Matthew Staples was all set to run for Lacey City Council until he got the bad news Thursday: He lives just outside the city limits, which means he’s ineligible for a seat on the council.
Thurston County Auditor Mary Hall, who oversees elections in Thurston County, said Staples lives about five parcels east of the city limits, which puts him in the city’s urban growth area but, at least for now, in unincorporated Thurston County.
“I’m 500 feet outside the city limits,” said a frustrated Staples Thursday night. He lives in the 6800 block of 11th Ave. NE, just south of Interstate 5, between Carpenter Road and Thompson Place.
Adding to his frustration: He lives in an unincorporated peninsula surrounded by Lacey city limits. He has lived in the area since 1999.
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Staples vowed Thursday night that he wouldn’t give up.
“I will find a way,” he said.
It wasn’t immediately clear how he might accomplish that in the short term. A check of city policies regarding council candidates shows that they must be “a resident of the city for a period of one year preceding the election.”
As a result, the number of candidates who have applied to run for a council seat likely is back to two: Ken Balsley and Richard Bokofsky. Businesswoman Cindy Sharpe says she’s considering a run too.
Balsley has identified Position No. 3 as his goal, while Bokofsky has yet to declare his intentions.
The Position 3 seat is held by incumbent Jeff Gadman, but he was appointed Thurston County treasurer last month and is set to resign from the council Thursday.
As many as five council seats are in play this election. Gadman is set to resign, Virgil Clarkson has decided he won’t run again, and incumbents Cynthia Pratt, Michael Steadman and Andy Ryder are up for election. Steadman has already filed to defend his seat. Councilmen Lenny Greenstein and Jason Hearn are not up for election.