Few vie for open seats on boards
June 10, 2009 · Updated 9:13 AM
Two engineers, Jake Jacobovitch and Steve Ellison, will vie for an open seat on the Vashon school board in one of the few contested races in the upcoming November election, according to King County Elections.
Islanders had until last Friday to declare their candidacy for 10 seats on Vashon’s six publicly elected boards.
But only three races — one school board position and two seats on the Island’s airport commission — are contested. Five seats have only one contender. And two went without any candidates at all — a position being vacated by Frank Jackson on the Water District 19 board and a position on the commission that oversees the Island’s only sewer district.
“It’s a shame, because one shouldn’t criticize government unless one is willing to step in and do something to make it more efficient,” said May Gerstle, who’s active in the Island’s chapter of the League of Women Voters. “It’s a sad commentary.”
To address the situation, King County Elections is holding a special three-day filing period for 15 seats throughout the county with no candidates, including the two positions on Vashon. That filing period begins today at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 4:30 p.m. Friday, June 12.
Jackson, who decided not to run after six years on the water district, said he thinks few people decided to enter contests because this year’s filing period was earlier than usual.
“I hope somebody out there steps forward,” he said of the post he’s vacating. “I think there are a lot of good people in the community who realize how important water is to everyone.”
The school board race — where Jacobovitch and Ellison will face off — promises to be the one that will capture the most attention on Vashon.
Though both are engineers — Jacobovitch with the county, where he works as a traffic engineer, and Ellison, self-employed after working as a design engineer at K2 — they have very different portfolios.
Jacobovitch, a father of five, will have no children in the district should he get elected; his youngest child is graduating from Vashon High School this week. He’s also a veteran of school board politics; he held a seat until two years ago, when Laura Wishik defeated him.
Ellison has three young children, all of whom are enrolled in Vashon’s public schools. And while he’s been attending school board meetings regularly for the last couple of years, he’s never been on the board.
“Over the past few years, I feel I’ve contributed some as a layperson, and I think I could contribute more as a member of the board,” Ellison said.
Jacobovith viewed his experience as an asset: “The value of having someone who can hit the ground running is a great benefit to the district.”
A COMPLETE LIST OF CANDIDATES
Vashon Island Fire & Rescue
Position No. 3: Rex Stratton (Jan Nielsen is not seeking re-election)
Position No. 5: David Hoffman (incumbent)
Vashon Park District
Position No. 2: Lu-Ann Branch (Kristin Pesman is not seeking re-election)
Position No. 4: David Hackett (incumbent)
King County Water District 19
Position No. 3: No candidates (Frank Jackson is not seeking re-election)
Vashon Sewer District
Position No. 3: No candidates
King County Airport District
Position No. 1: Phillip McClure (incumbent), Ron Mitchell
Position No. 2: George Kirkish, Alan Paxhia (incumbent)
Position No. 3: Liz Otis (incumbent)
Vashon Island School Board
Position No. 2: Bob Hennessey (incumbent)
Position No. 4: Steve Ellison, Jake Jacobovitch (John "Oz" Osborne is not seeking re-election)