Unpaid work weighing rewrites of the Pierce County charter proved to be a big draw during the one-week candidate filing period that closed Friday afternoon.
A total of 92 people filed for 21 spots on the Pierce County Charter Review Commission, which will meet to study the 1980 home-rule charter — essentially the constitution of county government — and send proposed amendments to voters. The commission consists of three nonpartisan members from each of the county’s seven council districts.
Among the candidates are several past elected officials, including former Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg, state Rep. Grant Pelesky, county Auditor Cathy Pearsall-Stipek, and County Council members Shawn Bunney, Tim Farrell, Barbara Gelman, Stan Flemming and Jan Shabro. A couple of current officeholders, County Councilman Jim McCune and state Rep. David Sawyer, also are running.
In other offices, the number of competitive races increased with last-day filings in several cities, including Tacoma, University Place, Fife and Fircrest.
But that trend didn’t reach Sumner, Roy, Ruston, South Prairie or Wilkeson, where candidates for a total of 14 positions are unopposed. Eatonville, Bonney Lake, Buckley and Milton have only one contested race each.
In Tacoma, City Councilman Anders Ibsen got an unexpected challenge from high school teacher John Hines, who had previously filed to run for an open at-large seat. Hines enters the District 1 race with endorsements from Mayor Marilyn Strickland and every council member except Ibsen and Ryan Mello.
Hines and Ibsen face a primary contest against a third candidate, Tara Doyle-Enneking, who owns and runs a used car dealership with her husband and a business partner.
Hines’ exit leaves attorney Conor McCarthy and Suzanne Skaar, who works for a nonprofit that provides education to orphans in Tanzania, to compete for the at-large seat being vacated by Councilman David Boe.
Another open seat in District 3, which includes the Hilltop and Tacoma Mall areas, attracted a field of seven people looking to replace Lauren Walker, who is term-limited. Pierce Transit government relations manager Justin Leighton, Tacoma restaurant owner Kris Blondin, Metropolitan Development Council education adviser Keith Blocker, State Farm employee Whitney Brady, Pierce College professor Tom McCarthy, Army veteran Valentine Smith and perennial candidate and convicted felon Robert Hill filed for the post.
Meanwhile in Fircrest, the most surprising development was who didn’t file: David Viafore, the city’s mayor for all but two of the past 21 years. Former Fircrest Councilman Blake Surina will run unopposed for Viafore’s seat.
Here’s a look at some other races:
• In the area’s sole state legislative race, Democrat Carol Gregory of Federal Way and Republican Teri Hickel of Milton filed for a House seat in the 30th Legislative District. They are vying for an unexpired one-year term after Gregory was appointed to the post last year to replace the late Roger Freeman.
• In West Pierce, council members in Gig Harbor and Lakewood drew opponents.
Activist Jeni Woock will challenge Gig Harbor councilman Michael Perrow. Woock spearheads the group Citizens for the Preservation of Gig Harbor. Perrow’s fellow councilman, Ken Malich, has a challenger in Al Abbott, who owns CarrotStick Management.
In Lakewood, Councilwoman Marie Barth faces a primary election contest, having drawn two opponents, local teachers union official Ben Gonter and Michael Petan.
• Two candidates want to fill the Puyallup District 1 seat now occupied by Mayor John Knutsen, who says he is taking a break from elected office. Planning commission member Pat McGregor has filed along with Robin Farris, who led an unsuccessful recall campaign against former County Assessor-Treasurer Dale Washam in 2011.
Meanwhile, Councilman John Palmer is running in the city’s most crowded race. Challengers Diana Martin, Keith Sherrill and Zac Green all seek to unseat the incumbent.
District 3 incumbent Tom Swanson faces familiar challenger Robin Ordonez, a former planning commission member who was defeated by Swanson in the 2011 general election. And 19-year Puyallup resident Dean Johnson is pitted against Councilman Steve Vermillion for the at-large seat.
• An Orting councilman with decades of city government experience faces several opponents in one of the city’s four contested races.
Guy (Sam) Colorossi first served on the council in 1964 and has held various positions since, including mayor. His challengers include Nicola McDonald and Douglas Bishop, who was elected to the council in 2003. After a stint running Orting’s fire district more than a decade ago, Bishop was the subject of state audit reports in 2006 and 2007 that faulted him for poor financial management and collecting disability benefits while working and receiving full-time pay as acting chief, respectively.
