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UPDATE:Kordonowy, open space levy earn easy victories

Darlene Kordonowy and a levy to save Bainbridge open space rode overwhelming voter support to victory Tuesday.

Kordonowy earned better than 63 percent against Chris Llewellyn in the race to succeed Dwight Sutton as the next mayor of Bainbridge Island.

"I'm overwhelmed by the support shown by the release of the late numbers,"

Kordonowy said. "The message I was delivering resounded with the community."

Kordonowy said her showing was attributable to the broad base of support her

campaign received, as shown by the number of people who participated in the

campaign.

A longtime planning commissioner, Kordonowy campaigned largely on her record of public service on Bainbridge. As chair of the Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee in the early 1990s, she was one of the prime architects of island’s long-range map for growth and economic development.

"I lost," said Chris Llewellyn, "but I gave it my best shot. I learned a lot

about the community,and appreciate all the people who got to know me and

trust me. I wish them all the best."

Also, with unofficial final returns at evening’s end, the $8 million open space levy prevailed with 67 percent support. As an “excess levy,” the issue needed 60 percent to prevail.

Neil Johannsen, who co-chaired the open space campaign with Lynda McMaken and Connie Waddington, described the levy as a “defense of homeland” issue for islanders.

“The best politics are those that grasp the issues of the day,” Johannsen said. “It’s been very clear that the issues of the day on Bainbridge are the loss of open space, the speed of growth, traffic jams, urban sprawl.”

The levy effort began two years ago, when the park district organized an ad hoc committee to study land aquisition. When Mayor Dwight Sutton proposed a bond issue earlier this year, the campaign got under way in earnest; volunteers raised more than $14,000 in donations for an extensive advertising and direct mail effort.

Johannsen said he was buttressed by the enthusiastic feedback he received while promoting the levy, particularly when he visited the Senior Center just a day after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

“I thought we were going to have a moment of silence,” he said. “Instead, I was surrounded by a group of people, probably in their 80s, who said, ‘no, we want to do something positive.”

In city council races Tuesday, one half of the Llewellyn ticket fared little better than the other. Voters turned out incumbent City Councilman Jim Llewellyn, mayoral candidate Chris Llewellyn’s husband, after just a single term.

He was bested by Deborah Vann, a Ferncliff area political activist and former social worker who said she challenged the incumbent to give voters a choice in the central ward, position 5 race.

Vann tallied 3,153 votes to Llewellyn’s 2,405, a 57-43 percent margin.

"I'd be more disappointed if I thought voters had used more conventional

criteria to make their decisions," Llewellyn said, "but I think marital

status became an issue on an island that I thought was too sophisticated for

that."

Vann said she thought the issue that resonated with voters was growth and

development.

"People aren't pleased about what is happening on the island, including me,"

she said. "I think it's pretty clear where Jim Llewellyn stands on that

issue, and where I stand."

Another Ferncliff activist, former pilot and naval officer Bill Knobloch, defeated builder Bill Nelson for the central ward, position 4 seat, in the closest of the three council races.

Knobloch earned 2,957 votes to Nelson’s 2,654, or 53-47 percent. He could not be immediately reached for comment.

The widest margin was seen in the city council’s north ward, position 7 race, where businesswoman Deborah Vancil outpolled architect Thomas Hofferber by 3,952 votes to 1,284, a 75-25 percent split.

Vancil, like Kordonowy a longtime planning commissioner, cited her years of civic involvement with local arts, business and environmental groups as definitive in the campaign.

“I think peole knew me and had worked with me,” Vancil said. “People could judge me by what I’ve done, not by what I would say I would do.”

Vancil said she was gratified by the margin of victory, given that her campaign spent comparatively little on advertising.

“Our expenditure per vote was miniscule,” she said. “I think it goes to show that on Bainbridge, you don’t buy votes with money. It takes trust and confidence, and it takes time.”

In the race for an open seat on the Bainbridge fire commission, James “Jim” Johnson was defeating Scott Gray by 51-48 percent, with the balance of the votes going to write-in candidates. Only 152 votes separated the pair, out of more than 4,600 votes cast. A number of absentee ballots have yet to be counted before the election is certified.

Also, incumbent school board member Susan Sivitz held her seat, routing challenger Peter Harris by a 65-35 percent margin.

In off-island mayoral races, Poulsbo voters sided with incumbent Donna Jean Bruce over Mike Regis, 55-44 percent, while Cary Bozeman downed Louis Mentor for the open Bremerton post, 54-46 percent.

A bond levy to replace the Cencom 911 center in Bremerton, the only countywide issue on the ballot, won easily with 66 percent of the vote.

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