OLYMPIA – Businessman Brian Tomlinson announced Monday he will run for Olympia City Council.
Tomlinson, 55, is a technician for CETEC Solutions, a California-based company that sells, installs and services cash registers. Among his priorities are partnering with other jurisdictions to grow the economy and plan for Budd Inlet restoration and partnering with neighborhoods to improve them. “My main message is partnership,” he said.
Tomlinson said he will run for Position No. 7, the seat that Councilman Steve Langer is vacating, which will have about two years left in the term at the time of the November election. Nonprofit leader Jim Cooper is also running for the job.
Langer, who was appointed to the seat formerly held by Joe Hyer, announced he’s running for Position No. 2, which is a full four-year term. That seat’s current occupant, Councilman Craig Ottavelli, announced he’s not seeking re-election.
Tomlinson said he has lived in Olympia for five years. He was born in Slatersville, R.I, and has a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from City University of Seattle. He said he’s been interested in politics for years.
“I had been on the fringes of public service and community service for a long time going back to when I campaigned for (current California governor) Jerry Brown for president” in 1976. “I was a family man and I was a workaholic and just could never find time for it.”
But his children are grown now, he said, and he’s not working as much. He said he’d like to see more partnership among businesses in downtown Olympia. He’d like to remove some of the “blighted buildings” in downtown.
“I think my biggest, my most ambitious plan is a multiuse sports complex in Olympia,” he said. It would have 5,000 seats, enough for an NHL-size hockey rink open for public skating and parties, and could also be converted into a soccer field, he said. He cites a facility in Wenatchee as a model.
Another goal is bringing Artspace, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit, to town. The group builds live-work developments for artists, and the City Council has pursued the group on and off for the last several years. The hangup has been the group wants public money to study the issue, and the artist housing idea became a lower priority in the down economy.
Tomlinson said he favors keeping Capitol Lake rather than turning it into an estuary “for now, until more could be learned about it.”
He said he disagreed with the council’s recent decision to cut $11,067 in funding to Centennial Station, the Amtrak train depot in Lacey. The city and other jurisdictions have agreed to fund maintenance of the station since it was built in 1993, but Olympia pulled out this year.
“I just want to listen to and really hear people and respect public opinion on city matters,” he said.