Meet Howard Lee, Candidate For University Place City Council

He is running for Position 7 against Caroline Belleci.

Howard Frank Lee


Where do you work and what is your job title?



When and Where Were You Born?

1940, Michigan


Where do you live now and how long have you lived there?

University Place; 33 years


Spouse or domestic partner if any:

Barbara Lee married 46 years



Adult children Skip and Caroline


Education (include graduation date(s), if any):

Bachelor of Business Science, accounting and economics, Western Michigan University 1964

Attended numerous professional schools while in the Navy.


Military Service (include year(s) of discharge, if any):

Retired from US Navy with an Honorable Discharge after 23 years of service, 1988

Commanding Officer of four naval ships, the largest a guided missile frigate.

As a Master in the Merchant Marine I commanded numerous ships before retiring after 15 years.

Memberships and affiliations with clubs and other organizations: Tacoma Rifle and Revolver Club, Board of Directors, Chairman of the Finance Committee;

Friends of Homestead Park;

University Place Historical Society


Have you or a business you owned (or had principal interest in) ever filed bankruptcy?



As an adult, have you been convicted or charged with a crime other than a minor traffic violation?




Web site: www.ElectHowardLee.org

Email Address: Support@ElectHowardLee.org

Phone number: 253-229-5787

Campaign manager: Myself

Campaign manager contact information: Same as above



Elected: Never held public office

Other campaigns for public office: None



What is the primary reason you are running for this office?

To effect a change in both the philosophy and direction in the management of University Place, as well as introduce accountability to all levels of our city government.


What will be your top three priorities if you get elected and why? 

Debt reduction is my top priority. University Place is mired in long-term debt, which is directly the result of the unsuccessful Town Center project. This debt has dramatically reduced the city’s fiscal flexibility, especially during the protracted recession we are now enduring. This has resulted in a lost opportunity for maintaining normal levels of city services, parks and recreation, street maintenance and repair, neighborhood sidewalks, streetlights and sewers, during a period when construction costs are at historic lows.

My second priority is to create a business friendly environment in UP so businesses will want to locate here, thrive, and stay. Businesses are the life blood of our city as they generate revenue, create jobs, and provide services. Debt reduction requires the generation of revenue and city officials making fiscally sound management decisions. For UP to survive, our businesses have to thrive!

My third priority is representing our citizens by listening carefully, rather than assuming I know what is best.


What sets you apart from the other candidates and/or previous office holders?

Unencumbered by having been personally involved in past governmental decisions, I will be open minded when problem solving and provide a fresh outlook on unresolved issues. Even as our economic condition turned into a recession, city officials consistently failed to show the flexibility required to change direction and turn disaster into a success. I am accustomed to being personally being held both to a high level of accountability and using a common sense approach to problem solving. I will bring this management style to city hall.


How much money do you expect your campaign to spend on this election?

I owe it those generous supporters who have contributed to my campaign to spend wisely, whatever it takes to win and advocate change.


Official endorsements:

