By Pat Grubb
It appears that the traditional New Year’s refrain, “Out with the Old, in with the New,” was sung a little early in 2017, at least for Blaine City Council.
Two out of three incumbents, mayor Harry Robinson and Paul Greenough, lost their seats in Tuesday’s election to respective newcomers Alicia Rule and Eric Davidson. Charlie Hawkins was the sole incumbent to retain his seat against challenger Justin Ledesma and write-in candidate Rachel Hrutfiord.
Another incumbent, Bonnie Onyon, ran unopposed and will return to a council filled with new faces. Rule and Davidson will join fellow newcomer Meg Olson who was appointed to council in September to fill the seat vacated by the resignation of Dennis Olason. All will join Steve Lawrenson and Mary Lou Steward whose terms run until 2019.
The winds of change also breezed over the Blaine school district as long-time board member Mike Dodd was unseated by challenger Laura McKinney. Joan Lotze ran unopposed and will remain as school board director, District 3.
The folks at the Blaine/Birch Bay Park and Recreation District must have butterflies in their tummies as the fate of their 6-year levy remains uncertain due to voter turnout. Although the Yes votes are running at 70 percent, well above the 60-percent super-majority required, the turnout at 3,244 is below the required threshold of 40 percent of the last election.
The measure needs another 197 voters to pass – and they could likely turn up – as the county still had 5000 mail-in votes to count on Tuesday night as well as late-arriving mail-in votes and ballots coming in from county polling stations.
The sole contested North Whatcom Fire and Rescue District 21 position saw incumbent Rich Bosman win handily over Reid Campion with an 82 percent share of the vote.
Countywide, the measure to increase the sales tax to finance a new jail went down to a solid defeat with 58 percent No votes.
County council at large, Position A incumbent Barry Buchanan was running slightly ahead of challenger Mary Kay Robinson with 52 percent of the vote while Rud Browne and Todd Donovan cruised to easy victories with 81 and 67 percent of the vote against respective challengers Philip Morgan and Amy Glasser. The remaining council race for District 3 was won handily by Tyler Byrd over Rebecca Boonstra with 54 percent of the vote.
The two Port of Bellingham commission races were still close after the initial count: At 50.3 versus 49.7 percent, Dan Robbins held a slim 222 vote lead over Michael Shepard in District 1. In District 2, Ken Bell ran at 51.95 percent and a 1,610-vote lead over Barry Wenger.
Long-time Sumas mayor Bob Bromley went down against challenger Kyle Christensen who drew 154 votes, or 66.4 percent.
Further afield, Democrat Manka Dhingra held a solid 55 percent of the votes in the Washington 45th District state senate race over Republican Jinyoung Lee Englund. Should Dhingra prevail, the Republicans will lose their current one-seat majority senate and control will flip over to the Democrats. Washington Democrats will then join their Oregon and California counterparts with one-party rule in the governors’ offices and both legislative houses.
In Seattle, Jenny Durkan received 61 percent of the vote to defeat Cary Moon in the city’s mayoral race making her the first woman mayor since 1926.
The county election office will be updating results daily at 5 p.m. To view the latest results, go to http://www.thenorthernlight.com/2017/11/09/election-results-usher-in-new-faces/.