Whidbey News-Times


Filing Week yields early surprises

Whidbey News-Times South Whidbey Record Editor
May 15, 2013 · 8:26 AM

Lucas Yonkman, a candidate for Oak Harbor City Council, was among more than 40 people to file for an open public office in Island County this week. Filing Week ends Friday. / Justin Burnett / Whidbey News-Times

Filing Week for open public offices in Island County began Monday and the first 24 hours yielded a few surprises.

With days to go, the following are among the candidates to file so far.


OAK HARBOR Arts Commission member William “Skip” Pohtilla quietly filed for Position 6 on the City Council. The seat is held by Jim Campbell, who is wrapping up his second term.

“Yeah, I thought I’d throw my hat into the ring,” Pohtilla said.

Choosing to run against Campbell, who confirmed plans to file for reelection Thursday, was a bit of a coin toss, Pohtilla said.

Pohtilla said he’d heard other races would be contested so he chose Position 6.

Pohtilla said he has nothing against Campbell.

“I’m just interested in what’s going on and making Oak Harbor a better place,” Pohtilla said.

This would be Pohtilla’s second attempt at winning a seat on the council. He sought appointment to Position 5 last year — the seat vacated by Scott Dudley when he was elected mayor — but it went to Joel Servatius.

SERVATIUS confirmed Tuesday morning his intention to file later this week. He is being challenged by Sandi Peterson, who filed Monday morning.

The race for Position 4 is also contested. Lucas Yonkman is challenging incumbent Bob Severns. Both men filed for the position Monday.

Danny Paggao, who has held a seat on the council for more than 20 years, also filed for reelection to Position 7. It’s now the only race on the council with no known challengers.


WHIDBEY CAMANO Land Trust Director Pat Powell was another unexpected filer. She put in a bid for Position 5 on the Coupeville Town Council.

The seat is held by Larry Cort, who also wears the hat of Oak Harbor City Administrator.

Powell could not be reached for comment but she did say in an email that she moved into town last year and has been looking for a way to give back. She decided to run after learning that Cort was not seeking reelection.

“I really admire the work of the Mayor and Town Council and thought perhaps I could add value to the council with my background in land use planning, legal documents, contracts and budgets,” Powell wrote.

Cort confirmed Tuesday morning that he is not running for another term. He was appointed in 2011 to fill a vacancy left by Tom Tack, who resigned.

Cort’s job in Oak Harbor changed, however, and the two positions are just too much, he said.

“A lot of regret in the decision but one I felt I had to make,” Cort Said.

The only other Coupeville seat up for grabs is Position 4, which is currently held by Dianne Binder. As of end of day Monday, she was the only person to file for the position.


PORT OF Coupeville Executive Director Jim Patton offered another surprise. He filed for the District 2 seat on the port’s board of commissioners. It’s currently held by long-time Commissioner Benye Weber.

“I’ve got no political aspirations, but I’ve got my teeth into this thing,” said Patton, referring to the many past and present projects at the port.

“We’ve got some unfinished business,” he said.

Weber is finishing her second six-year term and decided not to seek re-election this November.

Patton confirmed plans to step down as executive director this December, regardless of the election results.

The port’s District 3 seat is also open and is being pursued by Mike Diamanti. The position was formerly held by Laura Blankenship, who resigned in April.

NORTH WHIDBEY Park and Recreation District may also be an office to watch this November. Of the five seats on the board, four are up for election: Position 2, Position 3, Position 4 and Position 5.

David Walton was the only person to have filed as of Monday.

According to Michele Reagan with the Island County Auditor’s Office, Washington law exempts both cemetery and parks districts from the state’s top-two primary system.

“It means they (candidates) all go to the November ballot, whether there is one or 30,” Reagan said.


ON THE Oak Harbor School Board, two of five seats are up for election. Incumbents Corey Johnson, Position 4, and Gary Wallin, Position 5, have both filed but were uncontested Monday.

Finally, in fire districts incumbent Bruce Carman will seek to retain Position 2 on North Whidbey Fire and Rescue’s board of commissioners as will Cheryl Engle for Position 2 with Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue.

County wide, including cemetery districts, more than 40 people filed for open offices Monday.


To keep tabs on who is running, visit www.islandcounty.net and click on the Island County Auditor’s web page. For candidates, the deadline for submitting declarations of candidacy, either online or in person, is 4 p.m. Friday, May 17.






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