QA Hoquiam Council — John Wiedl and Richard Pennant


The Daily World is running a question and answer series with the candidates for Hoquiam City Council.

Richard Pennant

Pennant, 63, is a real estate investor who has owned and managed Pennant Properties for 20 years. He also has experience in the music industry, leading several rock bands since high school.

Why are you running for Hoquiam City Council? What makes you a good candidate for the job?

I am running for City Council because I honestly think I can do a good job. Why am I a good candidate? Look — I sold real estate for a living for almost 30 years. You want to learn how to think fast, think creatively? Try commission sales. Either you figure things out pretty quick or you don’t eat. My goal at the time I was licensed was to buy enough real estate to stop selling it. I accomplished that some years back. If elected my goal will be to attend every Council meeting and be an active participant. I have attended enough meetings to be familiar with the process. After almost 15 years, I am invested in this town, both financially and emotionally. I would like to be a small part of shaping its future.

In recent months, the Hoquiam City Council has passed rate increases for water and stormwater. Wastewater rate increases could come before the council soon. What’s your take on rate increases to replace infrastructure?

Nobody, myself included, wants to see a higher water/sewer bill arrive in the mail. Common sense dictates however that I have to agree with Brian Shay on the need to upgrade the system. Simply put, this is one of those problems that becomes more expensive to solve the longer you ignore it.

Crude-by-rail has been a topic of debate in the region for a while. What are your thoughts?

I am against crude-by-rail. I was at a Port meeting recently where the Railroad Safety Director for this region admitted that the oil would be be transported in single-wall and not double-wall tank cars that were NOT specifically designed to carry this highly volatile product. Let’s start with THAT. After the little incident up in Quebec where 47 citizens got vaporized, you would think the railroads would be spending their money on safer methods of transport instead of full page ads about jobs. That is how this lunacy is being pitched to us monosyllabic stump-jumpers. “JOBS JOBS JOBS!!”

Fortunately, the Washington State Shorelines Hearings Board has remanded the permits back to the City of Hoquiam. While we are waiting to see what happens next, may I make a suggestion? Go to www.cleanharbor.org and start reading. Go ahead- it’s your future at stake here too. Invest a few hours educating yourself while you still can. Paperwork from the City of Hoquiam and the Environmental Checklists from Imperium and Westway are there, as well as the expert testimony submitted on behalf of the Quinaults and others, which is what I am currently wading through. Hundreds of pages, all kinds of information,and interesting stuff too- did you know, for example, that Imperium and Westway combined would be spewing over 60,000 metric TONS of greenhouse gases per year into the air over Washington? Sounds significant to me. Oil coming to Grays Harbor would jeopardize jobs, not create them. It is not and never was about jobs anyway. It’s about MONEY.

The real sweet spot on this deal, the capper, the punch line if you will, is the planned location of U.S. Development at Bowerman Field. You know, right next to a Bird Sanctuary? A National Wildlife Refuge? A Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network Site?? A quick consult with Mr. Webster reveals that a sanctuary is “a refuge for wildlife where predators are controlled.” Well, we certainly have no shortage of predators around here of late. The question is can we control them?

The city has been taking steps to revitalize downtown in recent years, with sidewalk replacements and the creation of a historic district among recent projects. What would you like to see happen in downtown Hoquiam?

I think a lot of folks who grow up in a big city have a hankering to chuck it all and move to a small town. Finding Hoquiam was our catalyst. I love the fact that Hoquiam is an entity unto itself. You can walk to everything! If you don’t trip and fall on your face, that is. There are new sidewalks coming to K Street, and that is aces for those of us who live on K….. but what about everybody else? I am aware that levies have come up for a vote in the past and lost, but there must be a solution. Our sidewalks are in a deplorable condition. I don’t know what the solution is but I would like to help find it.

Incumbent John Wiedl’s name also appears on the general election ballot. Weidl has yet to return his questionaire to The Daily World.