Gwen Robson, executive assistant to Orting’s city administrator who initially filed to run against Colorossi, switched to the three-way race for Position 1 Friday.
• Two sitting Port of Tacoma commissioners also drew challengers Friday.
Don Johnson, president of the port commission and the former vice-president and general manager of the former Simpson Tacoma Kraft mill, faces Bruce Cook of Lakebay. Cook did not return a call for comment after his filing Friday.
Clare Petrich, a small-business woman who has been a port commissioner for 20 years, is opposed by Dick Walters, a former wood products executive and retired Navy captain from University Place. Also running for the position is Patrick A. Gallagher, who also could not be reached Friday.
• Primary races will take place in four Pierce County school districts.
In Tacoma, incumbent Catherine Ushka faces three challengers for Position 2. Will Jenkins is a military retiree who served in the Marine Corps and Army and now represents Vibrant Schools on a school district equity and academic excellence committee. Robert Bearden, retired from the Coast Guard and now a business owner and consultant, is married to a Tacoma paraeducator. Antonio Wyatt also filed for Position 2 but couldn’t be reached Friday.
Also in Tacoma, three candidates are seeking the Position 4 open seat currently held by Kurt Miller, who is not seeking re-election. Andrea Cobb is a project manager for the Tacoma Housing Authority and formerly a policy analyst for the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Alisa Regala O’Hanlon works for the city of Tacoma, focusing on federal and tribal government relations. David Carnahan, a National Guard member, owns a small media business and has volunteered at Lincoln High School and junior ROTC events.
In the Peninsula School District, incumbent Matthew Wilkinson, a computer support specialist for the Navy, faces two challengers to represent District 1. Marcia Harris and Audra Garcia also filed for the position.
Three candidates are seeking the Peninsula’s open seat in District 4. Harlan Gallinger is not seeking re-election.
Leslie Harbaugh co-chaired the district’s 2014 bond-levy campaign and is a 13-year volunteer in the school district. She is up against Garth Jackson and Zachary Smith, who couldn’t be reached.
In Steilacoom, incumbent Yoshie Wong will face former school board member John Anderson, a retired Boeing engineer, and Steve Schenk, a PTA board member at Pioneer Middle School and member of the Steilacoom Historic Education Foundation.
Three candidates hope to represent District 2 in the Orting School District. Jim Winkle, chief financial officer of Harbor Wholesale Foods, is the parent of two sons in Orting schools and a youth sports coach. Candidates Pam VanGilder and Stanley Holland also filed for the position.
Some Pierce County elections draw a crowd, others uncontested
(I) denotes incumbent
District No. 30
County Charter Review Commission
Pierce Superior Court
Port of Tacoma
City of Auburn
City of Bonney Lake
City of Buckley
Town of Carbonado
City of DuPont
Town of Eatonville
City of Edgewood
City of Fife
City of Fircrest
City of Gig Harbor
City of Lakewood
City of Milton
City of Orting
City of Pacific
City of Puyallup
City of Roy
City of Ruston
Town of South Prairie
Town of Steilacoom
City of Sumner
City of Tacoma
City of University Place
Town of Wilkeson
Auburn School District No. 408
Bethel School District No. 403
Carbonado Historical School Dist. No. 19
Clover Park School District No. 400
Dieringer School District No. 343
Eatonville School District No. 404
Fife School District No. 417
Franklin Pierce School District No. 402
Orting School District No. 344
Peninsula School District No. 401
Puyallup School District No. 3
Steilacoom Historical School Dist. No. 1
Sumner School District No. 320
Tacoma School District No. 10
University Place School District No. 83
White River School District No. 416
Yelm Community Schools District No. 2
East Pierce Fire and Rescue
Fire Protection District No. 3 (University Place)
Fire Protection District No. 5 (Gig Harbor)
Fire Protection District No. 6 (Central Pierce)
Fire Protection District No. 10 (Fife)
Fire Protection District No. 13 (Browns Point/Dash Point)
Fire Protection District No. 14 (Riverside)
Fire Protection District No. 16 (Key Peninsula)
Fire Protection District No. 17 (South Prairie)
Fire Protection District No. 18 (Orting)
Fire Protection District No. 21 (Graham)
Fire Protection District No. 23 (Ashford)
Fire Protection District No. 26 (Greenwater)
Fire Protection District No. 27 (Anderson Island)
Key Peninsula Metropolitan Park Dist
Metropolitan Park District Of Tacoma
Peninsula Metropolitan Park District