Former Councilman Bill Erxleben hopes to balance city budget

October 7, 2009

By Tim Pfarr

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Bill Erxleben

Bill Erxleben, a 10-year resident of Newcastle and former city councilman, is concerned about the city’s financial situation. He’s also concerned with the amount of new development city officials are planning in the current economic situation, and he said they need to balance the budget and live within the city’s means.

“We’re going to blow through our reserves in two years at the rate we’re going,” he said.

Erxleben said he has the skills necessary to help the city through this difficult time, as he balanced multimillion-dollar budgets in his career.

Erxleben graduated from Miami University in Ohio with a degree in business in 1963 and graduated from Stanford Law School in 1966. He was also a Sloan Executive Fellow at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.

He served with the United States Air Force from 1966-1968, and he worked as Seattle regional director of the Federal Trade Commission, executive assistant United States attorney, Washington state attorney general and as a faculty member at the University of Washington’s Graduate School of Business.

He also worked as president and CEO of Data I/O Corporation in Redmond, and as a partner with the Seattle law firm Lane Powell and the Bellevue law firm Foster Pepper. He is now an inactive lawyer.

In 2000, Erxleben joined the planning commission, becoming chairman after his first year. In 2001, he was appointed to the city’s finance committee, and he was appointed to the committee each year until 2006. In late 2001, he was appointed to the City Council; he resigned from the planning commission to take the position. In 2003, he was elected to the City Council.

During his time with the city, Erxleben led movements to pass an ordinance banning fireworks and to install sidewalks on both 116th Street and Newcastle Way, and he successfully worked to make Newcastle the first city on the Eastside to offer domestic partner benefits.

Erxleben said now is an important time for the city, as it could be in serious trouble if officials don’t start reprioritizing and living within the city’s means.

“If we don’t do that, we’re going to bankrupt the city. It’s as simple as that,” he said.

He also said he would like the city to hold an annual town hall meeting, where residents can tell city officials what issues they believe should receive priority, especially in monetary issues.

Erxleben said that if he is elected, he will treat the city’s finances with great care.

“My promise to you is that I will spend this money as if it is my own and yours,” he said.

Erxleben is against the city’s floor-area-ratio requirements that typically require multistory buildings in the downtown area, and he said the decision to build multistory buildings should be a developer’s, not the city’s. He said the city could also be placing itself in a risky position by subsidizing private developers to promote specific types of development, as it did with the library when it offered Lorig Associates a tax break for including affordable housing in the mixed-use project.

Erxleben also said he feels the city should consult Sen. Patty Murray in the fight for a ZIP code, since the city has now been denied a ZIP code three times.

Erxleben is endorsed by the King County Democratic Central Committee; King County Young Democrats; Sen. Margarita Prentice, of Renton, who is chairwoman of the state Senate Ways and Means Committee; Stu Allen, president of the Hazelwood Community Association; Gary Kampen, president of Newcastle Trails; Rob Sargent, of the board of directors of the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce; Giles Velte, former president of the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce; and multiple others. Visit Erxleben’s election Web site at www.vote4bill.org for a full list of his endorsements.

q What is the last book you read? “The World is Flat,” by Thomas Friedman
q What do you do for fun? Skiing, biking, hiking and riding my Vespa Scooter
q What is your best memory from when you were 18? With two college friends, working my way cross country one summer, from Indiana to Seattle, to attend and work at the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair
q How would your best friends describe you? Honest, intelligent, brave and funny, with a passion for truth-telling in politics
  • What is the last book you read? “The World is Flat,” by Thomas Friedman
  • What do you do for fun? Skiing, biking, hiking and riding my Vespa Scooter
  • What is your best memory from when you were 18? With two college friends, working my way cross country one summer, from Indiana to Seattle, to attend and work at the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair
  • How would your best friends describe you? Honest, intelligent, brave and funny, with a passion for truth-telling in politics
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