In the 4th Division, there are three candidates vying for the seat, and again, all would make fine commissioners.
But this is an important seat. In the recent past, the seat was filled by longtime Commissioner Dennis Hunter, who at times proved to be the swing vote. More often than not, he sided with the more conservative element of the commission, but was known to be an independent thinker not completely averse to breaking rank.
That need for a strong and independent swing voter continues. If Wilson retains his seat, which we believe is likely, which of the three candidates for 4th Division commissioner would best serve as an independent decision-maker?
While John Ash can bring a great perspective and background as an architect to board, and Susan Penn should be commended for her dedication as a regular attendee at harbor district meetings, the editorial board feels Marks is the most well-rounded candidate for the position.
Marks is a life-long Democrat, and has serious progressive credentials. He believes strongly in the conservation and recreation roles the district holds. Yet his No. 1 priority, appropriately, is jobs. He's spent a career working with his hands and heart, trying to make a good living while at the same time endeavoring to improve the working conditions of his fellow employees.
Marks, we believe, has elements of both political camps in his blood. And on a commission that is deeply divided, we believe he'd function well as an arbiter of compromise. He's done it before, in countless labor negotiations between management and workers, and we think that experience will come in handy without costing either side their primary goals.
Therefore, we're happy to endorse Richard Marks for 4th Division harbor commissioner.