Thumbs down for initiatives and advisory votes, thumbs up for local levies

| By Karen Larsen |

As of Nov. 8, there were 9,088 Douglas County ballots that had been counted from the Nov. 5 general election. Out of a total of 19,103 registered voters in the county, this represents a voter turn-out rate of 47.57 percent. Marty Whitehall, supervisor of elections, said Nov. 12 that all but about 25 ballots in the county had been counted, with the possibility of a few more postmarked by Nov. 5 still trickling in. Whitehall said that the remaining ballots would all be counted on Nov. 25.

The election included two state legislative initiatives, five advisory votes, excess levies for Douglas County Hospital District No. 2 and Douglas County Cemetery District No. 2 and many local races for school board directors, town council members, hospital district commissioners, fire district commissioners and other local officials.

Douglas County Hospital District No. 2, which is located in Waterville, and Douglas County Cemetery District No. 2, also in Waterville, both passed one year excess levies. The Hospital District levy passed with 72.71 percent of the vote and the cemetery levy passed with 65.69 percent of the vote. The excess levies provide for funds not covered in the regular tax levy.

There was some worry among hospital district staff that the new arrangement in which Confluence Health is managing the Waterville Clinic would affect the vote on the annual special levy for the hospital district. Office administrator Elonna Rejniak said that she and other staff were happy to see that this did not happen. “It passed just as much as it ever has, and we were very pleased with that,” Rejniak said. “I think that it shows that the community positively accepts the changes we have made.”

Cody Salazar, district manager for Douglas County Cemetery District No. 2 said he was very pleased to see that the levy had passed. “It’s a pretty vital part of our operating budget,” Salazar said, adding that the water bill can run between $2,000 to $3,000 a month during the summer. In addition to caring for the Waterville Cemetery, the district cares for the Catholic Cemetery, Farmer Cemetery, Badger Mountain View Cemetery, Fletcher Cemetery and Kummer Cemetery, which are all smaller cemeteries near Waterville.

Douglas County voters came out strongly against Initiative 522, which would have required that many food items which contain genetically modified ingredients be labeled. Voters in this county voted 73.31 percent against this initiative. In contrast, the statewide race was much closer. As of Nov. 9, 52.02 percent of ballots were against the initiative.

Tom Stahl, a member of Farmers and Friends of I-522, was still hopeful as of Nov. 10 that the initiative could pass. He said that the latest he had heard was that as more votes have been counted, the percentage for the initiative has been climbing up. Even if the initiative does not pass, Stahl said he still felt encouraged that almost half of the voters statewide had voted for the initiative, despite the amount of money spent to advertise against it.

Looking back, he felt that the campaign did not sufficiently emphasize the health risks of consuming GMO products. For Stahl, that is the takeaway for next time. He said that Farmers and Friends of I-522 would not disband and that the group would support a similar initiative on the ballot, perhaps in 2016 when there will be more national and statewide races that should encourage a higher voter turnout.

Douglas County voters also voted against Initiative 517, which would have changed some of the regulations for obtaining signatures for initiatives. Douglas County voters rejected the initiative by 54.97 percent. Statewide voters rejected it by 62.24 percent.

Five advisory votes were on the ballot. These votes all concern tax laws that the state legislature has passed since the last election. One of the provisions of Initiative 960, passed in 2007, required voters to be given the chance to say a yeah or nay at each tax increase passed by the legislature. This is the second year in which such advisory votes have been on the ballot. Douglas County voters overwhelmingly voted to repeal all five laws. Statewide, voters maintained Substitute Senate Bill 5444 (advisory vote No. 3), which repealed a tax credit for taxpayers who lease publicly owned property, Senate Bill 5627 (advisory vote No. 4), which levied a new excise tax on small commuter air carriers, and Engrossed House Bill 2075 (advisory vote No. 7), which extended the state estate tax on estates worth more than $4 million. On the other hand, Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1846 (advisory vote No. 5), which extended a premium tax to some pediatric dental services, and Second Engrossed Second Substitute House Bill 1971 (advisory vote No. 6), which ended the sales tax exemption for some landline telephone services, were repealed by the public.

As the name sounds, the votes are just advisory and concern laws already passed by the Legislature. The legislature does not need to do anything in response to the results and, according to most analysts, is unlikely to be swayed into any action.