Javier Figueroa, University Place Council Member

Master Builders Association of Pierce County 

Other endorsements can be found on my web site: www.ElectHowardLee.org

Rachel Lauzon August 05, 2011 at 03:02 AM
*doesn't. I'm still wishing for the edit button.
Stephen August 05, 2011 at 03:16 AM
Jonathan, your condescension never ceases to amaze me. I remember when you ‘had’ to school us all on ‘basic taxation’ your sage ways so impressed me that I quit my daily visit to the Patch. Now I come back and find you still willing to share your voluminous knowledge on—well, everything. You are so willing to share your wisdom with everybody.
Jonathan August 05, 2011 at 03:25 AM
Wow sorry for interrupting your fact-free comfort zone Stephen. Not really though. :)
Jonathan August 05, 2011 at 03:28 AM
Chris, be honest with me. Are you really oblivious to Dan Carnrites noted sock puppetry or were you just pretending to be oblivious because you liked what his sock puppets were saying? This is a serious question.
Jonathan August 05, 2011 at 03:35 AM
To me what it means is that when the stakes are low he's not too proud to have his ideas challenged(an admirable quality). But when the stakes are high he wants to avoid it(a less admirable, but very human quality).
Jonathan August 05, 2011 at 03:47 AM
Does it mean that your husband Stephen used some wire cutters on your Internet connection to protect you from diverse opinions(and maybe typos)? And now you've left him, got a restraining order, and some Internet of your own? Why am I being asked to speculate? Seems like none of my business but I'm glad to see you back. ;)
Christie Anderson August 05, 2011 at 03:51 AM
I find the whole notion of "sock puppetry" hillarious.....or rather, the use of the term "sock puppetry" is what I find hillarious. Mostly because I have a relative who used to put on "sock puppet" shows as a child, and being the elder cousin, of course I thought it silly (a kinder word than stupid, which is how I referred to it as a teen) ....but I digress...back to your question. I was not and have not been aware of Dan Carnrite employing "sock puppetry" online or in any other venue, although, I do recall reading your accusations of his doing so. But it should be asked, does it really matter? I merely like to remind you of the terminology you used, which I found, as I have said, to be hillarious. I prefer the word "pseudonyms" or "alter-egos" to define multiple personas, though they are not nearly as humorous!
Christie Anderson August 05, 2011 at 03:58 AM
Perhaps he's out compaigning and sign waving....there is an election this year after all.
Jonathan August 05, 2011 at 04:14 AM
"Sock puppet" is an Internet term of art, just like "spam" or "troll". It only matters to the extent that open and honest debate matters. It's considered a great offense under the rules of "netiquette". Your reference to a sock puppet show is apt because sock puppetry on the Internet refers to one person wearing multiple puppets(personas) who will carry on a conversation with themselves just like a children's sock puppet show.
Christie Anderson August 05, 2011 at 04:18 AM
Yes, I know....I "googled" the term to find out it's meaning.
Rachel Lauzon August 05, 2011 at 04:27 AM
Jonathan, it merely means I choose to comment when I see fit and know that an intellectual debate or conversation will occur, and I’ve learned you are not one who would be involved in either. Are you seriously commenting on typos? How quickly you forget I asked Stephen stop commenting on your typos, and now you see fit to comment on mine? Is that all you can muster up? I've always here Jonathan, so fear not. I would appreciate it if you'd leave personal attacks out of our conversation, but I know how that is where to lean when you have nothing better to say.
Stephen August 05, 2011 at 04:44 AM
Right, I am just a big ol' ostrich with my head in the sand. Surely you can enlighten me. You are, by all your claims, an expert in so many fields. Perhaps you are a Machiavellian man, we find so few these days. You’re a scholar, an expert statesman, a tax champ, a netiquette maven, a military affairs specialist and omniscient whistleblower against all sock puppetry and such poppycock and tomfoolery. And, by the way, you’re right; we did get rid of our Internet connection, now we just steal wireless from the neighbors like everybody else.
Jonathan August 05, 2011 at 05:49 AM
It was not a comment on your typo(which i still don't see). It was a reference to Stephen's tendency to correct other people's typos. So you and I both agree it is a impolite practice. So save your criticism for him but if I were you I would tone it down a notch.
Jonathan August 05, 2011 at 06:08 AM
I thought the nerds vs. jocks wars ended in the 90s with the nerds winning handily. I apologize for being geeky about such a wide range of topics Stephen. Nobody before you has ever had the courtesy to warn me that I ought to keep whatever knowledge and expertise I acquire over the course of my life on the down low.
Christie Anderson August 05, 2011 at 06:29 AM
ROFLMAO @ Stephen!!!!!!!!!!!
Jonathan August 05, 2011 at 07:13 AM
We have never spoken in person. The patch Howard likes to try and tease me by addressing me with juvenile variations of my last name in the style of a grade school bully. Do you think if I talk to the real Howard he will stick with that practice? Or has he matured past it since he filled for office? Perhaps he will turn out to be University Place's own version of "Mr Rogers". Even then, considering his opponent is hands down the most qualified candidate running for office this season, and considering Howard is the least qualified(excepting Mr. Mollnow, as usual) then I wouldn't get my hopes up for a breakthrough between us.
Christie Anderson August 05, 2011 at 05:08 PM
jonathan....again I must disagree with you. While caroline has a plethora of volunteer hours on record as a planning commisioner, it doesn't actually mean she's the best CHOICE for the council. Heck if choinier was qualifications were enough to be elected, (his opponent has everyone beat regarding community service/volunteerism as a city founder) the argument of experience versus inexperience doesn't hold with me. I personally feel that candidates this season should be considered not only for job/volunteer experience but by temperament as well; by who is best suited for council given the current state of things in the city and the mountainous debt we as taxpayers are facing due to the town center debacle. So, are these two candidates qualified? Yes....are both suited to the position? No.
Christie Anderson August 05, 2011 at 05:09 PM
