Expertise, openness and commitment to citizens makes him the best choice

The next four years stand to be among the Peninsula's busiest and most challenging in history. Not only is the long-awaited Lewis and Clark Bicentennial finally arriving, but several factors point toward intensified long-term development pressures on the Washington coast.

Long Beach selects a mayor next week, and this person will be important to success in this crucial period.

From Surfside and Ocean Park to Ilwaco and Chinook, the Peninsula area has leaders and involved citizens who are achieving great things. How well they do is largely, but not entirely, independent of what happens in Long Beach. Even so, the economic and geographical reality is that Long Beach does much to set the tone for the rest of the region.

Long Beach's beautification campaign and success in finding funds for it has been an inspiration. Its encouragement of development in the dunes has been more short-sighted. Its initiative in blazing the Discovery Trail, though divisive in Seaview, may pay dividends for our economy and lifestyle for generations to come, if the ocean doesn't move back in and gobble most of it.

Long Beach's mayor isn't all-powerful by any means. The city council and staff both play key roles. But the mayor is the public face of the city, the person to whom citizens and non-citizens alike turn for help, advice and effective communications.

Based on his experience, his proven track record of openness, backbone and winning disposition, we believe it's time to return Ken Ramsey to the mayor's office.

During his eight years in office in the 1990s, Ramsey helped start many of the improvements that have since transformed the town. It's easy to forget now, but these things weren't guaranteed, and often required major finagling and tough choices. His scorecard and decisions weren't perfect, but in his quiet and gentlemanly way, Ramsey got things done.

Out of office, he has continued active involvement in Long Beach and Peninsula issues, attending meetings and speaking up for sensible development that preserves what we love about our area, without shutting the door to vital private investments.

If he's elected, we expect him to manage community resources with an eye to looking after maintaining and enhancing standards of living. As far as new development is concerned, this means insisting on the best and being willing to fight piecemeal proposals that increase congestion while diluting the Peninsula's distinctive character.

We believed, and continue to think, that David Sexton was a good police chief. We are convinced there was nothing the least bit scandalous that led to his abrupt departure from office. He's a good man.

But for this job, at this time, Ken Ramsey deserves your vote.

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