Write-in candidates fall way short in bids for Poulsbo City Council, Position 7 | 2017 Election

John R. Bukowsky, who withdrew his candidacy, wins; council will likely appoint new member

POULSBO — The voters’ choice for Poulsbo City Council Position 7 is someone who doesn’t want the job.

As of 8:10 p.m. Nov. 7, John R. Bukowsky — who withdrew his candidacy after the deadline had passed to keep his name off the ballot — received 1,012 votes to write-in candidates Abby Garland and Bill Mash’s 140 votes, according to early returns posted by the Kitsap County Auditor Elections Office.

How many write-in votes went to Garland, and how many went to Mash, wasn’t reported Election Night. Should Bukowsky prevail, the position will be considered vacant when retiring Council member Jim Henry’s term ends at the end of the year, and the council will invite applications and appoint someone to the position.

Garland said she plans to apply. Mash said he won’t apply.

Both ran for Position 7 after Bukowsky — the lone candidate on the ballot — withdrew his candidacy. Despite a lack of involvement in civic affairs — neither had attended a council meeting — Garland and Mash unsuccessfully took on the challenge of garnering enough write-in votes to win the election. Garland and Mash participated in a televised candidate forum hosted by Kitsap Daily News and the North Kitsap Herald; Garland campaigned online, while Mash posted campaign signs throughout the city.

Garland, a stay-at-home mom to three kids, ages 2, 3 and 6, has a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts and nutrition and a master’s of arts in post-secondary education from Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. During her campaign, she focused on pocketbook issues. Her goals included luring more child-care providers to Poulsbo, creating more downtown parking, using “the power of social media” to connect residents and local government, and identifying and resolving “affordability factors” that force residents to commute.

“Families in Poulsbo need someone on [the] City Council that understands the challenges of raising a family today,” she said during the campaign. “I have a young family, so I understand many of those challenges and would be honored to represent them in government. The Poulsbo City Council is mostly older men. Diversity of representation is a good thing and is needed.”

Mash, an artist, author and, at age 87, self-proclaimed “geezer,” was concerned about commercial vacancies downtown and said one solution would be to make downtown 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.”

Mash wrote his first book, “The Magical Pen,” in 2013. 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 rwalker@soundpublishing.com

Bill Mash

Bill Mash