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Some thoughts on the election: The KBRA impact; a wow for the city schools
Some observations on Tuesday’s election results:
Herald and News Editorial May 17, 2012
Klamath County commissioner
Dissatisfaction with incumbents Al Switzer and Cheryl Hukill went beyond their qualified support of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, but there’s no doubt it was a major part in their defeats. That’s especially true when results of the races for state legislators also are considered. None of the candidates in any of the four commissioner or state legislator races who was publicly identified with supporting the KBRA won. The results completed a process of replacing the three incumbents that began two years ago when Dennis Linthicum defeated John Elliott in the 2008 Republican primary.
The two winning candidates in the primary race for the Republican nominations for commissioner positions 1 and 3, Tom Mallams and Jim Bellet, respectively, move on to the general election. For Position 1, Mallams will face Democrat Ted Lindow, a former county commissioner who served from 1987 to 1991 during an era when voters routinely rejected commissioner incumbents. That string finally ended when Switzer was elected to the first of four terms in 1996. He was trying for his fifth Tuesday, but finished third in the four-person field. There was no Democrat running in the primary election for Position 3, in which Jim Bellet won the Republican nomination for the position held by Cheryl Hukill, who finished third. Unaffiliated candidates can file for the general election from May 30 to Aug. 18.
Klamath County state legislators
Senate District 28 and state Representative District 56: Doug Whitsett won his third four-year term for the senate district, which includes all of Klamath County and portions of Lake County and two others. We hope to see him increasing his influence in the Legislature because Klamath County badly needs more visibility and clout at the state level. It doesn’t have the numbers, so has to rely on success in building bridges with other state legislators.
Gail Whitsett, who has served as chief of staff for her husband, Doug, is moving to a different position as a state representative, but is well-acquainted with state-level government. She won a two-year term to replace State Rep. Bill Garrard in District 56.
Klamath County treasurer
Jason Link, who pulled together Klamath County’s financial matters in the aftermath of a botched previous audit process and other problems, was “elected” treasurer with 58 percent in the primary. Because it’s a nonpartisan position, his name still will appear on the Nov. 6 general election ballot, but will be the only one elected.
Klamath Falls City Schools levy
Wow — In an area hurting badly economically and hard to convince to increase taxes, Klamath Falls City Schools voters turned out a substantial margin (56.5 percent) in favor, something that probably hasn’t happened in a local school district for more than 30 years. The last time that comes to mind was in the 1970s when voters approved the bond issue that upgraded what is now Mazama High School — then a two-year mid-high — to a four-year high school and changed Klamath Union from a two-year high school to a four-year school. Mazama is now part of the Klamath County School District. The city district’s levy funds will be spent to reduce class sizes by increasing teacher numbers, add elective classes and replace textbooks.




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