Kappler said he plans to spend more time with his family and take care of his 93-year-old parents in Seattle.
Kappler said his sucessor and other council members would be forced to make tough decisions as city officials grapple with the recession. Officials cut spending by $1.6 million as a result of a $1.5 million shortfall.
Despite the downturn, Kappler said he wants the next council to plan for future transportation projects and complete and implement the Central Issaquah Plan. The document will outline future development and redevelopment on 915 acres around Interstate 90.
“Dealing with the finances is going to be the nitty gritty, but I’d like to see some vision,” he said.
Kappler, first elected to the seven-member council in 1991, is a staunch advocate for environmental preservation and a longtime member of the Issaquah Alps Trails Club. He said his post-council plans include devoting more time to the trails club. In 2006, he received the Ruth Kees Award for a Sustainable Community — the city’s top honor for people who take steps to protect natural resources.
Kappler, 60, endorsed political newcomer Tola Marts in the race to succeed him. Marts will face another newcomer, Nathan Perea, in the contest for the Position 7 council seat. Kappler said he plans to campaign for Marts.Kappler invited Marts and several supporters to his house June 8 to discuss his withdrawal decision. Kappler said some of his supporters urged him to run again, but he cited the time commitment of serving as a councilman.
“They would love to see me on the council, but they realize 18 years is an awfully long time,” he said.
Voters will choose at least two new council members. Newcomer Mark Mullet and Councilwoman Eileen Barber face no opposition in the contests for their respective seats. Mayor Ava Frisinger is also running unopposed for a fourth term.
Candidates running unopposed could still face challenges from write-in candidates. The last day to file for election as a write-in candidate is Aug. 17, a day before the primary election.
The other contested council race will see Council President Maureen McCarry face Joan Probala for the Position 5 seat.
Kappler became the second incumbent to sidestep a re-election bid when he withdrew last week. Councilman John Rittenhouse bowed out in early June. Kappler said he plans to talk with Rittenhouse about what they can accomplish together in their remaining months as councilmen.
Kappler said he plans to ask Rittenhouse, “What things should we think about in terms of getting done?”
Rittenhouse also said the time constraints of serving as a councilman led him to re-evaluate a re-election bid. Mullet is running unopposed for the Position 1 seat held by Rittenhouse. Mullet would be the first Issaquah Highlands resident to serve on the council.
Kappler is best known for his environmental record. He ran for re-election two years ago as an opponent of the proposed Southeast Bypass. He later voted with other bypass opponents last year to kill plans the Tiger Mountain roadway.
Kappler faced criticism after the filing period for the 2007 city election when he filed for a council seat sought by John Traeger. At the last minute, Kappler withdrew his candidacy for the Position 6 seat and filed for another seat. The maneuver left Traeger as the sole candidate for the Position 6 seat. Traeger ascended to the council. Kappler went on to beat Bill Werner to retain a council seat.
Kappler considered stepping down ahead of the 2007 election, “but we didn’t have the right people” as candidates, he said.
He said he plans to complete his council term, which ends Dec. 31. He said he would continue to attend council meetings in his new role as a citizen activist.
“I’ll be there for all of the parks, trails and open space issues,” Kappler said.
Reach Reporter Warren Kagarise at 392-6434, ext. 234, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.