Time is running out to make your voice heard in this year’s general election. Ballots need to be postmarked or dropped off by tonight. Ballots can be dropped off in person until 8 p.m.
Top issues include a seat on the commission at the Port of Grays Harbor and a sales tax increase to help restore cuts to bus service from Grays Harbor Transit, along with many city council races and several mayoral races around the Twin Harbors.
The Port election has centered around proposals to ship crude oil through Grays Harbor, something incumbent Chuck Caldwell has said he’ll support with proper permitting approval. Challenger Ron Figlar-Barnes was spurred to run by his opposition to the proposals.
Caldwell, owner of Price & Price Real Estate in Montesano, is finishing his second term on the commission. Figlar-Barnes, Environmental Protection Act Coordinator for the Skokomish Tribe, is seeking his first elected office.
“I’m proud of the whole port, not just anything in part. There’s no one thing that one person gets involved with. If you’ve got a functioning port commission, everybody’s involved,” Caldwell said. “I don’t know of any port that has better staff and better commissioners than the Port of Grays Harbor has right now.”
“When I come into the first Port meeting, I’m going to come in as the new candidate, and I’m going to have fresh ideas. I’m going to push an agenda that’s pro-jobs, anti-oil terminals and proactive as far as all of the different environmental issues that are associated with Grays Harbor here. I’ve got six years to get really good,” Figlar-Barnes said.
A sales tax measure measure would increase the county sales tax by 0.1 percent, the amount needed to generate $855,000 per year and restore full service from Grays Harbor Transit.
The bus provider eliminated its weekend service in early September, and if the sales tax increase isn’t approved this fall, the agency might have to start hacking apart weekday service, said Mark Carlin, general manager of Grays Harbor Transit.
Grays Harbor Transit collects a 0.6 percent sales tax, which was implemented in 2000. If voters approve the ballot measure, the agency would collect a 0.7 percent sales tax — still less than the state limit.
“When they have the voting going on, I hope people realize how important it is,” said disabled former firefighter and paramedic Jaime Jamtaas. “Even if people don’t use the buses, it’s a really important service for the disabled population. And it’s really cheap, that 0.1 percent.”
You can drop off your ballot in person at the following locations:
* Grays Harbor County Auditor’s Office, 100 W Broadway Ave., Suite 2, Montesano
* Grays Harbor YMCA, 2500 Simpson Ave., Hoquiam
* McCleary VFW, 158 Summit Rd., McCleary
* Ocean Shores Convention Center, 120 W Chance Ala Mer Ave., Ocean Shores
* Oakville Methodist Church, 204 E Harris Ave., Oakville
* Westport Timberland Library, 506 N Montesano St., Westport
* Pacific County Courthouse, 300 Memorial Dr., South Bend
A 24-hour drop box is outside the County Administration building, and another is available in the YMCA parking lot.
More to read:
The Aberdeen City Council has five contested races. Read Aberdeen council and election coverage, including candidate Q&A’s here: http://bit.ly/1aSm5ED.
The Hoquiam City Council has three contested positions. Read Hoquiam coverage here: http://bit.ly/1faSglf.
Ocean Shores’ three City Council candidates sat down for a Q&A, http://bit.ly/182DBDR.
Westport City Council has one open position. Learn more at http://bit.ly/182Ds3b.
In East County, Elma has two City Council positions up for grabs, with information available at http://bit.ly/19nT2dk.
McCleary has three candidates for mayor, one a write in, with details here http://bit.ly/1gjJWCN. The City Council has one open position.
In Pacific County, the Port of Willapa Harbor has one contested position, and the South Bend City Council has two.
An online Voters’ Guide is available on the Grays Harbor County Auditor’s website, http://1.usa.gov/19ZEW1m.