Opinion

10 candidates seek nine seats on Vashon’s community council board

Ballots for the 10 candidates running for nine seats on the Vashon-Maury Island Community Council (VMICC) will be mailed to Island residents Thursday, Oct. 21. Islanders can also vote online by visiting www.vmicc.org/elections/. Ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 2. Or drop ballots off at any of the three bank branches or at The Beachcomber’s office.

What follows are the candidates statements submitted to the VMICC, edited very lightly and only for grammar or style. Every candidate submitted a statement by VMICC’s deadline except Steve Luhr.

The candidates’ statements appear in alphabetical order.

Thomas F. Bangasser

Age: 67

Occupation: Business consultant

What should Vashon Island look like in the year 2050? What we do today, as a community, will become the legacy that we leave to our children and grandchildren. Will our forests, farms and shorelines survive; our educational systems be first rate and adequately funded; our seniors appropriately cared for; our water potable; our town economically viable/sustainable; etc?

Here on Vashon, our unincorporated area community council is our local governance and is primarily responsible to identify, analyze and reconcile those economic, social and environmental challenges that face us. Currently our council lacks any cohesive community-based agenda and operates without a board of directors (contrary to both state law and our bylaws). It is the prime responsibility of our elected board of directors to: 1. identify and set our agenda(s); 2. recommend appropriate priorities and committees to accomplish those objectives; and 3. operate in an open, transparent and accountable manner.

As your new community councilman, the Bangasser agenda will be quite simple and inclusive: Identify the critical issues facing this community through the “Vision 2050 Campaign” (see www.bangasser.org), present pro/con findings to the community through committee reports at general meetings, allocate the necessary resources (time, talent and treasure) necessary to thoroughly vet and resolve each issue and annually prepare a written “State of the Island” report. Recently many have become distracted with “governance;” however, the real challenge is to focus our vision towards the future — be inclusive and proactive while conforming with the open public meetings, public records, growth management and nonprofit corporation acts.

Vote Bangasser for community councilman. He has lived here for almost 20 years, owns his own business, was past president of the Chamber of Commerce, serves as trustee/treasurer of Vashon College, is a member of Rotary and has served on numerous community council committees.

Hilary Emmer

Age: 60

Occupation: Tax preparer, community activist

I have served on the board and have been the treasurer since 2008. I am also a member of the Outreach Committee. Since 2009, the Outreach Committee has strived to keep the community informed of all council business. We now have an e-mail list of more than 325 people. We arranged for the Island-wide free recycling at McFeeds. This was so successful; 25 24-foot trucks left the Island with our computers, metal and appliances.

I helped organize the four forums for the council. Because of the “Talking Trash” forum, our newspapers have become part of the “mixed” paper. This actually makes it easier for us to recycle and saves money for the county.

But to me what was best about each of the different forums was that real conversations that took place. People were energized. The way our general meetings are currently run, we have no conversations on issues other than the motions before us. I hope to change that. I would like to see the forum style be part of our regular council meetings. We need the space and time to discuss whatever is important to us Islanders at the time.

I would like to see the community council go back to our roots and be really independent of King County. We need to take more control of our Island concerns. While I agree with the importance of the Public Records Act, I do not believe that volunteers of a non-profit should be held to the same standards as government entities with paid staff. I feel that being subject to this act has kept many good people away from the council.

I would like the opportunity to be part of the group that helps form our new direction of goals and governance.

Jake Jacobovitch

Age: 50

Occupation: Engineer

I am running for a position on the Vashon-Maury Island Community Council board to help right the ship and have it sailing smoothly again. I am a straightforward, plain-talking, hard-working, and problem-solving “everyman” who focuses on being accessible, responsive and accountable. During my 34 years living on the Island, some of the boards that I have served on are the School District, Park District, Vashon Youth Baseball & Softball, Vashon Island Junior Basketball, Washington State Ferry Advisory Committee, Puget Sound Regional Council Growth Management Policy Board, Island (Arsenic) Remediation and Public Participation Center, as well as on King County Council task forces on cell tower proliferation and code enforcement.

