Tooloee, Llewellyn vault onto council

In lopsided votes, political newcomer Nezam Tooloee and former council member Jim Llewellyn claimed seats on the Bainbridge Island City Council in Tuesday’s general election.

Tooloee, a businessman and entrepreneur running against environmental activist Arnie Kubiak, earned 63 percent of the island-wide vote to take the council’s new at-large seat. Tooloee earned 4,790 votes to 2,784 for Kubiak, in unofficial final returns.

In the more hotly contested council race, voters returned Llewellyn to office just two years after he failed in a re-election bid. Llewellyn claimed 59 percent of the vote to unseat incumbent Michael Pollock in the southwest ward, by an unofficial count of 4,385 votes to 3,068.

The returns showed countywide voter turnout of 50 percent, according to updated numbers released Friday by the Kitsap County Auditor’s Office.

Llewellyn, a contractor and small-business owner, campaigned on themes of political moderation and restoring public confidence in a council marred by acrimony and skirmishes with the mayor for much of the past two years.

“I’m really happy,” Llewellyn said Wednesday. “Running against Pollock, nobody was giving me more than a chance of a 51-49 percent type of victory. Everybody thought the vote was going to be close and hard.”

He added: “(But) I had to put on my Clark Kent outfit today and go back to work.”

Pollock, a policy analyst and research scientist who focused on land use issues during his first term, ran largely on his environmental record.

The campaign season saw a negative turn; Llewellyn was battered for what was said to be a poor environmental voting record during his previous council term, while Pollock was repeatedly linked to intrigue at City Hall.

Pollock said Thursday that the results bring a “diversity of voices” to the council that gives next year’s group “the opportunity to do great things.”

“It seems that everybody ran on a theme of protecting quaity of life on the island and protecting the environment, and those are positive things,” Pollock said. “I think they’ll have success if they move forward in that direction.”

Tooloee, whose primary theme was engaging a broader spectrum of views in the political process, termed the election results a call for “positive change.”

“I think it’s really imperative that we as a community, not just at City Hall, find real answers to these environmental and growth concerns that we all have,” he said. “We must do that by finding common ground...and there’s room for a lot of that.”

Kubiak could not be reached for comment Friday.

In other council races, incumbent Christine Rolfes was re-elected unopposed in the southwest ward, while Bob Scales, a policy analyst in the office of Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, joined the council from the north ward without opposition.

In other races, Sarah “Sally” Mathews earned a plurality victory in a four-way race for a vacant seat on the Bainbridge Island Park and Recreation District board.

Mathews, active in the Bainbridge Island Senior Center, earned 33 percent of the vote, to 29 percent for John Grinter and 24 percent for Thomas Kilbane, both trails activists and park volunteers, and 13 percent for retired architect Richard LaBotz.

In the other contested park board race, incumbent Kirk Robinson held his seat by a 63-37 percent mark over Stewart Atkinson. Robinson had to defend the post after being appointed to fill a vacancy earlier this year.

Incumbent park commissioners Dave Shorett and Ken DeWitt were re-elected without opposition, as were school board members Cheryl Dale and Bruce Weiland. David Pollock, who had been recruited by board members to seek a vacant school board seat, also won unopposed.

In a countywide vote, a Kitsap Transit sales tax hike proposal to restore lost foot-ferry service left the dock but promptly sank, earning just 38 percent support.

Kitsap Transit Executive Director Dick Hayes said he was dismayed by the gap, but said it simply served as evidence that the passenger-only ferry plan needed “a major overhaul.”

Hayes said transit staff plans to spend the next few months talking to people to get a better idea of what kind of proposal will fly with Kitsap voters.

Hayes said Kitsap Transit has no plans to launch its own special election come April.

“We’ve heard from the people that love it and the people that hate it – now we want to hear from the people in the middle,” he said.

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