"Cohen is Oak Harbor's new mayor; Oak Harbor, Coupeville voters return two incumbents to their councils; Vanderzicht Pool levy wins"
July 3, 2008 · Updated 12:20 PM
"Former long-term councilmember Patty Cohen will be mayor of Oak Harbor in the year 2000, while incumbents Paul Brewer and Rex Hankins will keep their City Council seats. Though between 4,000 and 5,000 absentee ballots are left to be counted, the general election contest in Oak Harbor shows some wide margins.Cohen beat Councilmember Richard Davis by a margin of 14 percent 57 percent versus 43 percent. Incumbent City Councilman Paul Brewer also beat challenger Eric King, owner of Whidbey Printer, by a margin of 14 percent.Councilman Rex Hankins received 1325 votes. Votes for write-in candidate Helen Chatfield-Weeks, the chair of the city pier committee, have not been counted yet. But with around 2,100 people voting in Oak Harbor, Hankins seems to have secured his seat.Since challenger Kyle Worley withdrew from the race, it was no surprise that Comprehensive Plan Task Force Chairman Bob Morrison won.The sparkling apple cider was passed around at the county Courthouse after the results were read. Cohen and Brewer were both thereAlthough Cohen may inherit a troubled city budget because Initiative 695 passed which will cut city revenue by $800,000 next year, and by $1 million a year in following years she said shes optimistic about the future.We need to pull together in what may be some tough times... she said. We may come out of this stronger than we were before.Cohen said shes been invited by the current city administration to work with them on the upcoming budget issues.Brewer, a critic of the current administration, hell continue to speak his mind and stick to his guns, but he thinks the new administration will be more honest and open.I dont think were going to have conflicts anymore because I think were going to get the information and have ample time to make decisions, he said.In Coupeville, the voters gave the nod to challenger Donna Keeler, a town planning commission member, over incumbent Town Councilwoman Sandra Sherwin. But incumbent Councilmen Kermit Chamberlin and Marshall Bronson easily retained their seats.POOL LEVY PASSESVoters said theyd rather swim than sink their taxes Tuesday when they approved a six-year levy to keep Oak Harbors John Vanderzicht pool open and pay for some much-needed repairs and system upgrades.The levy, which needed a 60 percent super majority to pass, got just over 66 percent of the vote with nothing but late absentees left to count.The same levy failed to get the required 60 percent majority when it first appeared on the ballot in the September primary. Pool supporters rallied after the primary defeat and campaigned hard to get pool users to turn out and vote.Pool detractors said they had agreed to pay for building the pool, but wanted to see pool users pick up more of the tab for its continued operation.The levy will increase property taxes within the North Whidbey Park and Recreation District would have increased property taxes within the North Whidbey Park and Recreation District by 5 cents per $1,000 of assessed value until the year 2002. At that point the bond that built the pool will be paid off and taxes will drop would have dropped by 12 cents.OAK HARBOR SCHOOL BOARDNo matter how the Oak Harbor School Board election came out, the future of the district was going to be in the hands of newcomers. Four of the boards five seats were on the line and only one involved a candidate with more than one year of board experience.School Board veteran John Dyer easily held onto seat, carrying 70 percent of the vote against Oak Harbor businessman Bill Burnett. Dyer, an Oak Harbor police officer, has been on the board for eight years. Burnett had campaigned hard highlighting differences between himself and Dyer and criticizing the current boards interest in the purchase of the old Alaska Federal Credit Union Building. In Position 4, incumbent Susan Waller handily defeated Brien Lillquist. Waller was appointed to the board in January filling out the unexpired term of Joyce Foxx. She has been a student, teacher, parent volunteer and Parent Advisory Committee president. Lillquist said he originally entered the race because he dislikes seeing candidates run unopposed.Oak Harbor High School PTA president Vicki Harring and Oak Harbor business owner Kathy Jones took the other two open seats on the school board in uncontested races. Jones was appointed to the board in April to replace resigning board member Claudia Talmadge. This will be Harrings first stint on the board."