I also served on the VMICC for seven years at the turn of the century, two years as chair of the Land Use and Natural Resources committee, two years as vice president and three years as president. The VMICC was vibrant, relevant and addressed issues important to our community, as indicated by the average participation of 81 people per monthly general meeting through my last three years as president and the fully functioning and well-attended sub-committee meetings, where the real work is done.

I have witnessed the effectiveness and influence of the VMICC in advocating for our community’s wishes as expressed by our community in an open public forum after much dialogue, education, discussion, negotiation, consensus and a vote. Sometimes the waters got stormy, the way dark and the stars were not out. I held the compass and helped keep us on course. We always found our way. The VMICC will have a mostly new crew coming on board in December, and I am willing to hold the compass once again, as needed.

AnnaLisa LaFayette

Age: 26

Occupation: Island retailer

Vashon Island fosters many different beliefs, values, heritages and traditions. We share a rich history. We embody progress, innovation, character and talent. We work hard for our accomplishments, and we celebrate our triumphs. Serving Vashon-Maury Island’s unique community is a rewarding task. I would like the opportunity to utilize my talents and represent the voice of the Island through the community council.

About Me: At 26, I have found my calling in volunteer boards, special events and community projects that enhance the arts. I began my volunteer career at 18 and have appreciated the many skills and resources I have acquired since I began. It is easy for me to connect with people from various backgrounds. I thrive on the connections I make with people everyday.

I joined the Vashon business community one year ago with the opening of my store, Good Merchandise. The store opened the possibility for over 100 Island and regional artists to reach a wider audience, and this number is still growing. If elected, I will continue to represent our creative community and find additional ways to foster the arts on Vashon Island.

I am a proud member of the Vashon Island Women’s Softball League, Vashon Allied Arts, Vashon Heritage Museum, Vashon-Maury Island Chamber of Commerce, Vashon Merchants Association, Vashon-Maury Island Land Trust, Vashon Island Growers Association and the Grassroots Business Association.

Bill Rowling

Age: 63

Occupation: Owner of Truckcity CB, Solar and Electric Vehicle

Grew up in Tacoma and Vashon. I have been married to my high school sweetheart for 40 years. She lived on Vashon until she was 6 and then continued to spend weekends and summers in the house her grandparents bought in 1913. Uncle Johnny grew clams and collected oysters to support the family during the war and sold them at a market in Tacoma. We have two children and three grandchildren who all love Vashon.

Currently attend Island Green Tech meetings and previously attended Safety and Septic/Sewer committees.

Residence: 24115 Vashon Hwy S.W. — the house on Burton Beach with the Styrofoam carvings bringing to attention the ubiquitous pulverized styrofoam all over our beaches. Degree in business middle management from Clover Park Voc/Tech. Vietnam Army veteran 1968-69 2nd 47th Mechanized 9th Infantry Division. Owner of Truckcity CB, Electric Vehicle repair and Solar.

I often write letters to The Beachcomber about Quartermaster Harbor’s water quality, septic systems, fertilizer, etc.

My issues are the arduous, expensive permit process, high energy costs, failed school levies, food and housing for our less fortunate, cleaning up and cultivating Puget Sound, all of which are tied to money.

I have a dream of an independently wealthy Vashon/Maury Island paid for by a shellfish co-op growing oysters, clams and geoduck plus all the support businesses it takes. My research shows that a shellfish co-op will create at least 300 high-paying jobs and generate $300 million exporting to a growing rich world market. I am currently making sure our Islands get a fair chance at getting state shellfish leases. I am currently working to keep the huge shellfish corporations from grabbing it all.

My business background is in retail, electronics and renewable energy. My latest endeavor has been inventing and testing a 3-6 kWh Evacuated Tube home heater.

Carl E. Sells

Age: 67

Occupation: Retired from industrial process control business

I’m Carl Sells, a retired Navy officer, small business owner and 19-year Vashonite. I’m running for a position on the Vashon-Maury Island Community Council (VMICC). As I’ve watched our community evolve from rural to more urban under the umbrella of unincorporated King County, I’ve become increasingly concerned about our ability to discuss and make our own choices or at least be able influence those in county government who do make the choices.

