Challengers for Port Townsend City Council vow ‘sea change’ if they’re elected
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Position 1 City Council candidates Bob Jauntz and Michelle Sandoval. -- Photo by Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — The face of the City Council will change considerably if the incumbents are turned out of office, one of the challengers vowed Monday.

Bob Jautz said at a Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce forum at the Elks Club that he was speaking for himself and fellow challenger Patrick Moore.

“If Pat and I are elected, there will be a sea change in the city government,” Jautz said.

“There will be a move in the council’s attitude toward how [City Council member] Bob Gray thinks because he is my mentor with his efforts to keep Port Townsend on a more level fiscal policy.

“It will be a change the other way because there will be more 4-3 votes.”

Gray, who was elected in 2011, has been the sole opposition in several 6-1 votes during his term, with most of his dissenting votes in connection with city expenditures.

Jautz, who is running for the Position 1 seat against incumbent Michelle Sandoval, appeared alongside Sandoval and Position 2 candidates Moore and Catharine Robinson before an audience of about 60 people at the Chamber of Commerce’s weekly meeting.

Also appearing was Position 5 candidate Pamela Adams, who is competing in the Nov. 5 all-mail election with Harold Sherwood.

Sherwood was absent because of a twisted back.

Adams, who is a chiropractor, joked that she could have helped Sherwood although she isn’t licensed in Washington “and the results wouldn’t be very good for him.”

Moore and Jautz criticized the city’s fiscal condition while Robinson and Sandoval, both elected in 2001 and the council’s longest serving members, credited the council for helping the city weather tough financial times.

“In the 12 years I have been serving, we have had infrastructure replacement at the top of our list,” Sandoval said.

“We have done great things with Upper Sims Way and the Civic Plaza, and the Maritime Center is bringing us great rewards.

“We’ve done a tremendous amount of work considering the world’s worst economic collapse.”

“This level of debt has raised the debt service to a point where it isn’t sustainable,” Jautz said.

“We have to spend what is absolutely necessary and not spend on things that will make the downtown look nice.”

“The main thing that I would do if I am elected is to think before we act,” Moore said.

“Everything that you see in council mostly is solved through tax increases, but are there other possibilities? There has to be another way in order to balance our budget and actually stick to the budget at hand.

“This is one of the problems that the city has today, that each department doesn’t stick to their budget.”

“City government is about our shared community,” Robinson said.

“It is about our shared needs of law and justice, infrastructure and fire protection.

“We’re all here and we are all in this together because we aren’t getting any help from the outside.”

Robinson said it was important for voters to retain her and Sandoval because of the “historical memory and perspective” that the two provide because several high-level staff members are near retirement.

“With the potential to lose so much institutional memory in staff in the next few years, it’s crucial for city government to keep the elected institutional memory in place to aid with that transition.”

“There will be issues for the council to grapple with,” Adams said of the upcoming term.

“Sure. we’ll have some challenges but it’s not a time to be discouraged.

“It’s time to get all together between City Council, the county, the Chamber of Commerce, the and the hospital to get creative and move this town forward.”

Voting in the all-mail election begins after ballot distribution to registered voters Oct. 16. It will continue until 8 p.m. Nov. 5.

The free North Olympic Peninsula Voter Guide, published by the Peninsula Daily News, will appear starting Oct. 18.

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

Last modified: October 07. 2013 6:32PM
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