Voters stick with familiar faces, voices
June 9, 2008 · Updated 6:01 PM
Mayor Kordonowy earns a second term, as do two incumbent councilors
It was a return to form Tuesday night as election results streamed in, carrying Mayor Darlene Kordonowy to a second term and handing out victories to incumbent city councilors and two new candidates who espouse traditional island values.
Thats how incoming councilman Christopher Snow read it, at least.
Its interesting to see that the race was traditional in its outcome, said Snow, who claimed Christine Rolfes seat in an uncontested race. The values and interests represented in successful candidates of the past were the winners in this race, too. Theres not a great enthusiasm for changing course.
Kordonowy drew 62 percent of the vote, besting challenger Nezam Tooloee, a first-term councilman, in unofficial final returns.
In council races, incumbents Bill Knobloch and Debbie Vancil also won second terms.
Knobloch defeated challenger John Doerschuk, a real estate manager, with 64 percent of the vote. Vancil bested Frank Renna Jr., a retired utilities manager, with 57 percent.
Former urban planner and property appraiser Kjell Stoknes earned 70 percent against Doug Smith, a former sales director, to secure Deborah Vanns vacant central ward council seat.
Snow coasted unopposed to represent the south end.
There was a strong resistance to change considering the community agenda, said Knobloch, who discussed the election between well-wishers door-belling his home Thursday. As Ive said throughout the campaign, were at a critical moment in our history.
Because of growth and needs in infrastructure and the decisions we need to make about these issues, voters were reluctant to change horses midstream.
For Stoknes, the message voters sent was that they dont want to watch over the council and be watchdogs. They want reliable decisions that protect their interests.
The majority care about the quality of life on this island, whether it be protecting rural Bainbridge, our critical areas, minimizing traffics impacts and (development) in downtown Winslow, he said. They dont want Bainbridge over-developed and they want it to be a place they can still enjoy.
Vann was happy to hand Stoknes her council seat.
I love Kjell, she said. Hes great. Hes the main reason I decided I didnt want to run because I knew he was running.
Vann is confident Stoknes will continue championing issues dear to her.
Thats the sense I get, she said. He cares about the environment and (doesnt support) the whole re-do of the Critical Areas Ordinance, which has been a disaster.
One of the authors of many of the ordinances re-writes, Councilman Nezam Tooloee, wasnt successful in his bid to unseat Kordonowy. But then, he wasnt betting on it.
I didnt expect to win, Tooloee said as results came in Tuesday evening. The odds were in Darlenes favor, theyve always been in her favor. Even before she ran for mayor the first time, she had the best civic resume in town with 20 plus years of involvement and more friends than God.
Rallying a number of allies that rival the divine must mean she has a lot in common with a lot of island voters.
She has an intense history on the island, said Snow. She and Debbie Vancil and Bill are seen by most on the island as being on the right side of the issues.
One issue that appeared to be on the wrong side was the effort to remove the state ferry maintenance yard from Eagle Harbor. All three candidates Tooloee, Doerschuk and Smith that highlighted the yards relocation were unsuccessful in their campaigns.
The vote shows theres not a referendum on the maintenance facility, said Smith, who campaigned with little defining him from Stoknes apart from his position on the ferry yard. I think you can see that because both John (Doerschuk) and I lost.
The battles lost but the war continues, pledged Doerschuk.
Its still there, he said. It hasnt been addressed yet. Some of the smoke needs to clear.
When it does, he and Smith are planning presentations and discussions about the yards future.
The CAOs update also appeared to have impacted the election. Vancil blamed a difficult campaign on charges by a local environmental group that she was behind changes aimed at eroding protections.
The people that raised that had no basis, Vancil said. The results give me confidence in our communitys ability to sort fact from fiction.
Her challenger, Renna, initially dropped out of the race, was a relative newcomer to the island and lives part-time in New Jersey. Still, his pro-environment campaign drew votes away from Vancil, netting him 43 percent.
Renna, vacationing in Italy, could not be reached for comment. His showing against a well-known and longtime island resident shows that recent transplants also reflect the islands traditional values, Snow said.
You can see it in some of the candidates and in the way people voted new residents have become islanders, he said.
During the campaign, Knobloch surmised that the failure of the school districts technology levy revealed a dramatic change in island demographics over the last five years.
Fewer families and young people reside here while well-heeled older residents are moving in. But they either come thinking like islanders or something else seeps in, Snow agreed.
Maybe its the water, he said. But whoever says place doesnt have an impact on peoples thinking is wrong.
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How you voted
Mayor Darlene Kordonowy
City Council, North Ward
City Council, Central Ward
City Council, Central Ward
City Council, South Ward
Mike Foley (unopposed)
Mary Curtis (unopposed)
Source: unofficial final returns from the Kitsap Elections Division through Thursday. Because of write-ins, some race results do not add up to 100 percent.