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Originally published October 20, 2009 at 12:40 AM | Page modified October 20, 2009 at 12:40 AM

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For Bellevue Council, elect Orrico, Wallace, Davidson and Robertson

The Times editorial board recommends Vicki Orrico, Kevin Wallace, Don Davidson and Jennifer Robertson for Bellevue City Council positions.

THE economic downturn has provided a speed bump for Bellevue, a city that has experienced breathtaking growth in recent years.

The opening of The Bravern has further established Bellevue's role as a regional shopping destination in addition to a serious and successful business center.

But while the city grapples with revenue issues, its leaders must keep their eye on smartly managing the growth that will re-emerge as well as figuring out the best way to integrate light rail into what is a delightful downtown.

Bellevue is a city of strong neighborhoods that need tending. The city has just created an innovative, multiuse plan for the Bel-Red corridor to guide development for this important link to Redmond.

In Position 2, challenger Vicki Orrico remains our favorite over 16-year incumbent Conrad Lee because of what she wants to work for. The chairwoman of the Bellevue Planning Commission wants to ensure the city is on the right developmental track as it moves forward. She pledges to be more engaged on the council than Lee, and more effective.

Lee narrowly defended his seat four years ago when Orrico challenged him the first time. Then, he boasted he was the odd man out in more 6-1 votes than anyone else. But a maverick can be effective only when he persuades his colleagues to his point of view.

Developer Kevin Wallace should be elected to Position 4 over appointed Councilwoman Patsy Bonincontri.

His dynamic style and strong ideas about Bellevue will be an asset on the council, especially if he establishes strong collaborative relationships with his colleagues.

Bonincontri was appointed last year to fill Connie Marshall's unexpired term, but has failed to launch a serious campaign to retain the seat. Although prepared and knowledgeable, she lacks a strong vision for the city.

Veteran Councilman Don Davidson has a strong vision not only for Bellevue but where it fits in the region. His leadership and connections in and out of the city should earn him another term on the council.

His challenger, Michael Marchand, brings a growing civic résumé. A staffer for former Gov. Gary Locke, he has been chairman of the King County Boundary Review Board and involved with the Bellevue Schools Foundation. We hope he stays involved, but he does not make a strong case to replace the incumbent.

Position 7 is the seat made vacant by the sudden death of Councilman Phil Noble. Because of the timing, the election is between three very good candidates Mike Creighton, Jennifer Robertson and Betina Finley — all with long lists of credible community leadership.

By appointment, Creighton, who was a council member from 1996-2003, stepped in ably for Noble, his friend, and he is seeking to keep the seat.

But Jennifer Robertson earns the endorsement because she has mounted an impressive campaign and brings extensive recent knowledge about the city. As a former chair of the Bellevue Planning Commission and a six-year member, she was steeped in developing Bellevue's innovative Bel-Red policy.

The third candidate, Finley, is a compelling candidate who would make a good council member. We hope she stays involved in city issues.

Despite the economic downturn, Bellevue is a city that is still growing into its own as a major force in Puget Sound with challenges for smart development and integrating light rail.

To keep the city moving forward, the Times endorses Vicki Orrico, Kevin Wallace, Don Davidson and Jennifer Robertson.

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