And then there were two: Second write-in candidate for Poulsbo City Council

Artist and author Bill Mash is making his first foray into local politics

POULSBO — Once, there was one. Then there were none. And now there are two.

Strange math?

Strange election.

Poulsbo City Council Position 7 attracted a second write-in candidate Oct. 17: Bill Mash, an artist and author who, two weeks shy of his 87th birthday, is making his first foray into local politics.

Abby Garland, a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in post-secondary education, registered as a write-in candidate on Oct. 9, shortly after learning that John R. Bukowsky, whose name is on the ballot, had withdrawn his candidacy.

If Bukowsky receives the most votes on Nov. 7, the position will be considered vacant and the City Council will appoint someone to the position. Jim Henry, the current council member, is retiring after 25 years in city government.

“I wrote a book when I turned 83 and the response was great,” Mash said. “I’ve been an artist and a painter for 70 years, and when I heard there was a possible need for someone on the council, I thought, ‘This is great. I have a chance to get [on the council].’ “

So, where voters once had only one choice, Bukowsky, they now have two: Garland, who wants to create more downtown parking, lure more childcare businesses to Poulsbo, and identify and resolve other “affordability factors” that force people to commute; and Mash, who wants to see downtown become more of an arts district with more activities for residents and visitors. He frequents the Poulsbohemian Coffeehouse, where monthly poetry readings have consistently taken place for a quarter-century; he likes that vibe and would like to see more of that downtown.

“I’m an artist, a designer, an advocate for the arts, so this is a natural avenue for me,” he said. “I’ve lived in Poulsbo for 40 years. If you go into Old Town, there are 15 storefronts that are vacant. That’s driving me nuts. I would do what I could to bring more arts and activities here.”

He added, “You see an $800,000 yacht pull into the Poulsbo Marina, you have to be able to offer them more than just a doughnut and a cup of coffee. People don’t know what to do when they get here.”

Mash wrote his first book, “The Magical Pen,” in 2013; the book is available through Amazon. The book is a collection of 18 short stories based on the magical journey of the first fountain pen. As the pen is passed on from one person to another, it has a profound effect on the lives of those that find it. Reviewers wrote: “I found this book to be very uplifting and I hope to read more from this author,” and “This is a book that everyone should read. Uplifting, positive and just plain enjoyable.”

He said he’s writing a second book — a collection of 40 short stories, each of which has the potential, he said, of becoming a separate book.

In addition to being an artist and author — and now, a City Council candidate — Mash once designed a racing bicycle.

“I’m an old geezer who’s had so much fun,” he said. “I think I would be a good fit on the City Council.”

City Council members are elected to four-year terms. They set policies, adopt ordinances, approve the budget, and represent residents and the city on various local and regional committees. City Council members receive $6,000 to $9,000 a year, depending on when they were elected.

— Richard Walker is managing editor of Kitsap News Group. Contact him at