By SARAH LOW
Vashon voters will have the opportunity to hear candidates for contested positions on the Vashon Park District and Water District 19 boards present their platforms and answer questions next week at a special forum ahead of November’s election.
Sponsored by Voice of Vashon and The Beachcomber, the forum, scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 10, was organized by community activists May Gerstle and Hilary Emmer and will be moderated by former Beachcomber editor Leslie Brown.
Citing her passion for voter service and education, Gerstle said that she wanted to continue the Vashon League of Women Voters’ tradition of holding candidate forums each year, even though the group no longer exists on the island.
“It’s the only opportunity people will have to get to know the candidates,” she said.
Six islanders running for three spots on the Vashon Park District board have been invited to attend the forum, as have two people running for a spot on Water District 19’s board.
Current park district commissioner Lu-Ann Branch is running for reelection and is challenged by Stephen Evans, a patent lawyer who moved to Vashon last year.
John Hopkins, who was appointed to the park district board last year after another commissioner stepped down, is running to be elected and is challenged by Scott Harvey, a small business lender who currently serves on the agency’s Oversight Committee.
Two islanders are running to fill the position that will be vacated by parks commissioner David Hackett. Doug Ostrom, a semi-retired economics professor who grew up on Vashon and returned as an adult, is challenged by Robin Magonegil, who works in the city of Seattle’s planning department and has been involved in youth sports.
One position on Water District 19’s three-person board is also contested. Jenny Bell, a water consultant with graduate studies in administration of potable water, and Mark Graham, an employee of Burton Water Company and local musician, are running for the seat to be vacated by Steve Haworth.
At the event, each candidate will make an opening statement, followed by an audience question period moderated by Brown. The candidates will then make closing statements.
Gerstle said she hopes that many people will attend and leave feeling informed about where the candidates stand.
“I have heard that there are major differences between the candidates, so it’s a good idea for voters to come and find out what they are,” she said.
Only one other seat on an island board is contested this fall. Current cemetery board member Jay Hanson, who was appointed to the board last year, is challenged by John Kimble, an arborist and senior gardener with Seattle Parks and Recreation.
Several islanders are running unopposed for seats on public boards, including the school board, fire district board, cemetery board, sewer board and airport district board.
Ballots will be mailed Oct. 16 for the Nov. 5 election. For more information and a voter’s guide, see www.kingcounty.gov/elections.
The candidates forum will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, at the Penny Farcy Building. For more information, contact Hilary Emmer at 463-7277 or firstname.lastname@example.org.