Parks chair to run for City Council
May 6, 2011
By Tim Pfarr
Councilman Sonny Putter to retire
Parks Commission Chair Andrew Shelton announced in April that he will run for City Council this November in Position 4 — the position Councilman Sonny Putter occupies.
However, just before Shelton announced his intention to run, Putter announced he would retire at the end of the year, ending his 17-year stay on the council.
Shelton joins Deputy Mayor Steve Buri and Councilwoman Lisa Jensen on the November ballot. Buri and Jensen announced in March their intentions to seek re-election in positions 3 and 1, respectively. City Council positions are not divided geographically in the city.
Councilwoman Carol Simpson, who sits in Position 2, filed paperwork April 2 with the state Public Disclosure Commission, a precursor to running for election.
The deadline to file for election is June 10.
Shelton has lived in Newcastle since 2003; he grew up in Kirkland. He is a human resource advisor for Graham Group, a general contracting agency.
Shelton has a bachelor’s degree in history from Western Washington University, a master’s in labor relations and human resources from Michigan State University, and an master’s of business administration from the University of Maryland.
He has served on the Parks Commission since its inception in 2004; he has served as the commission’s chairman for the last three years. Prior to serving as chairman, he served as vice chairman for two years.
He said he is running for City Council to bring a new voice to the city and make Newcastle a better place to live and do business. He said he would support the parks and trails systems, as well as preserving the city’s environmental sanctuaries.
“It’s an opportunity to make an impact on the city that I care so much about,” Shelton said. “It’s a logical extension to the time that I’ve spent on the Parks Commission.”
He said he would bring the perspective of a resident who is an employee rather than a consultant or retiree, as many on the council fall in the latter categories.
Shelton said budgetary issues are the largest ones facing the city. He said he would support measures to attract businesses to Newcastle, as those would bring increased services to residents and more sales tax dollars to the city.
In addition to his work on the Parks Commission, Shelton volunteers in work parties in the city with organizations such as Newcastle Trails. He was a member of the Seattle Society of Human Resource Management in 2009.
David Edwards, a friend and Newcastle resident, will serve as Shelton’s campaign manager.
Shelton lives in Lake Washington Crest with his wife Wendy. His hobbies include playing golf, hiking, playing sports and gardening.
He has not yet scheduled a campaign kickoff party.
Shelton ran for City Council Position 2 against Simpson in 2007, but he was defeated.
Sonny Putter’s retirement
Putter was elected to the council in 1994, and he was re-elected in 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007. He also served as mayor from 2000-2001.
Putter said he decided not to run for re-election based on the direction the council is taking the city.
“We’ve got a less collegial, more corrosive atmosphere on the City Council,” he said. “Going forward, I didn’t think I could make a difference.”
He cited specific concerns with the stance the council has taken with respect to the city’s downtown area, as it directed the Planning Commission to explore changes to development codes without altering the comprehensive plan or the community business center plan, which detail the long-term vision for the city.
Putter announced the news in an email, acknowledging the progress the city has made since its 1994 incorporation.
“Newcastle is now ‘on the map,’” he wrote. “We have become a highly desirable place to live, all the while maintaining the green canopy of parks and open spaces that characterizes our community.
“Newcastle residents feel a sense of place, a sense of belonging to a real community of neighbors. Now, when we tell people that we live in Newcastle, they often respond, ‘Oh, you live in Newcastle,’ with eyebrows raised in admiration.”
Regionally, Putter is one of the city’s two representatives in the Eastside Transportation Partnership, of which he is vice chairman. He was also elected to serve as chair of the Suburban Cities Association’s Public Issues Committee in 2011.
Putter is Newcastle’s representative on the Eastside Corridor Tolling Study Executive Advisory Group, and he was a member of the I-405 Corridor Program Executive Committee.
In addition, he serves as a member of the Puget Sound Regional Council’s Executive Board and on the Metropolitan King County Regional Policy Committee. He previously served as a member of the Metropolitan King County Regional Water Quality Committee, the Regional Transit Committee and the King County Jail Advisory Committee.
From 2002-2004, Putter was co-chair of the Suburban Cities Intercity Cooperation Policy Board and a member of the organization’s executive committee, according to the Newcastle city website. In 2005, he was elected vice chairman of the Suburban Cities Association’s Public Issues Committee.