Candidate-filing week for the Nov. 8 election is still four months away, but elected office-holders and those who follow their comings and goings are already stirring the political stew.
For them, July 25-July 29 is just around the corner.
With 86 positions open on city councils, school boards, hospital boards, port commissions and fire district commissions across the North Olympic Peninsula, politics this fall will be massively local.
There are 42 positions up for election in Clallam County, and 44 in Jefferson.
Most incumbents interviewed by the Peninsula Daily News said they intend to run for re-election, or are leaning in that direction.
With fluoridation and the graving yard taking up large chunks of the Port Angeles City Council’s time, members of three citizens’ groups say they may congeal behind candidates that fit their political agendas.
‘You have plan ahead’
These groups are the Nu Dawn Coalition, Crabgrass Alliance and Clallam County Citizens for Safe Drinking Water.
“You have to plan ahead,” said Jesse Wilson, president of the anti-water fluoridation Citizens for Safe Drinking Water.
Wilson is not a candidate, though he’s already been asked if he is, he said.
“We have to have someone who’s a willing and viable person to do it,” he said of fining someone to run for office.
“We’ve had it with the City Council.”
Nu Dawn will register as a political action group to collect donations, organizer Ed Tuttle of Port Angeles said.
He describes himself as “right of center” and said his group emphasizes citizens being able to vote on fluoridation and annexation, “things of that magnitude.”
An excerpt from Nu Dawn’s recent flier:
“If you or someone you know is interested in running for City Council, we maybe able to help you.”
Nu Dawn is already supporting one candidate for Port Angeles City Council: Cheri Kidd, who said she intends to run for a position, though she, too, hasn’t decided which one.
Kidd, a motivational speaker, ran unsuccessfully for a City Council seat two years ago.
Online Port Angeles newspaper publisher Peter Ripley — not affiliated with any of the three groups — said weeks ago he intends to file for a City Council seat, but he hasn’t decided which one.
He ran unsuccessfully for a council seat in 2003.
Ripple from ’04 election
Tensions already exist between Tuttle and the Crabgrass Alliance, Tuttle said.
Tuttle said Crabgrass Alliance member Ed Chadd left a message on Tuttle’s phone telling him not to attend further Alliance meetings.
Chadd would not comment on Tuttle’s claim.
Crabgrass Alliance member Betsy Wharton described group members as “progressive.” Crabgrass worked with the Clallam County Democratic Party during the 2004 general election.
Last fall, Crabgrass helped organize the Better World Bash in Port Angeles.
Wharton said the fund-raiser generated $8,000 for MoveOn.org, an anti-George W. Bush Internet-based political action group.
“We are in the very early stages of trying to figure out if the alliance should be part of the [Nov. 8] election — and what role it should play,” Wharton said.
Group members do not want to be “smacked” by the MoveOn.org label, she said.
“We became a local group of people interested in progressive politics,” Wharton said.
Crabgrass has about 65 members, she added.
“The national situation is one thing, but we are citizens of Clallam County, and many of us, of Port Angeles itself,” she said.
“A truly, very small-town local environment is what we can really get busy with. This is the place we care about most.”
On the ballot
Here’s a rundown of seats up for election, the response of incumbents the Peninsula Daily News was able to contact on whether they intend to run for re-election.
Clallam County Treasurer (one-year unexpired term; appointed incumbent):
* Judy Scott: Yes. “When I was appointed in December, it was in mind that would seek the position.”
Port Angeles City Council (four incumbents)
* Richard Headrick (mayor): yes.
Though he would not ask his fellow City Council to reappoint him to another two-year term as mayor in 2005, “there was no reason to hesitate” about running for reelection, he said.
* Larry Williams: Undecided. “A lot of people have said to me, ‘You are doing what you need to do.”‘
* Karen Rogers: Undecided. “Every day I work very hard in the best interests of the community.”
* Gary Braun: Leaning to yes.
Port of Port Angeles, (Port Angeles District No. 2)
* Leonard Beil: Undecided.
“I still feel the Port commission term should be four years and not six,” Beil said.
“I have a real concern about whether the Port is moving ahead on some things. If the Port is moving adequately to solve those problems, then I probably would say, ‘Let someone else do it.”‘
Clallam County Public Hospital District No. 2 (Olympic Medical Center)
* Jorgen Quistgaard: Leaning toward yes.
* Gary Smith (appointed last year to fill vacancy): Yes. “I’m planning on it.”
Port Angeles School Board
* Nancy McLaughlin: Yes. “I’m pretty sure I will run.”
* Cindy Kelly: Yes.
“There are some people I’ve already had this conversation with,” she said.
“My campaign slogan [in the last election] was ‘Kelly for Kids,’ and I’m still there, still working for the kids.”
Sequim City Council
* Walt Schubert (mayor): Leaning toward yes. “I’m leaning more toward running than against,” said Schubert.
He is recovering from a recent motorcycle accident: “Generally speaking, everything is working. I don’t have any paralysis. It’s just a matter of getting over the [recovery] hump.”
* Paul McHugh: Undecided. “I’m leaning toward it but haven’t made a decision.”
* William Huizinga: Yes. “I’m planning on staying with it.”
Sequim School Board
* Elna Kawal: Undecided. “I’m leaning toward not running because of other family obligations,” she said.
David Blake: Not available for an interview on his plans.
Sequim Aquatic Recreation Center Board.
* Susan Sorensen: Yes. “It’s nothing definite, but I probably will run.”
* Cynthia Tipton: Not available for an interview on her plans.
Crescent School Board.
* Susan Waldrip: Undecided.
* Bonnie Hansen: Undecided. “At this point, I want to talk to the board.”
Cape Flattery School Board
* Shirley Johnson: Unavailable.
* Iris Wilson: Yes. “I intend to run again, to see what I can do to help the School Board.”
* Sharon Ryan (two-year unexpired term): Unavailable for an interview on her plans.
Quillayute Valley (Forks) School Board
* Sue Gibbs: Yes. “At this point, I probably will.”
Sharon Penn: Yes. “I assume I will,” she said.
Forks City Council
Mayor Nedra Reed (the only publicly elected mayor on the Peninsula): Yes.
“I have decided to go ahead if my community still wants me to,” she said.
“We’ve accomplished some things we set out to accomplish, and the community still has a lot of work ahead of us as far as economic recovery.”
* Bruce Guckenberg: Yes. “I was only appointed in December, and my plan was to run again.”
* Bryon Monohon: Yes. “As far as I know at this time, yes, I’m running.”
* Patricia Mansfield: Leaning toward not running.
“I would like to see somebody younger run,” she said. “I’m in my 70s. I’m going to wait and see and talk to people and see what they expect.”
* Constance Graham (two-year unexpired term). Could not be reached for comment on her plans.
* Clallam County Public Hospital District No. 1 (Forks Community Hospital)
* George “Gerry” Lane: Yes.
Other elected positions and the incumbents who now hold them which are up for election in November:
* Fire Protection District No. 2 — William Doran.
* Port Angeles Fire Protection District No. 4 — David Erickson, Mary Bower.
* Sequim Fire Protection District No. 3 — Richard Houts.
* West End Fire District No. 5 — Donald Higgins.
* Forks Fire Protection District No. 6 — Dennis Johnson.
* Quillayute Valley Park and Recreation District — Deborah Anderson, Janet Hughes.
* West End Fire Protection District No. 1 — Gerald Morris, George Blattner.
* Black Diamond Water District, District No. 1 — Gail Frick.* SunLand Water District, District No. 2 — Charles Myers.