Low turnout, few surprises in primary races

Carol Peterson, Marcia Korich-Vega and David Irons Jr. were

among the winners in last Tuesday's primary election, setting the stage

for November's general election. Conversely, both the Carnation police

levy increase and Fire District 38 levy issue failed before the voters. Both

issues may be revisited in two months.

The returns trickled in last Tuesday night, with some

candidate's camps kicking into celebration while others waited for more

information. By late in the week, several races in King County were pending a final

tally of the write-in votes, but the majority of the contests had already been

decided. Final results, incorporating write-ins and absentee ballots,

should be produced this Friday.

As predicted, the overall turnout was low. For example, in

the Snoqualmie City Council primary, a grand total of 196 residents cast

votes, with Korich-Vega and Peterson taking the top two spots. Peterson gained

101 votes for 51.5 percent of the total, while Korich-Vega hauled in 69

votes for 35.2 percent. Alfred Nicholas came in a distant third with 25 votes

and 13.3 percent.

The top two vote-getters will now square off in November's election

for the single council seat. Said Peterson, "I was very pleased and surprised.

I got a lot of support. I was sorry about Al, I wish he'd been in better

health in order to get out and campaign.

"I've called Marcia to see if she'll meet with me," Peterson added.

"We'll see if we can put together a little

paragraph about a `no mud-slinging' campaign. I hope I hear from her; it's

important that we do that, and have the people working for us do the same."

"I feel very good," echoed Korich-Vega. "I was a relative unknown

and felt I did pretty well.

"Not many turned out, but I'm sure more will vote in November. I'm

positive and I'm ready to go."

In the King County District 12 race, the big news was the

apparent end of Brian Derdowski's 10-year tour as county councilman.

The voting was nip and tuck most of the way, with Irons finally

pulling away by a 4.2 percent margin, recording 7,007 votes to Derdowski's

6,447. Most analysts believe the vote will stand, although counting of

absentee ballots will continue through this week.

Irons ran against Derdowski's anti-growth record, and apparently

it clicked with the voters.

"He's had 10 years to implement his vision, and his vision has

failed miserably," said Irons in an interview a few days prior to the primary.

"His vision is no growth, no roads and no infrastructure. He got them, but

look around you; we've got massive growth.

"On top of that, we're paying taxes and the taxes aren't coming back

here. I'm holding Brian accountable for the last eight budgets. He was there

for eight full budgets, and ... property taxes derived from

unincorporated King County went up 99.8 percent. That's a 77 percent increase over


"I'm not your classic lifetime politician, I'm more of an average

person off the street," Irons concluded. "I

see King County government as an excellent means of working with the

communities on growth, management, and other issues, not as big brother with

a hammer."

Irons will now run unopposed in the Nov. 2 election. As for

Derdowski, he is reportedly considering relocating from Issaquah to run for the

District 3 seat in 2001.

Republican Louise Miller, the current chair of the King County

Council and current council member representing District 3, intends to retire

at the end of her term. King County District 3 includes Woodinville

and Redmond, east to Carnation and Duvall, and north to the

Snohomish County Line. It also incorporates the community of Skykomish in

northeast King County.

The proposed increase in the Fire District 38 levy was roundly

defeated by a vote of 625 to 364, or 63 percent to 37 percent. If it had passed,

the proposition would have authorized an increase in the regular property

tax levy to $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

The original agreement between Fire District 38 and Eastside Fire

and Rescue stated that if the levy failed in September, it would automatically

go up again for a vote in November. However, according to Chief Lee

Soptich of Fire District 10, another vote may not come about.

"I don't know if District 38 is going to put it back on the ballot in

November," said the chief in an interview last Thursday. "That's one of the

issues that Commissioner (Bill) Weber wanted to clarify. He's under the

impression that the Fire District 10 Board of Directors required it (the levy)

to go back on the ballot, but that's not accurate.

"The consolidation agreement required it, if we did not have an

agreement with the Snoqualmie Fire Department to protect the area

around Snoqualmie. It is not required by the contract.

"We're of the opinion," Soptich concluded, "that it's probably in

the best interest to work towards a more informative effort and probably

come back next year."

Soptich added he felt the requirement for the raising of the levy lid

was still valid, partly due to the increasing number of alarms in the district.

He said Eastside Fire and Rescue has submitted a staff report to the Fire

District 38 commissioners on possible options, including improved

staffing when and if the funds become available.

The chief made similar comments in a post-primary letter to the Fire

District 38 board of commissioners, written last Thursday.

In the letter, he stated in part, "After reviewing the Consolidation

Agreement and other consultation with Chief Rankin, I again stress that

there is no need for any action to be taken by EFR related to this matter.

"The Chief and I are in full support of the concept ... of forming a

citizen group to look at the needs of the District, and then to have the

issue brought back to the voters next year. This will allow appropriate

dissemination of information, proper dialogue of the parties with particular

interest in the matter and will give time for your Board to reach consensus."

For his part, Commissioner Weber feels the contract between the

district and Eastside does require another vote in November. In the interim, he is

not surprised the levy was voted down.

"I talked to quite a few people and they had indicated they thought

they were voting strictly for funds for the local fire district, and then found

these funds would have gone to Fire District 10," Weber commented. "The

initiative didn't say, and since there wasn't pro and con statements in

the voter's pamphlet, I think people had no idea.

"I'm surprised that we were the only fire initiative in King, Pierce

and Kitsap counties to fail. I don't know whether people are sending us a

message that they're unhappy with the service, or that they're paying

too much in taxes."

Weber stated the other two commissioners - Gary Stevens and

Jerry Prior - felt it would be best to revisit the issue next year.

"One of their reasons is they didn't want to be on the same ballot with

Initiative 695, with which I agree. It's not a good time."

In another race that had county-wide implications, incumbent

King County Assessor Scott Noble came out on top with 73,199 votes or 61

percent of the vote, easily exceeding the combined vote count of the two

Republican challengers. Dave Callon - who recorded 24,789 votes or 21

percent - and Chic Hendricks - 22,047 and 18 percent - finished the

assessor's race effectively tied. Either Callon or Hendricks will face Noble in

November, pending the final counting of the votes.

Finally, nine people competed for the single open seat on the Seattle

Port Commission, including North Bend resident Ernie Ludwick. The

election effectively ended up in a three-way tie between Betty Jane Narver,

Laurie McDonald-Johnson and Bob Edwards, pending the release

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