2017 General Election results: Kuh, Gibson get school board seats, McAleer retains Port position

Port of Port Angeles incumbent Colleen McAleer was leading challenger Michael Cobb for Sequim-area Position 1 on the board of commissioners while voters were headed toward approving a sales tax increase for juvenile detention facilities in countywide contests after the initial count of general election ballots on Nov. 7 and a second count on Nov. 13.

The Clallam County Auditor’s Office counted 22,002 votes out of 51,021 provided registered voters for a voter turnout of 43.12 percent as of Nov. 14.

Auditor Shoona Riggs expected at least another 2,305 ballots to come in after Nov. 7 in the all-mail election.

The next count of ballots will be 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 28.

McAleer, who has held her port commissioner seat since 2014, leads Cobb with 63.7 percent of the tallied votes (12,433 to 7,080), aiming to retain her Port of Port Angeles commissioner District 1 position.

The countywide juvenile justice tax measure had garnered 13,065 yes to 8,103 no votes, or 61.72 percent, as of Nov. 14.

If approved by a simple majority, the proposition would increase the sales tax by 0.1 percent to generate an estimated $1.1 million per year for equipment, repairs, maintenance and operations of the Juvenile and Family Services facility in Port Angeles, which detains and provides services to juveniles in Clallam County.

It would boost the overall sales tax in Clallam County to 8.5 percent.

The state pays about 40 percent of the costs of the facility. The rest is picked up in the county’s general fund budget. The agency is operating at a loss of $1.75 million to $2 million a year, Clallam County administrator Jim Jones said.

Sequim School Board

Brandino Gibson holds the lead for Sequim School Board’s director at-large, position No. 4, with a 60-39 lead (5,440 votes to 3,508) over Nola Judd.

Gibson, a supervisor for Clallam and Jefferson County WorkSource, is retired from the U.S. Air force and earned a degree in education development.

“It was very surreal,” Gibson said.

“The community overwhemingly surpported me and now I have responsiblity to the contituents whether they voted for me or not,” he said.

Judd said she wasn’t too disappointed with the election results.

“I think that all four of the candidates running for the school board are commendable, honorable people; they’ll do a good job,” Judd said.

“I think it’s really important to get involved in the community,” she said. “Joining the PTO or the school board are some areas where you can (make) some grassroots influence.”

Judd is a retired administrative assistant for the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, has experience in the clerical field for companies such as General Electric and Boeing and raised eight children, five of whom attended Sequim schools.

Jon Kirshbaum and Brian Kuh ran for Sequim School Board director position 2, a seat being vacated by Michael Howe.

Kuh, who was appointed to Bev Horan’s school board position after Horan resigned in March, holds a 66-34 lead (5,861 votes to 2,995) over Kirshbaum.

On Nov. 7, Kuh said he is ready to hit the ground running after the results are in.

“I appreciate the confidence of the voters,” Kuh said. “I was appointed before, which was an honor, but it’s a special feeling to have been confirmed by voters in Sequim.”

Kuh is Executive Director at EDC Team Jefferson and has three children attending Sequim schools.

“It’s not going to be an easy road with the new funding model by the state,” he said, “but I feel very fortunate to have had this opportunity to get up to speed and hit the ground running after results.”

Kirshbaum has educational and professional experience in the Chicago public school systems in the areas of educational administration, project management, analysis, school support services, system-wide re-engineering and strategic planning.

He said the the loss was a dissapointment but he hopes the school board is successful in the future.

“Unfortunately with the years of experience I had in the school system in Chicago it was a disspointment but life goes on and I hope and trust that the board will succeed in the coming years,” Kirshbaum said.

On Nov. 1, Howe resigned his school board position. School board directors indicated on Nov. 6 they would not appoint someone to fill his position with a new board member about to be elected.

Fire District

Incumbent Steve Chinn holds a commanding lead over Sean Ryan for Clallam County Fire District 3’s commissioner position 2. Chinn has 8,148 of the 10,078 tallied votes, or 80.85 percent.

“I’m just doing what I do,” Chinn said last Tuesday night.

“The one advantage is I’ve been in the community long enough — through the schools, the fire department, through the community — that I (was) more present than my opponent.”

Chinn and other Fire District 3 commissioners approved their 2018 budget earlier in the day. He said the fire district has some significant challenges ahead as they look at revenues and expenditures in the coming months.

“We’ve got to make some changes … but I’m optimistic,” he said.

Chinn was appointed to the seat following the retirement of long-time commissioner Richard Houts in 2016. He was both a volunteer and the part-time volunteer coordinator for the fire district following a 31-year teaching career in Chimacum and Sequim.

Port Angeles issues

Port Angeles voters exceeded the simple majority threshold in slamming down a measure to downgrade the city’s status from a code city to a second-class city, agreed to allow a hike in the debt limit for the William Shore Memorial Pool — paving the way to an expansion of the city’s only public pool — and opted in an advisory vote to tell the City Council to continue keeping fluoride out of the municipal water supply.

Port Angeles residents rejected Proposition 1, voting with more than 79 percent no votes to retain their form of city government, and voted by a 57.5-42.5 margin on Proposition 2 regarding water fluoridation. In addition, more than two-thirds of the 8,846 votes counted approved an increase to the debt limit for Port Angeles’ pool.

In Port Angeles City Council races, James (Jim) Moran leads Todd Negus for position 1 (65.5-34.5 percent), Mike French leads Jacob Oppelt for position 2 (70.3-29.7 percent), Lindsey Schromen-Wawrin leads Artur Wojnowski for position 3 (70.9-29.1 percent), and Kate Dexter leads Travis Berglund for the position 4 seat (53.1-46.9 percent).

Uncontested positions

A number of local political races went uncontested this fall, both in Sequim and Port Angeles. They include:

City of Sequim Council, position 3 — Ted Miller

City of Sequim Council, position 4 — Dennis Smith

City of Sequim Council, position 5 — Brandon Janisse

City of Sequim Council, position 5 — Bob Lake

Port Angeles School District, position 1 — Sarah Methner

Port Angeles School District, position 2 — Cindy Kelly

Port Angeles School District, position 4 — Sandy Long

Parks and Recreation District 1 (SARC), position 1 — Annajo (A.J.) Hitchcock

Parks and Recreation District 1 (SARC), position 1 — Frank Pickering

Port of Port Angeles, commissioner district 2 — Steven Burke.