Only Howard is suited to the position based on several factors; his military and educational background and temperament gives him the experience needed for a council position. He is willing to listen to constituents, which I have witnesses his opponent to be reluctant to do ( and most rudely too) as planning commission chair. I have seen her in both planning commission and council meetings treat fellow commissioners/councilmembers with distain by being hostile, argumentative and insulting to the point of absurdity. There's more, but unless asked I shall not expand furture upon her behavior. I feel she, as a planning commissioner thickly involved with Town Center planning, was/is part of the problem. Since she was appointed to the council her decissions haven't improved; she voted for more spending/dept and the same line of management that we, and future residents will be paying for well into this 21st centruy.
Jonathan August 05, 2011 at 10:37 PM
Chris, you have made the same claim, that some council member "doesn't listen to constituents", about every council member you have ever opposed. It's as if you believe that if a council member would "listen" then they should surely agree with your views. But since they don't agree with your views they must not be listening. I don't buy it. You have played this card too many times and it has lost its meaning. By your logic, anybody that ever worked in support of establishing downtown area in UP is unqualified to hold office because of their link to the past. By extension, any citizen who supported the development of town center is unqualified to vote. Makes no sense. We need people on the council that understand how we got here. Howard appears to have no knowledge or connection to anything that happened in the City before he retired. How does a guy live here for 35 years without any community involvement? The reason Howard is unqualified is not because his lack of community experience. It's because his lack of experience has left him without any concept of how the city council, the City, and the larger community function. Why should we put someone at the helm of our city when they don't even understand what makes it float?
Christie Anderson August 06, 2011 at 03:21 AM
jonathan...you said "Chris, you have made the same claim, that some council member "doesn't listen to constituents"..." Well, they don't. During public comment at council meetings, constituents are either patronized, interrupted or lectured, and that's just not right. It belittles them. All you have to do is watch UPTV archival meetings to see what I mean. I was at a planning commission meeting where a group of citizens came to express concerns duiring public comment about a possible "cottage style housing project" at the new colgate park (pre-colgate friends group) to speak and caroline came over and yelled at a city council member "WHY DID YOU BRING ALL THESE PEOPLE HERE!?" Now if she didn't want to listen to concerned taxpaying citizens as a commissioner, it's likely she'd respond the same as a councilmember. The way she has treated and currently treats councilmembers can also be called into question. Why do I mention this? To reitterate her unsuitablility for the position she wishes to retain.
Christie Anderson August 06, 2011 at 03:25 AM
jonathan....you said "The reason Howard is unqualified is not because his lack of community experience. It's because his lack of experience has left him without any concept of how the city council, the City, and the larger community function." Now THAT's hillarious, especially when our illustrious city council was called onto the carpet for violating the open public meeting act, not just once, but numerous times....and you claim Howard wouldn't know how things are done?? LOL...you crack me up!
Stephen August 06, 2011 at 04:35 AM
Jonathan, do you mean, "...an impolite practice..."?
Jonathan August 06, 2011 at 07:32 AM
This is non sequitur. Wether the City has or has not violated opens meeting laws has no relevance to the question of wether Howard understands how government functions.
Jonathan August 06, 2011 at 07:50 AM
I have watched all the archive meetings and have never seen her belittle a constituent. Please refer to the specific meeting were I can see this happen. However I do really admire the way she doesn't tolerate abuse dished out by council member Figueroa. It's one of here best qualities and reduces the yelling people have to do at their tv screens. I wish the rest of the council would also hold Figueroa to account for his unprofessionalism.
Christie Anderson August 06, 2011 at 02:40 PM
LOL...illogial statemnt? I think not. How can you know what Howard Lee knows? you have made assumptions about Him based of verbal sparrings at Patch. And you still crack me up! LOL!!!....btw, Carl thanked you for your endorsement! If we're really lucky the primary outcome will give us a candidate debate which will allow us another view of Carl's dentures! :-))
Dr. Curt Oland August 06, 2011 at 06:02 PM
I find it interesting you call Figueroa unprofessional. Now grant it I don't attend as many council meetings as you do. I think Javier is a little blunt, but I think the council needs a little jolt. The rest of the council, especially Eric, reminds of of the love fest they probably had at Jonestown right before they drank the Kool aid. I feel it is more unprofessional to sigh heavily and roll your eyes while someone else is speaking. Nobody likes it when someone points out flaws, but things will never change if we all loving and blindly go along with the status quo.
Stephen August 07, 2011 at 06:46 AM
I finally met Howard (and his wonderful wife Barbara) face to face today at UP Fest, and as best I could tell, he wasn't a sock puppet. I had a nice long talk with him on several different topics and it just solidified my decision to vote for him. I think he is an excellent choice for the council. The city faces some real tough decisions in the next few years and those on the council that are clinging to the Town Center with white knuckles and bloody fingernails are not helping the citizens of University Place. Government at every level is going to have some real tough choices in the coming years and I'd feel safe knowing I helped to put Howard Lee on the UP City Council to be a voice of reason, a voice of fiscal conservatism that hopefully can help steer us through the difficult waters ahead.
Christie Anderson August 07, 2011 at 01:06 PM
"However I do really admire the way she doesn't tolerate abuse dished out by council member Figueroa." Not being tolerant of alleged abuse doesn't condone her own abuse of another councilmember, or anyone else for that matter.
Christie Anderson August 08, 2011 at 03:51 AM
Well said Stephen! Sorry I missed you and Rachel at UP Fest. I didn't get off work until 4:30pm and only made it over at about 5:30ish so I'd be available to help Howard, Ken, Kent and the Historical Society break down their booths. Perhaps I'll see you at the next council meeting.....I'll bring the popcorn! :-))
Stephen August 08, 2011 at 07:00 AM
Maybe we'll start going again once school starts.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something