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Wednesday, July 26, 2017 This Week's Paper
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Incumbents fair well in local elections

// Fircrest raises glass to lift of booze ban

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Following election this week, the University Place City Council will look much the same.

Kent D. Keel, the Position No. 2 incumbent, won another term in his unchallenged race as did Caroline Belleci, who also ran unopposed for Position No. 7. They will share the dais with Position No. 6 incumbent Chris Nye, who won his reelection bid against Frank Boykin with 61 percent of the vote over Boykin’s 38 percent in early returns.

The University Place School Board will also look familiar to education watchers with Ethelda Burke retaining her uncontested Position No. 1 seat. Candidate T'wina Franklin went unchallenged in her bid for the Position No. 3 seat as well.

Former board member Annie Fitzsimmons, who ran against incumbent Rick Maloney for the Position No. 5 seat, is in a tight race. Fitzsimmons has 49.42 percent of the vote to Maloney’s 50.18 percent as of press time. The difference is a matter of 36 votes.

Board President Mary Lu Dickinson has won over challenger Edward D. Arrington for Position No. 4. Dickinson has 60.39 percent of the vote to Arrington’s 39.18 percent.

Fircrest’s Proposition No. 1 to lift the ban against the sale of liquor has won soundly with 75.81 percent of the vote. City residents had voted in in 1975 to ban the sale of liquor for on-premises consumption in restaurants, private clubs, night clubs and related facilities. Areas around the city were annexed over the passing decades and were not affected by the ban. The Washington Legislature passed an amendment earlier this year that authorizes a vote of the people to decide on lifting the ban. The city can now allow the sale of liquor for on-premises consumption in licensed restaurants, private clubs, nightclubs, and sport entertainment facilities in areas of the City of Fircrest that currently prohibit the sale of liquor for on-site consumption.

Also in Fircrest, Brett L. Wittner won his uncontested race for the Fircrest City Council Position No. 3 seat, as did Blake J. Surina in his unchallenged race for Position No. 4.

One-term councilmember for Pos. No. 5 Hunter T. George won his bid for reelection against challenger Heather A. Heiderich, with 60.31 percent of the vote to Heiderich’s 39.16 percent.

Voters have soundly rejected Pierce County’s idea to build a General Services Building on Tacoma’s Pacific Avenue hillside has at least an uncertain future.

The referendum to reject the plans posted 59 percent of the vote in early returns.

Plans had called for the construction of a facility to house some 1,000 county workers who are currently working in leased offices around Tacoma. Promoted as a way to avoid rising rates for those leased spaces and the costs of renovations, critics complained that the price is too high and the financing scheme is too risky. County officials countered those worries by saying that consolidation of departments now in a dozen leased facilities would have actually save money in the long run and free up money for other county programs.

Updated vote tallied were released after presstime. The latest numbers are available at the Pierce County Auditor’s election page at piercecountywa.org. More updates will be made through the month until the election results are certified on Nov. 24.

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