Today (Friday) at 4:30 p.m. is deadline to file for Jefferson County freeholder, park districts

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — After two days of a special three-day filing period, 29 people had filed candidacy papers hoping to become freeholders and guide the process of creating a Jefferson County charter.

The last filing opportunity for the position is today (Friday, Aug. 16).

Candidates can file between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the Auditor's Office in the Jefferson County Courthouse, 1820 Jefferson St.

Friday also is the last day that candidates for proposed parks districts in Port Ludlow and Kala Point can file.

Fifteen freeholders — five people from each county commissioner district — will be elected during the Nov. 5 general election to create the charter if voters also approve the process with a separate vote at the same time.

Each voter will be allowed to select five individuals.

The top five vote-getters will take office as freeholders.

If voters approve, the freeholders will be charged with creating a county charter and would have until June 20, 2015, to develop a charter, which then will be approved or rejected by voters.

Home-rule charters are permitted by the state constitution as a way for counties to provide forms of government that might differ from the commission form prescribed by state law.

Jefferson County now has three elected commissioners.

Home-rule charters, such as that in Clallam County, also can provide the powers of initiative and referendum to the voters of their counties.

The issue drew a lot of interest at a presentation held Monday night about how to run for office. Some 60 people attended, and the most popular topic was how to run to be a freeholder.

So far, 13 people have filed for freeholder positions in District 1, five in District 2 and 11 in District 3. They are:

District 1: Former County Commissioner Richard Wojt, Peg Furey, Douglas Milholland, Jim Rough, Richard Coker, David Goldman, Dennis Schultz, Gary Embrecht, John Wood, Julia Cochrane, Joan Best, O'Neill Louchard and Raven (no other name given).

District 1 includes the city of Port Townsend and the adjacent area.

District 2: Dick Shipman, Ravey Kierann, Robert W. Jackson, David Harrah and David Cunningham.

District 2 covers Cape George, Kala Point, Nordland, Chimacum, Port Hadlock, Irondale and Four Corners.

District 3: Jim Boyer and Diane Johnson, both of whom unsuccessfully ran for county commissioner in 2010; Davis Steelquist; Norm Norton; Larry Hovde; Ed Jaramillo; Brinnon Parks Commissioner Nicole Black; Dan Toepper; Bob Pontius and Craig Durgan, who unsuccessfully ran for the state Legislature in 2010 and 2012; and Jefferson County Public Utility District Commissioner Wayne King.

District 3 covers southeast Jefferson County, then extends west to the Pacific Coast and the communities of Kalaloch and Queets.

Freeholder candidates are assessed a $25 filing fee, while there is no fee for the parks commissioner positions.

Freeholder candidates who cannot afford the filing fee can present a petition with 25 valid nominating signatures instead.

Two Jefferson County communities, Port Ludlow and Kala Point, have filed petitions to create park districts.

Each would have voters elect a five-member board that will have taxing authority and can apply for grants to support recreation programs.

In Port Ludlow, those filing were Mike Brainerd, Lani Bartlett and former Jefferson County Republican Chairman Ron Gregory.

In Kala Point, the only person who has filed for the proposed board is Jerry Bamburg.

Supporters of the proposed districts have said their efforts are reactions to a proposed creation of a joint city-county metropolitan parks district, which could go before voters in 2014.

They want to be exempt from such a district and have local control.

The Kala Point and Port Ludlow elections follow the same two-step process as the proposed switch to a county charter system.

If voters approve the district, then the elected commissioners will be seated.

Jefferson County elections coordinator Karen Cartmel said that if three commissioners are seated, they can appoint the other two if no one else files.

She did not know what would happen if only one candidate files for the five positions.

“I think people will file but are just waiting for the last minute,” she said.

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Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: August 15. 2013 10:46PM
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