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Hancock, Pascua, Stone seek vacant city council seat

Three local residents met last night's 6 p.m. deadline to submit applications for the Sunnyside City Council seat recently vacated by Don Vlieger.

The applicants include Theresa Hancock, Rey Pascua and Carol Stone.

Vlieger stepped down from his Position No. 1 seat on the Council in mid-May, citing family and business commitments. He served nearly seven and a half years on the Council. His Council seat is up for re-election this fall, and whichever of the three candidates are selected to replace him will have to seek voter approval come November.

Both, Hancock and Stone sought to be appointed to the Council last year, when Alex de la Cruz resigned to take a job out of state. The Council, instead, chose Paul Garcia to fill the seat.

Pascua is making his first bid at becoming a city councilman. Employed by the DSHS Children's Administration division office in Yakima since 1994, he has served as the chairman of the Sunnyside Civil Service Commission since 1995. Pascua has been a Commission member since 1988.

In responding to why he wants to serve on the City Council, Pascua said he believes he can contribute to Sunnyside in a more comprehensive and effective way by being a Council member.

"I believe in good and open government," he said. "I bring an open mind and energy to this candidacy, and want to do the best for all the citizens of the city.

"I have experience working in government, and with various organizations that I feel will assist me in performing this job," Pascua added.

Stone, who can claim to have one time worked at the historic Sunnyside Planter's Hotel, said she is seeking the open Council seat to serve the citizens of Sunnyside as their voice in city government.

"I have ability to be involved in the community-meet the people and know that I have life experiences in a variety of fields," Stone said in responding to what experiences and talents she possesses.

Stone, who rarely if ever misses a City Council meeting, said if appointed to the vacant seat, she will focus on community involvement and improving the quality of life in Sunnyside.

"I work well with others, and I am involved in numerous meetings for the Planning Commission, Board of Adjustment and other civic organizations," she said in her application.

Hancock, a 1976 Sunnyside High School grad, owns and operates the Funny Farm in Sunnyside-a retail card and gift shop that also doubles as a Washington state retail liquor store. She has served on the Sunnyside Planning Commission since last year, and in 2000 was named to Gov. Gary Locke's Retail Task Force on Liquor Sales. As a task force member, Hancock participated in preparing the report that recommended privatizing liquor sales through an all-contract liquor store model. She has also been a member of the board of directors for the Lower Valley Holding Corporation, which oversees the operations of Sunnyside's Black Rock Creek Golf Course, since 1997.

In responding to why she is seeking the appointment to the City Council, Hancock said she wants to participate in the process of improving Sunnyside.

"I hope to help in making Sunnyside the best community it can be," she said. "I believe it is the responsbility of all citizens to give back to their community in whatever capacity they are needed.

"I think I have the ability to identify issues and problem-solve.

"I bring no agendas to the table, other than the best interest of the city and its citizens," Hancock added.

A special meeting has been scheduled for Monday, June 6, at which time the City Council will provide each of the three candidates a 10-minute time period to make their case on why they should be selected. Mayor Ed Prilucik has indicated that following a short executive session that evening, City Council will give the nod to one of the three.

The one chosen to fill the Council seat is expected to be sworn in at the Council's regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, June 13.

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