Southeast voters go to polls to elect new blood

Posted: Thursday, October 03, 2002

JUNEAU (AP) -- Local elections ended in Southeast Alaska on Tuesday with voters picking a host of new leaders, including a mayor for the newly consolidated government of Haines.

Mike Case was elected first mayor of the Haines Borough and will take office when the city and borough governments officially merge Oct. 17. He is a former city council member.

In Juneau, a host of incumbents appeared to be voted out in unofficial results and an 18-year-old high school student was on his way to becoming a school board member.

Juneau-Douglas High School senior Carl Brodersen led by 156 votes for one of two open seats on the Juneau School Board. Brodersen said he may resign from the three-year term to attend college in the Lower 48.

In the race for Juneau Assembly, Marc Wheeler appeared to be the lone incumbent poised to retain his seat. Incumbents Don Etheridge and Frankie Pillifant both trailed challengers Stan Ridgeway and Merril Sanford.

A $15 million bond package for various improvements around Juneau was too close to call Wednesday. The vote was 3,649 against it and 3,618 in support.

Absentee ballots are still being counted in the races and Juneau elections will be certified Oct. 8.

Ketchikan Gateway Borough voters overruled the assembly's move to eliminate term limits and then ousted incumbents George Lybrand and Mike Sallee in a race for three open seats.

Current borough Mayor Jack Shay, whose term ends this year, and David Landis received the most votes. George Tipton was leading Colleen Scanlon 1,497-1,485 for the third seat.

Mike Salazar was elected borough mayor.

The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly approved an ordinance in March to lift the current limit of two consecutive terms for assembly members and mayors. In a binding ballot measure, voters rejected that move 3,123-752.

Ketchikan voters also rejected an advisory ballot measure to ban using public land to build a bridge to Gravina Island. The vote was 2,589-1,336 and was seen as a public opinion referendum on the proposed bridge.

Marty West White, Jim Van Horn and Steve Williams, and Robert Norton won election to the Ketchikan city council.

Sitka Mayor Valorie Nelson was also trailing challenger Fred Reeder by 141 votes with 313 absentee and questioned ballots still to be counted. Nelson told KCAW-FM in Sitka that her stance on some local issues may have alienated people.

Marty Bettis and Bill Paden were elected to the assembly. Incumbents Keith Perkins and Lawrence Blood did not seek re-election.

Sitka voters approved an advisory question to give pay raises to new assembly members but rejected a measure to allow city employees to enter collective bargaining.

New Sitka Assembly members will earn $300 monthly and the mayor will be paid $500 monthly, up from the current $100 and $250 respectively. Assembly members voted earlier this year to raise the pay for new and re-elected members and sought voter opinion on the issue.

''I think the people of Sitka realize being on the Assembly is a tough job,'' Assembly member Thor Christianson told The Daily Sentinel in Sitka.

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