What a merger would look like. (Lake Stevens Fire)

What a merger would look like. (Lake Stevens Fire)

Roundup: Fire districts to merge, incumbents are prevailing

Two ex-Lynnwood councilmen will likely vie for one seat as two current members prepare to face off.

One of Snohomish County’s largest fire districts is on track to get even bigger thanks to voters.

And incumbent members of school boards and city councils fared well in Tuesday’s primary election, setting the stage for some interesting races in the general election in November.

Here’s a rundown on some closely watched matters on the primary ballot.

Snohomish County election officials plan to update the results Wednesday afternoon.

Fire districts merger

Voters in and around Lake Stevens are overwhelmingly endorsing a merging of their Fire District 8 into Snohomish County District 7.

More than 80 percent backed the marriage which, if the results hold, would increase the size of District 7 to encompass 11 stations with a combined 234 responders. It would serve 162,000 residents across 140 square miles. Today District 7 serves around 116,000 people from Mill Creek to Monroe and beyond.

“I’m really, really happy for our community,” said Kevin O’Brien, chief of the Lake Stevens district. “It’s going to be a great benefit to the community. Our plan is to have the merger complete by January of 2020.”

Though the districts are separated geographically by Fire District 4 in and around Snohomish, a merger is permitted by state law due to the close proximity of the two districts. Backers of the merger said it would create an efficient fire district, despite the 15-minute drive separating districts 7 and 8.

Both districts have a voter-approved maximum levy rate of $2 per $1,000 of assessed property value — $1.50 for fire and 50 cents for emergency medical

However, over time, the actual rate imposed in Fire District 7 has dropped to $1.34. A separate measure on Tuesday’s ballot asked voters in Fire District 7 to approve a rate increase of 16 cents, back to the $1.50 rate for fire protection.

That measure was failing by a margin of 59 percent to 41 percent.

O’Brien said the Fire District 7 levy vote would have no effect on the merger.

Edmonds School Board

Incumbent director Gary Noble led four challengers in the first night of voting with 46.1 percent of the vote.

First-time candidates Rory Graves and Jennifer Cail followed with 20.2 percent and 19.8 percent respectively. Fewer than 100 votes separate the women, one of whom will advance to face Noble in November.

Mary Schultz and Boe Lindgren, also making their first runs for office, received 8 percent and 5 percent respectively.

Noble is seeking a fifth term representing District 3. He voted in May to lay off roughly three dozen teachers as part of a cost-cutting plan to address a looming budget shortfall. Some of his opponents cited their disagreement with that vote as one of their reasons for running.

Meanwhile, Nancy Katims and Lisa Hunnewell are leading in the four-candidate contest for an open seat in District 5.

Katims had nearly 54 percent of the vote Tuesday. Hunnewell was receiving 22 percent. Rina Maile Redrup, and Casey Auve were trailing.

“I look forward to carrying our message forward to the November election,” Katims said. “Tonight’s results make it clear that voters share my sense of urgency about student learning in the Edmonds School District. We are now one step closer to a school board energetically focused on student success for all.”

The two are vying to succeed Diana White, the current president, who opted to run for Edmonds City Council rather than seek another term.

Lynnwood City Council

Changes in leadership loom as voters narrowed the field in contested races for three seats.

The battle for Position 7 pitted Councilwoman Shannon Sessions, who is seeking a second term in the seat, against a fellow councilwoman, Shirley Sutton, and Maggie Mae, a leader of the Snohomish County Libertarian Party.

Sessions garnered 47.5 percent in Tuesday’s tally. Sutton, who serves in Position 4 but chose to take on Sessions rather than seek re-election for her seat, received 32.6 percent with Mae getting 19.4 percent.

Sutton’s decision created an opening for Position 4 and six candidates — including two former City Councilmembers — vied for the seat.

On Tuesday, those ex-council members, Jim Smith and Van AuBuchon, were ahead of the other four candidates — Naz Lashgari, James Rutherford, Ashkan Amouzegar and Diodato Boucsieguez.

Smith had 36.6 percent and AuBuchon had 19.3 percent followed by Lashgari with 15.5 percent, Rutherford 10.6 percent, Amouzegar 9.7 percent and Boucsieguez 8 percent.

In the contest for Position 5, Julieta Altamirano-Crosby led with 40.3 percent followed by David Schirle with 36.5 percent and Rosamaria Graziani with 22.9 percent. Council President Benjamin Goodwin chose not to run for re-election for this seat.

Marysville City Council

Former councilman Jeff Seibert and planning commissioner Kelly Richards are leading in a five-person race to fill the seat now held by Councilman Rob Toyer, who is running for Snohomish County treasurer rather than seek re-election.

Seibert, who served 16 years before losing his seat in 2017, had 36.7 percent, while Richards had 20.2 percent in the first round of ballot counting.

Todd Fahlman is in third with 16 percent followed by Noah Rui with 14.2 percent and Gary Kemp with 12.4 percent.

Everett School Board

Jamyang Dorjee Nhangkar, who was appointed to the board in September, and Andrew J. Nicholls are leading in the race for Position 1.

Nhangkar, a public affairs specialist with Community Transit, had almost 42 percent while Nicholls, a research social worker with the VA Puget Sound Medical Center, had nearly 36 percent. Larisa Karpenko, a symphony orchestra conductor at Unison Music School in Mukilteo, was in a distant third.

April Berg, a planning commissioner who works in the aerospace industry, and Brian Hollingshead, owner of Everett Office Furniture, are advancing in the contest for Position 2. Berg had nearly 43 percent and Hollingshead had 39 percent. Janelle Burke, a freelance journalist and stay-at-home mom, was third with about 17 percent.

School Board President Carol Andrews, who holds the seat now, chose not to seek reelection following 12 years on the board.

Sultan Mayor

City Councilmembers Russell Wiita and John Seehuus will be dueling this fall for the mayoral job.

Wiita, who is finishing his first term on the council, led the three-way race with just over 46 percent of the vote. He works as a legislative aide to Republican County Councilman Nate Nehring.

Seehus, who is in his second stint on the council, was appointed mayor in January 2018 and is now seeking a full term. He was in second with just under 40 percent. He trailed Wiita by 41 votes.

Rocky Walker, a member of the City Council since 2014, received 13 percent.

Lake Stevens City Council

Mary Dickinson, a retired Spanish and English as a Second Language instructor, was leading incumbent Councilman Todd Welch by 21 votes on election night. Welch is bidding for a third term as an elected leader of this growing city.

Welch, an IT systems engineer and Navy veteran, received 34.7 percent in Tuesday’s tally. Dickinson received 35.3 percent. Fellow challenger Carolyn Bennett, a former Marine who has worked in the business and legal industries, had 29.3 percent.

Port of Everett

David Simpson, a former Everett City Councilman who served one year in the state Legislature, was leading in a race for a seat on the Port of Everett commission.

His 42 percent was well ahead of Commissioner Bruce Fingarson, who was appointed to the commission in 2017. He received nearly 31 percent.

In third place Tuesday night was Jeff LaLone, co-owner of Everett Bayside Marina, with just under 27 percent.

Fingarson was chosen to replace Troy McClelland who resigned to take a job in Massachusetts.

The winner of the November election will fill the remaining two years of McClelland’s six-year term.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@herald net.com. Twitter: @dospueblos.

This story has been modified to correct levy-rate numbers for Fire District 7.

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