I think it’s essential for the residents of our Island to have a working relationship and open dialogue with King County government. The community council represents all residents of the island and has existed in various forms since the 1930s.

The Unincorporated Area Council (UAC) system was created to recognize and support VMICC and similar groups in King County and the state. While the system may not be perfect, it took several years and legislative action to create it. I believe we can improve how the county and we function together. A massive urban population dominates King County. We need to help King County officials understand that what is good for a city is not necessarily good for a village. It is better that government does things for us, not to us.

It is my goal to strengthen VMICC and our relationship with King County. I ask for your vote in the election of the VMICC board. I want to represent you, your ideas and needs to the county. I want to hear about the concerns of all our residents.

Mary G.L. Shackelford

Age: 57

Occupation: Self-employed writer/editor

Several people active in community affairs asked me to consider serving on the community council. Living on Vashon for 30-plus years, raising my family and working in the community, I have a deep appreciation for our islands. When I arrived on Vashon, Enid Dolstad, Marian Fitch, Marian Calhoun and Vivian Conant mentored me, showing the way with their commitment to community service. With recent changes in my family and work obligations, it’s time to step up and offer what I can to help.

With the current confusion and clear call for change, I see an opening to shift and strengthen the community council. I have the interest, energy, skills, time and commitment to help weave a stronger, more flexible form for the community council. I would like to be part of a board that is focused on creative, respectful solutions, a board willing to listen, learn and do things differently while building on its successes.

Having been active in community affairs throughout the 80s and 90s, I continue to be interested, informed and committed to the well-being of our islands. In the past decade, as I have reflected deeply on what serves to bring community together, I have honed my collaborative leadership skills. I bring a fresh perspective — without a personal agenda.

I will gladly pitch in to help sort through the current conflict so we can create a strong civic forum that is open, respectful and welcoming of all Island voices. I am committed to strengthening Vashon’s voice in important county, regional and state matters that affect our community. I bring skills to build awareness of our common purpose and goals — both within our Island community and between our community and the various governmental bodies that have such a huge impact on what happens here.

Thank you for your support!

Douglas Skove

Age: 47

Occupation: Vashon Park District employee

I would like to serve as a volunteer on the VMICC as a board member in order to help find options to our Island challenges. My goal is to work with others in the spirit of community and informed debate so that the council functions to represent, as much as possible, the consensus view of Islanders toward any issue. Serving on the board would also give me a chance to work with others regarding topics that I am passionate about — including the arts on Vashon and our environmental challenges, particularly shoreline management. Serving on the board would allow me to be a more involved community member. Instead of just griping about our Island challenges, I want to contribute to the solutions.

Frederick Woodruff

Age: 54

Occupation: Counselor, artist and writer

How much more Huffington Post could I read before my head exploded? Not a word. Instead of wasting time kvetching, I decided to become proactive and involve myself with our community’s local issues and concerns.

After the recent VMICC board meltdown, I sensed an opportunity for the board to forge a more substantial and engaged relationship with King County. That notion galvanized my decision to run for the VMICC. As the national political/economic forecast appears more bizarre and unsettling, a rural environment such as Vashon-Maury Island will need organized representation to maintain its integrity and unique spirit through challenging times — times that will involve cutbacks and compromises, as well as new opportunities for creative change.

As a nine-year resident of Vashon Island, specific interests and concerns for me are water, animals and preserving our rural status. Our aquifer is unique and delicate. It needs careful attention, monitoring and protection. Organizations that represent our Island’s critter population (such as Vashon Island Pet Protectors and Wolf Town) also need a voice on our board. I will be that person.

My primary aim is to uphold Vashon’s relationship to King County’s comprehensive plan, which, in its closing statement, reads: “King County citizens and policy makers maintain a commitment to preserving the environment and the unique quality of life that make our region one of the most livable in the world.”

Doesn’t that statement sound specific to Vashon-Maury Island? I thought so too.

Islanders will cast ballots by a method called rank-choice voting — meaning they must rank their choices using numbers (1 to 10), with a number 1 for their top choice, 2 for the second choice, etc. They should leave blank those whom they do not support. Those ballots with check marks next to names will be invalidated.

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