Many of the local races were run unopposed. The race for East Wenatchee Water Commissioner No. 3 was one that was contested. This race was taken by Terry Barnes, who took 69.47 percent of the vote, compared to Delvin “Del” Shorzman who took 30.53 percent. The race for Eastmont School District Director No. 4 at-large had three candidates. Jan Cetto got 62.14 percent of the vote, Dennis Wallgren got 23.76 percent and William Armes got 14.1 percent.

The city of Bridgeport Council Position No. 1 was a race between Michael Knox (36.52 percent) and Matthew Schuh (63.48 percent). City of East Wenatchee Council Position  No. 7 was a race between Dan Sutton (43.15 percent) and Wayne “Barney” Barnhart (56.85 percent). Adam Foged took 78.1 percent of the vote against Jason Moore for the town of Mansfield Council Position No. 2. Mariah Kreider took 54.88 percent in her race against Brad Hampton for the city of Rock Island Council Position No. 4. A write-in candidate, Loyd C. Smith, took 62.25 percent of the vote in a race for town of Waterville Council Position No. 2. The candidate who filed for the position was Edward L. Worthen.

Whitehall said that in this election the voter turn-out started very low, but came up toward the end. “We were pleased with the final turnout,” Whitehall said, adding that it was about average for an off year.

Douglas County Election Results as of Nov. 8

Total ballots counted: 9,088
Voter turnout: 47.57 percent
Certification Date: Nov. 26

Initiative to the Legislature 517
(Concerns initiative and referendum measures)
Yes: 3,923 votes/45.03 percent
No: 4,789 votes/54.97 percent

Initiative to the Legislature 522
Concerns labeling of genetically-engineered foods
Yes: 2,407 votes/26.69 percent
No: 6,610 votes/73.31 percent

Substitute Senate Bill 5444
Concerns a leasehold excise tax credit for taxpayers who lease publicly-owned property
Repealed: 4,990 votes/61 percent
Maintained: 3,190 votes/39 percent

Senate Bill 5627
Concerns an aircraft excise tax on commuter air carriers in lieu of property tax
Repealed: 5,251 votes/63.87 percent
Maintained: 2,970 votes/ 36.13 percent

Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1846
Concerns the insurance premium tax to some insurance for pediatric oral services
Repealed: 6,063 votes/74.09 percent
Maintained: 2,120 votes/25.91 percent

Second Engrossed Second Substitute House Bill 1971
Concerns a retail sales tax exemption for certain telephone and telecommunications services
Repealed: 5,400 votes/65.81 percent
Maintained: 2,805 votes/34.19 percent

Engrossed House Bill 2075
Concerns estate tax on certain property transfers and increased rates for estates over $4,000,000
Repealed: 5,335 votes/64.53 percent
Maintained: 2,932 votes/35.47 percent

Port Countywide Commissioner District 1
Jim Huffman: 6,367 votes/100 percent

Eastmont Metro Park Commissioner No. 2
Thomas Kutrich: 4,681 votes/100 percent

East Wenatchee Water Commissioner No. 3
Delvin “Del” Schorzman: 1,615 votes/30.53 percent
Terry Barnes: 3,675 votes/69.47 percent

Hospital District No. 1, Commissioner Pos. 2
*Multi-county race. Results include only Douglas County.
Jerry R. Tretwold: 403 votes/100 percent

Hospital District No. 1, Commissioner Pos. 3
*Multi-county race. Results include only Douglas County.
Mike Pruett: 379 votes/100 percent

Hospital District No. 1, Commissioner Pos. 4
*Multi-county race. Results include only Douglas County.
Cherryl Thomas: 383 votes/100 percent

Hospital District No. 2, One year excess levy
Yes: 469 votes/72.71 percent
No: 176 votes/27.29 percent

Hospital District No. 2, Commissioner No. 3
Katie L. Shafer: 504 votes/100 percent

Lake Chelan School District School Board Member, District No. 1
*Multi-county race. Results include only Douglas County.
Siri Tift: 34 votes/100 percent

Lake Chelan School District School Board Member, District No. 3
*Multi-county race. Results include only Douglas County.
Ken Brunner: 33 votes/100 percent

