Parallel Clallam PUD campaign spends more than either candidate does

The big spender in the Clallam County Public Utility District Commission, District 2, election is Save Our PUD, which endorses incumbent Hugh Haffner.

The group, created by Sequim contractor Jay Ketchum, has spent $16,417.63 and raised $20,843.32 as of Thursday, according to the state Public Disclosure Commission.

Haffner, who has served on the commission for 14 years, has raised and spent $12,801.58.

The utility district provides water, sewer, electrical power and telecommunications service in Sequim, Forks and unincorporated Clallam County.

Haffner is president of the three-member board.

The two campaigns combined have spent $29,219.21, more than double the amount spent by challenger Bob Jensen.

Jensen, a partner in the telecommunications company Capacity Provisioning Inc. and Angeles Communications Inc., has spent $11,833.14 and raised $16,015.61.

He had no comment on Thursday about his opposition’s spending.

The commissioners, who are elected for six-year terms, are paid $1,400 per month, plus $90 per diem for meetings up to $12,500, and travel expenses.

Haffner: Separate campaigns

Haffner has said his campaign is separate from Save Our PUD, and has reimbursed Jay Ketchum $3,600 for the purchase and installation of 75 new signs for his campaign.

“I have reimbursed Ketchum for everything,” he said.

“I try to keep my race, my race and leave it at that.”

Under Haffner’s campaign, the PDC lists $843.32 in independent spending by the Ketchum family.

Save Our PUD is funded by Jay and Jane Ketchum, their daughter, Jennifer Ames, and her husband, Dennis Ames, according to the PDC.

Jennifer and Dennis Ames reside in Nine Mile Falls near Spokane.

Save Our PUD expenses include:

• $8,822.21 for advertising in the Peninsula Daily News, Forks Forum

and Sequim Gazette

.

• $7,595.42 for mailing fliers to Clallam County residents.

Ketchum said he has no personal interest at stake in the election.

He said he is spending the money on the campaign because he feels that Jensen, if elected, would be “tied” to his business interests in Port Angeles, and won’t support the interest of PUD customers.

In particular, Save Our PUD’s advertising alleges that Jensen, as a CPI partner, would have a conflict of interest as part of the PUD commission.

Jensen has said he would not participate in any business negotiations with CPI and the PUD if elected.

“If elected, I would no longer participate in bidding on any work or reaching any agreements with the PUD. I would have no business relations with the PUD,” he has said to the PDN.

CPI provides a high-speed fiber optic cable to businesses and public entities in Port Angeles.

The PUD can sell bandwidth wholesale, but can’t, by state law, sell it retail and compete against companies like CPI.

Jensen said CPI does not use that service from the PUD, which he added is available to anyone.

In 2004, the PUD did compete in a bid for providing fiber optics to the Port of Port Angeles under special circumstances that allowed it to bid “agency to agency.”

CPI won the contract.

‘Some substance’

Haffner said he believes there is some substance to the allegations.

“I have to compliment Mr. Ketchum,” he said.

“I think he really wanted to stand up for good government.”

Last week, the PDC listed Save Our PUD’s cash contributions coming from two $10,000 donations from Jane Ketchum.

In order to comply with state regulations over the amount individuals can donate 21 days prior to the election, those funds have been redistributed.

One of the donations was split between Jay and Jane Ketchum.

The other was given to Jennifer and Dennis Ames, who donated the funds back under their names.

“We did it to be legal,” Jay Ketchum said.

“We’ve done everything we can to be legal.”

Randy Unruh, PDC political finance specialist, confirmed that this had occurred, and that it complies with state regulations.

Haffner and Jensen

According to the PDC, Haffner’s main expenses include:

• $3,600 for 75 campaign signs.

• $5,576.43 for newspaper advertising

• $2,361.71 for fliers mailed to voters.

He has contributed $6,531.58 in personal funds and $6,100 in personal loans to his campaign.

His contributors are:

• Beck Edie of Port Angeles, $100.

• Gary Saleba of Kirkland, $100.

• Stephen Tharinger, Clallam County commissioner, $50.

Jensen has contributed $5,750 in personal funds to his campaign.

He has loaned his campaign $3,000 of his own money.

Jensen’s campaign has 27 contributors.

The single highest donation was $500.

According to the PDC, those who have donated that amount are:

• Kathi Jensen.

• Craig Johson, who is also a partner in CPI.

• Paula Johnson.

• Roberta Knox, who made two $500 donations.

• Bill Roberds, Excel Utilities Construction owner and a CPI founder. He ran unsuccessfully against Haffner in 2002.

• Sue Roberds, city of Port Angeles planning manager.

Jensen’s main expenses are:

• $4,524.70 for signs.

• $4,809.43 for newspaper and radio advertising.

• $2,229.06 for other advertising costs.

________

Reporter Tom Callis can be reached at 360-417-3532 or tom.callis@peninsuladailynews.com.

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