Street levy earns slim voter approval

Published on Thu, Sep 19, 2002 by Meg Olson

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Street levy earns slim voter approval

By Meg Olson

Unofficial results of Tuesday’s primary election show the Blaine street maintenance levy squeaking through, with only 29 more voters in favor than opposed.

The city proposal to boost property taxes 50 cents per thousand dollars of property value was ahead by three percent Wednesday. While all three precincts were in, there was still some wiggle room as elections officials scanned final absentee ballots.

The street maintenance levy will generate $240,000 for upkeep of city streets, many of which have been rebuilt under the 1996 residential street levy. The new levy will sunset when that levy expires in 2006. City staff said the funds are needed to replace half a million dollars in revenue lost through the elimination of the city gambling tax and dwindling gas tax revenue.

“The overall results show me that people want well-maintained streets but continue to be diligent about costs,” said city council member Bonnie Onyon. “That’s what they’re telling us and we’re intent on following that line and running a tight ship.”

Congressman Rick Larsen was out in front of Republican contenders in the race for second congressional district representative. The only Democrat on the primary ballot, Larsen took 47 percent of the vote in Whatcom County in a field of 6 candidates, and 50 percent statewide. Herb Meyer was the top Republican in Whatcom County, with 22 percent of the vote, followed by Norma Smith with 16 percent.
Statewide, Smith was ahead with 21 percent of the vote to Meyer’s 18. The Green party put on a good show in Whatcom County, with candidate Bern Haggerty garnishing 4.4 percent of the vote, compared to 2.6 statewide.

In the 42nd legislative district county sheriff Dale Brandland was 1,600 votes out ahead of incumbent Senator Georgia Gardner. Gardner was unruffled by the poor showing, blaming it on a largely Republican turnout at poorly attended polls. “Nobody showed up,” she said. “Democrats just aren’t as motivated. All the super conservative voters turned out and there was no balance.” She pointed to strong showings in the county by candidates like Meyer and Supreme Court hopeful Jim Johnson as indications the right turned out but the left and middle stayed home.

Incumbents topped the primary for seats in the state house of representatives for the 42nd district. Kelli Linville and Doug Ericksen were 10 to 20 percent ahead of their challengers. Linville led Gene Goldsmith 7,483 to 5,965 and Ericksen led Jim Boyle 7,990 to 5,644.

Thirty percent of Blaine voters turned out, a strong showing compared with 21 percent in the county and 23 percent statewide. Special ballot titles appear to motivate Blaine voters. In last year’s primary 40 percent of registered voters turned out for the primary with the proposed change of city government and a bond to build the fire station on the ballot, while in 2000 only 11 percent voted despite the presidential election.

Complete election results are available through state elections website where you can find links to county elections...

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