Orondo School District Director No. 1
Pat Brandt: 217 votes/100 percent

Orondo School District Director No. 2
Janice Merriman: 203 votes/100 percent

Bridgeport School District Director No. 2, At-large
*Multi-county race. Results include only Douglas County.
Richard Halterman: 230 votes/100 percent

Bridgeport School District Director No. 5
*Multi-county race. Results include only Douglas County.
Tracy Zahn: 242 votes/100 percent

Brewster School District Director, Pos. 2
*Multi-county race. Results include only Douglas County.
Hector D. Aparicio: 53 votes/100 percent

Brewster School District Director, Pos. 3
*Multi-county race. Results include only Douglas County.
Dana Divas: 60 votes/100 percent

Brewster School District Director, Pos. 5
*Multi-county race. Results include only Douglas County.
Mario Camacho: 60 votes/100 percent

Eastmont School District Director No. 3
Annette Eggers: 4,845 votes/100 percent

Eastmont School District Director No. 4, At-large
Jan Cetto: 3,269 votes/62.14 percent
Dennis Wallgren: 1,250 votes/23.76 percent
William Armes: 742 votes/14.1 percent

Mansfield School District Director No. 1
Tara Tupling: 165 votes/100 percent

Mansfield School District Director No. 2
Cory Moore: 167 votes/100 percent

Mansfield School District Director No. 3
Jesse Shafer: 149 votes/100 percent

Mansfield School District Director No. 5
Brad A. Murison: 175 votes/100 percent

Waterville School District Director No. 3
Gordon Edgar: 437 votes/100 percent

Waterville School District Director No. 4
Dale Snyder: 392 votes/100 percent

City of Bridgeport, Council Position 1
Michael Knox: 65 votes/36.52 percent
Matthew Schuh: 113 votes/63.48 percent

City of Bridgeport, Council Position 2
Eric J. Schmidt: 154 votes/100 percent

City of Bridgeport, Council Position 3
Jacqueline (Jackie) Hentges: 155 votes/100 percent

City of East Wenatchee Council Position 3
Chuck Johnson: 2,063 votes/100 percent

City of East Wenatchee Council Position 4
George J. Buckner: 2,019 votes/100 percent

City of East Wenatchee Council Position 7
Dan Sutton: 1,084 votes/43.15 percent
Wayne “Barney” Barnhart: 1,428 votes/56.85 percent

Town of Mansfield Council Position 2
Jason Moore: 23 votes/21.9 percent
Adam Foged: 82 votes/78.1 percent

Town of Mansfield Council Position 4
Ken Peters: 96 votes/100 percent

City of Rock Island, Council Position 2
Doug Shirk: 65 votes/100 percent

City of Rock Island, Council Position 4
Mariah Kreider: 45 votes/54.88 percent
Brad Hampton: 37 votes/45.12 percent

City of Rock Island, Council Position 5
Randy Agnew: 69 votes/100 percent

Town of Waterville, Council Position 1
Brian Munson: 316 votes/100 percent

Town of Waterville, Council Position 2
Edward L. Worthen: 134 votes/ 37.75 percent
Write-In: Loyd C. Smith: 221 votes/62.25 percent

Town of Waterville, Council Position 3
G. Wayne Hawks: 294 votes/100 percent

Town of Waterville, Council Position 4
Charles Driver: 321 votes/100 percent

Fire District No. 1, Commissioner No. 3
Hubert Bourton: 228 votes/100 percent

Fire District No. 2, Commissioner No. 3
Bob Black: 4,822 votes/100 percent

Fire District No. 4, Commissioner No. 2
David V. Marden: 239 votes/100 percent

Fire District No. 5, Commissioner No. 2
Tom Pinger: 197 votes/100 percent

Douglas-Okanogan Fire Commissioner Pos. 3
*Multi-county race. Results include only Douglas County.
Lonnie W. Fenton: 119 votes/100 percent

Sewer District No. 1, Sewer Commissioner  No. 2
Mike McCourt: 3,756 votes/100 percent

Sewer District No. 1, Sewer Commissioner No. 3
Cheryl Sutton: 3,744 votes/100 percent

Cemetery District No. 2, One year maintenance and operations excess tax levy
Yes: 383 votes/65.69 percent
No: 200 votes/34.31 percent