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Fisher, Daniels win in Soldotna: Bonds for library expansion get voter approval

Posted: Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Kyle Fisher appeared to be defeating Lonnie White in the election for Soldotna City Council Seat E Tuesday night.

Preliminary numbers showed Fisher leading with 64 percent of the vote, with one of two precincts reporting.

Regina Daniels, who ran unopposed, won Seat D with 413 votes.

The proposition to issue bonds for the Joyce Carver Memorial Library expansion project was passing with an overwhelming 73 percent of voters favoring the measure.

New council members will officially begin their terms on Oct. 18, pending the council's approval of the elections. Incumbents Edward Sleater and Peggy Mullen will end their terms after the Oct. 13 council meeting.

Fisher plans to go through the council's parliamentary procedures to prepare for his position. The councilmember-elect also wants to schedule meetings with City Manager Larry Semmens and other department heads about current and upcoming projects.

He has attended the past two council meetings to familiarize himself with the issues facing the city. He supports a modified version of legislation that may regulate vendors in city run parks and campgrounds.

White said that he was disappointed with preliminary results,

Tammy Davis voted for Daniels and White after reading their profiles. The resident said that she doesn't look at local candidates' stances as critically as other elections.

"I'm more interested in them as a community member," she said.

Davis supported the library bond proposition. Although the internet has reduced the importance of books, in her opinion, the institution provides residents with access to services they may not have at home. She said she believed that the library was outdated, but could become a "cultural center" if properly expanded.

"It should be more about providing information than just books," Davis said.

Another voter, Cathy Sturman, chose White because of his religious beliefs.

"He goes to my church. He's a Christian," she said.

Sturman felt that the library bond issue would add an unnecessary burden to the tax payers. She refused to vote for unopposed candidates.

"They're already in. They only need one vote. These people are going to vote for themselves," Sturman said.

Dave Hutchings voted for Fisher because of his background and experience as a manager for Lynden transport. He supported the library bond issue because it put less strain on the present city coffers.

When officials have a portion of the funding secured, he said, "it's good to use someone else's money."

Fisher ran on a platform of the current council's decisions, population-backed annexation and encouraging economic growth within the city. Developing the educational and medical sectors were part of his focus. He supported the library bond issue and continued expansion of the facility. Fisher called on the city to incorporate more technology into its day to day runnings to improve efficiency.

White, a former police officer in Craig, criticized the current council for overspending. He thought that the future generations won't use the library as frequently, and considered it unfair to burden them with the $2.5 million, plus interest, cost of expansion. Public safety reform became a concern for White early on in the campaign. He claimed that the Soldotna Police Department is overstaffed with high ranking officers.

Running unopposed, Daniels focused her campaign on expanding recreational opportunities within the city.

Tony Cella can be reached at tony.cella@peninsulaclarion.com.



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