Interest mounts in making Jefferson a charter county: 51 run for 15 freeholder positions
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Jefferson County Elections personnel Karen Cartmel and Betty Johnson (in front) draw ballot position lots on Friday afternoon as candidates (from left) John Wood, Ravey Kierann, Raven and Paul Richmond observe the process. -- Photo by Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — Fifty-one people filed for 15 positions on the Nov. 5 ballot, showing that interest is high in becoming one of the freeholders who will craft a charter that could redefine Jefferson County government.

Five people from each county commissioner district will be elected during the 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 preferences of voters who choose more than five will not be counted, Jefferson County Auditor Donna Eldridge said.

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

District 1, which includes the city of Port Townsend and the adjacent area, has the most candidates of any of the other district: 20

Fifteen filed for the seats in District 2, which covers Cape George, Kala Point, Nordland, Chimacum, Port Hadlock, Irondale and Four Corners.

Sixteen filed in District 3, which covers southeast Jefferson County and then extends west to the Pacific coast and the communities of Quileute, Kalaloch and Queets.

If voters approve, the freeholders will be charged with developing by June 20, 2015, a county charter, which then will be weighed 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 candidates who have filed in the three districts are:

District 1: County Assessor Jack Westerman, former County Commissioner Richard Wojt, former Port Townsend City Council member George Randels, 2012 county commissioner candidate Tim Thomas, 2010 District Court candidate John Wood, former City Councilman Bob Sokol, David Wayne Johnson, Michael Legarsky, Peg Furey, Douglas Milholland, Jim Rough, Richard Coker, David Goldman, Dennis Schultz, Gary Embrecht, Julia Cochrane, Joan Best, O'Neill Louchard, Bernie Arthur and Raven.

District 2: 2010 county prosecutor candidate Paul Richmond, Dick Shipman, Ravey Kierann, Robert W. Jackson, David Harrah, James Fritz, Michael Reagan, John Jamison, John Geiser, Gene Farr, Jim Pearson, Henry Werch, Mark Clark, Chris Hanson and David Cunningham.

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

Five people filed to fill board positions for a proposed Port Ludlow park district, while 10 filed for the proposed Kala Point park district board.

The five-member boards would have taxing authority and could apply for grants to support recreation programs if voters approve the creation of the park district.

In Port Ludlow, those filing were Mike Brainerd, Lani Bartlett, Arthur Moyer, Peggy Manspeaker and Gregory, who also is seeking a freeholder seat.

All are unopposed, which means they will take office by acclamation if voters approve the creation of the park district.

In Kala Point, all five positions are contested.

The candidates are:

Position 1, David Gooding and Kristy Cummins; Position 2, Rick Peirson and Don Marioni; Position 3, Harold Glantz and Pat Miles; Position 4, Jay Burcham and Jerry Bamburg; and Position 5, David Miller and Jay Garthwaite.

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.

At a forum last Monday, candidates were told they could file for only one position, but the Auditor's Office determined Friday that the restriction did not apply.

Gregory, who had filed for a parks commissioner seat Wednesday, filed for a freeholder position Friday afternoon.

Supporters of the proposed districts have said they want to be independent from a proposed joint city-county metropolitan parks district, which could go before voters in 2014.

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

Last modified: August 17. 2013 11:51PM
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