The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Wolfgang Kurtz
LOG Editor 

Bardarson elected mayor, Squires new councilor


Photo courtesy of Jean Bardarson

Seward's incoming 39th Mayor, Jean Bardarson

Correction and elaboration: In the story entitled “Bardarson elected mayor, Squires new councilor “ published in the Oct. 3 Seward Phoenix LOG it was stated that Seward Mayor-elect Jean Bardarson will be the second woman to hold the office. In fact Bardarson is the third woman to be elected as Mayor preceded by Lee McAnerney (Oct 3. 1973 to Dec. 2, 1974) and Vanta Shafer (appointed Apr. 12, 2004, elected Oct. 5, 2004 to Oct. 2, 2007). Beverly Dunham was never elected to the post but was appointed as mayor and served for a period of less than two months beginning Aug. 24, 1991 when Donald Cripps resigned.

Long time Seward City Council member and current vice-mayor Jean Bardarson is to become Seward’s 39th person elected mayor and is the fourth woman to hold the post. According to preliminary return totals, she overcame local businessman Tim McDonald with 78 percent of the vote.

In the only competitive local campaign, Bardarson and McDonald took each other to task in last week’s candidate forum hosted by the Seward Chamber of Commerce. However, the sometimes confrontational verbal jousting didn’t bear fruit for McDonald who will remain a private citizen after his latest run for office. McDonald was also the only local candidate to sustain a significant media campaign.

City Council candidates Vanta Shafer, Dave Squires, Christy Terry and Bob Valdatta were so collegial by comparison that the forum moderator suggested that they skip one on one interrogations to take more questions from the public. However, with only three seats available, one candidate was bound to lose. Apparently that candidate will be one of the fixtures at the council dais, Bob Valdatta.

Although approximately 55 questioned and absentee ballots remain, Valdatta will have to pick up 33 votes to surpass Shafer, the next lowest vote getter. The newest candidate to be seated the council, Dave Squires, is secure no matter what the remaining count. The recently retired city employee and former Seward Fire Department chief promised to bring more consistency to council and apparently voters approved of his message.

On election day, the voting was slow but steady at the K.M. Rae building downtown on Third as election supervisors manned the polling station for Seward and Lowell Point. Official Jim Herbert said that it was voting weather and joined his colleagues in assessing the turnout as a pleasant surprise as the number of voters approached 400 near 8 p.m.

Bear Creek precinct voting was more idyllic as 75 voters had passed through the Bear Creek Volunteer Fire Department by 4 p.m. to cast their ballots. However, after 5 p.m. traffic picked up to increase the final tally to 139 voters. Apparently a handful of precinct residents showed up merely to vote for Kenai Peninsula Borough Proposition 1 regarding raising property tax exemptions.

Across the KPB, Proposition 1 garnered broad support with 64 percent voting to increase property tax exemptions for residences occupied for more than six months by their owners. The measure will see the exemption rise from $20,000 to $50,000 which will mean a net savings on property taxes even if the the KPB mill rate is increased to compensate.

Voters authorized school bonds for $22.99 million in facility repairs by passing KPB Proposition 2 with a 57 percent plurality. The electorate advised the KPB Assembly to preserve the existing two term limits for assembly members by rejecting Proposition 3A which recommended removing term limits. They also rejected Proposition 3B which advised increased limits to three terms.

On the Eastern Kenai Peninsula in District 6, all candidates for seats and offices were unopposed and write-ins did not affect the outcomes. Lynn Hohl will continue representing District 6 on the KPB School District Board. Earl Kloster and Dan Logan were elected to seats on the Bear Creek Fire Service Area. Christina Stauffer will continue on the Seward Bear Creek Flood Service Area board.

Last year’s council election saw 514 Sewardites cast ballots. The 2011 municipal election featured a mayoral race that saw a turnout of 488 with former mayor Willard Dunham garnering 248 votes to current major David Seaward’s 232. However those results changed when questioned and absentee ballots put Seaward on top. Mayor Seaward will oversee the certification of the current election on Oct. 14 and will step aside on Oct. 28 as new Seward Mayor Jean Bardarson is sworn in along with the three winning council candidates.

Official unofficial results from Seward City Clerk's office.

Kenai Peninsula Borough results.


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