Eight vie for spots on council

Published on Thu, Aug 2, 2001 by Meg Olson

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Eight vie for spots on council

By Meg Olson

By the time the regular filing period for the fall election closed Friday afternoon, the county auditor had a full slate of Blaine candidates competing for city council seats. Eight candidates are running for four four-year positions on the city’s legislative body to be filled by the voters in November.

The stiffest competition is in ward two, covering central Blaine and Semiahmoo spit. Jim Anderson, Dennis Booth and Bruce Wolf are all candidates for the seat.

Anderson is already familiar to Blaine voters as the chairman of the We Love Blaine committee which is behind a citizens’ initiative to change the city’s form of government. “I’m putting my money where my mouth is,” Anderson said of his decision to run. “I’ve always had a passion for the people of Blaine and I feel now is the time to assume my civic duty.” A 1969 Blaine high school graduate, Anderson has lived in Blaine since he was a toddler.

Booth and his family moved to Blaine several years ago after his retirement from the U.S. Coast Guard to be close to family on both sides of the border. He has since become a familiar face at Blaine city
meetings and Blaine schools, where he works as a substitute teacher. “I like to be involved in my community,” he said. A member of the city board of adjustment until moving up to the position of planning commissioner in January, Booth said he felt he had time and energy to serve the community beyond those positions.

Wolf has lived in Blaine for seven years, after returning to retire in the county his grandparents helped settle over a century ago. “There’s a long history, I’ve spent a lot of time in this area,” he said. Wolf continued to commute to work as an ophthalmologist in Alaska until two years ago, as he and his wife became more involved with the Blaine community – Sandy Wolf is a board member for the Pacific Arts Association. “I’m a positive thinker, I’m used to working with groups and building consensus,” Wolf said. “I think Blaine is making progress and I want to continue to see it progress. I’d like to see things go forward rather than stay the same or go backwards.”

The three candidates in ward two will square off in the September 18 primary and the two winners go on to the November 6 general election.Ward one and the at-large council position have two candidates each so will not be on the ballot until then.

Incumbent Bonnie Onyon will face former council member David White in ward one, covering north and east Blaine.

“My work is not finished,” Onyon said of her decision to run again. A Blaine resident for almost two decades, Onyon is completing her first four-year term as a Blaine council member. “I think we’re on the cusp of some major positive changes for Blaine and I’m interested in seeing them through,” she said. Onyon owned a business in downtown Blaine before going to work for Nature’s Path Foods and has a special interest in developing a recipe for economic growth. “Our positive message is going to come through and anyone who is following the track that Blaine has been on will see that we are moving in the right direction,” she said.

“People are sick and tired of not having their concerns listened to,” said White in trademark brash fashion. “There is a movement in the entire county of new people running to displace the incompetents of local governments.” Unseated by John Liebert in fall 1999 after two consecutive terms on city council, White feels there is growing momentum to put him back in office.

For the at-large position, Marsha Hawkins faces David Gagnon, having swapped her ward-three seat with newcomer Mike Myers as a strategy to get existing council members re-elected.

“I’ve lived in Blaine my whole life, except for ten years,” she said. “I’m fairly well known throughout the community.” Hawkins and husband Charlie, a retired commercial fisher, run Blackberry House Coffee Café on H Street.

Hawkins started in municipal politics as a parks board member and moved into Georgia Gardner’s spot on city council November 1997. “I enjoy being on council,” she said. “I’d like to see some of the positive things that are being done for Blaine continue.” She is especially supportive of downtown street improvements and a proposed boardwalk to increase Blaine’s appeal to visitors. “I think its good for Blaine’s economy and Blaine’s image,” she said.

Gagnon, secretary of the county Republican party, said he has never run for office before but has a long history of involvement with conservative issues in the county. He and his family moved to Blaine from Bellingham just over a year ago, finding it a “really good place to raise a family.” He said he feels he can add new blood to council, offering new alternatives for growth in Blaine. “I don’t feel they address the commercial and industrial zones we have,” he said. Gagnon is also a member of the We Love Blaine committee board.

Meyers is running unopposed to fill Hawkins’ ward 3 position. “I’ve just gotten started,” said Myers, who was appointed to the position in April to fill the at-large vacancy left when mayor John Hobberlin resigned. “I have a good feeling about the way the city is going and I want to keep working at it,” he said.

Competition dwindles for other local elected boards. Incumbents Pebble Griffin and Mike Dodd are running unopposed for their seats on the Blaine school board. Birch Bay Water and Sewer District commissioner Patrick Alesse and fire district 13 commissioner Eddie Lathers are also seeking reelection unopposed.

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