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Vashon's two levies pass by wide margins

With more than 70 percent of the Island ballots tallied from the Nov. 3 mail-in election, Vashon's two levies — one supporting the Vashon Park District, the other Vashon Island School District — have won solid majorities.

The school district levy, a three-year, $2.7 million measure to support technology and maintenance at the 1,500-student district, has captured 69 percent of the vote. The park district measure — a six-year levy expected to bring in $1.3 million in its first year — received 67 percent.

"I feel real good about it," Wendy Braicks, the park district's executive director, said of the park levy results. "It reconfirms that we're doing what the community wants."

"Passage of this levy provides the resources for the district to keep its promise to conduct preventative maintenance and also provides a revenue stream for implementation of the tech plan," said school superintendent Michael Soltman. "And we're very grateful for the continuing support of our community."

Returns also show political newcomer Steve Ellison, a self-employed ski-core manufacturer, defeating former school board member Jake Jacobovitch for a vacant position on Vashon's five-member school board.

With about 73 percent of Vashon's votes counted, Ellison had garnered 58 percent of the Island vote to Jcobovitch's 42 percent to fill the seat being vacated by John "Oz" Osborne, who's stepping down.

"I think there are some very important issues out there, and if I am elected I look forward to getting to work on them," Ellison said Wednesday morning.

A second wave of vote totals was posted on King County's Web site Wednesday afternoon. The county will update those numbers again at 4:30 today. All told, the county mailed out 7,901 ballots to Vashon voters and has received 4,526, a voter turnout of around 57 percent. As of Thursday morning, the county elections division had counted 3,108 of those votes.

In another contested, Island-wide race, the two incumbent commissioners who oversee Vashon's municipal airport — Al Paxhia and Phil McClure — have won decisive victories. McClure is leading his challenger, contractor Ron Mitchell, 68 percent to 32 percent. And Paxhia is ahead of winemaker George Kirkish, 62 percent to 38 percent.

"I don't think it's over until it's over, but I feel very good about it," said McClure, a real estate agent.

The contest was one of the liveliest on Vashon, with both Mitchell and Kirkish contending in campaign materials that Paxhia and McClure were mishandling a number of airport issues; they also contended that the two incumbents were secretly working to expand the short, dirt airstrip.

Paxhia, a retired Boeing engineer, said he views his win as evidence that voters have faith in the direction the current three-member board is headed.

"The community has sent a clear message that our airport is an asset and it needs to be preserved," he said.

The Island's only other contested race, where Bob Powell and Marty Liebowitz were vying for a seat on King County Water District 19, shows Powell handily defeating Liebowitz. Only those who live within District 19's boundaries, which include the town of Vashon and extend across much of the center of the Island, cast ballots in the the race.

With 820 votes counted, Powell has 80 percent of the votes, Liebowitz 19 percent.

Powell, who runs the water jet shop for Vashon College, said he attributes his strong showing in part to the fact that Liebowitz, an architect and developer, missed the deadline for the voter's pamphlet — and thus had neither his photo or statement in the booklet. "It doesn't speak to Marty's qualifications," he said.

He added that he's looking forward to serving on the board.

"It's something I signed up for because it was a job that was important to me to see done right. I'm going to do my best," he said.

The county's canvassing board is expected to certify the election on Nov. 24.

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