KIRO NEWSRADIO OPINION

‘Gee and Ursula’: Bonney Lake mayor search reveals ‘tea’ on candidate

Mar 18, 2024, 8:24 PM

Image: Photo of "The Ascent" by Larry Anderson...

Photo of "The Ascent" by Larry Anderson (Photo courtesy of the City of Bonney Lake)

(Photo courtesy of the City of Bonney Lake)

The City of Bonney Lake is searching for a new mayor after the former mayor accepted a job with the Puyallup Tribe of Indians.

The city, which appoints a mayor instead of electing one, posted the open position last Wednesday. Although, Deputy Mayor Terry Carter is serving as the mayor in the interim.

Council members debate applications for Bonney Lake mayor

According to The News Tribune of Tacoma, the decision to allow applicants wasn’t an easy one. Council member Gwendolyn Fullerton voted against it, saying the city doesn’t have a policy outlining what happens when a mayor steps down and, therefore, must rely on state law. The law says an incumbent council member can be appointed to fill the vacancy.

More from Ursula Reutin: The Burien homeless crisis highlights an even bigger problem

Fullerton argued they should not take applications and give the position to Carter.

“Carter was appointed,” Fullerton said to the Tribune. “We gave him our faith and trust.”

However, as Carter positioned himself to become mayor, things about his past came to light.

“If you want to find out about yourself, try to be mayor or something like that,” co-host Gee Scott said during Monday’s “Gee and Ursula Show.” “Try to be high up there and then you’ll find out all of the tea about yourself or you find out about someone.”

Investigation into Deputy Mayor Terry Carter

In 2021, Crosscut reported Carter “broke the law” after he “failed to report suspected child abuse.”

During that time, Carter was an officer in the Pacific Police Department and an elected council member in Bonney Lake.

Crosscut documented records showing the department suspended Carter earlier in 2021 for “letting child abuse and neglect cases sit dormant.”

In 2013, as reported by Crosscut, an investigation in Bonney Lake cited Carter for several policy violations and he was put on a list of officers with credibility issues, referred to as the Brady List.

Gee said when he heard the news about Carter he felt both discouraged and encouraged.

“I think that society is turning over a new leaf. Things that were maybe OK and not talked about years ago are not OK anymore,” Gee said. “There are people (on) our text line that have been talking about this. This is, obviously, a conversation and it is a big deal for some. Ursula, I’m encouraged now that people are no longer, just because you’re in a certain profession, they are allowing some of these things to go untalked about. We are in a new day now. This isn’t an attack on anyone. This is basically saying, ‘Uh, hello, hold up, wait a minute, this is concerning. Let’s discuss.'”

“Gee and Ursula” co-host Ursula Reutin said she liked Gee’s “optimism” but the issues about Carter have come up in the past and people “maybe didn’t pay attention or people turned a blind eye.”

Appointing a mayor vs. voting for one

Producer Andrew Lanier said the issue brings up a bigger point: Whether mayors should be appointed or elected.

More from ‘Gee and Ursula’: Should judges be elected or appointed?

Ursula agreed, saying people on the council might not want a person to be mayor, but in the case of Carter, he had already been on the council for six years.

“He claims that it was his work at the Bonney Lake Police Department that made him want to become a city council member. But again, there are enough issues that put him on the Brady List, which basically means you’re not trustworthy,” Ursula said.

From there, Gee asked: “For some of you that live in Bonney Lake, did you notice what’s going on? Did you even know that your mayor stepped down?”

Gee then said it goes back to the discussion of appointing rather than voting.

“When that person messes up, nobody can do anything because they’re untouchable because the voters elected elected him. So essentially that person who’s not doing a good job, the voters are like, well, they answer to you, the voters, not anyone else. So, there’s a downside to both sides,” he said.

Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m.- noon on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Gee and Ursula Show

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‘Gee and Ursula’: Bonney Lake mayor search reveals ‘tea’ on candidate