Oroville school capital improvement levy still trailing, Tonasket tax hike fails

County votes for approval of marijuana legalization

OKANOGAN COUNTY – Oroville School District’s special three-year $1.2 million capital improvement levy had widened to 17 votes from passing as of the second ballot count following the Nov. 6 general election.
That second count was taken by the Okanogan County Auditor’s office on Friday, Nov. 9. Those who cast votes opposing the levy, 690, or 50.62 percent, were leading those that voted approval, 673, or 49.38 percent. With just a few potential ballots still outstanding the measure which would have repaired the elementary will most likely fail. The election which will get final certification by the county auditor’s office on Nov. 27.
“At this point I’m not holding out a lot of hope it will pass even though it is down just 17 votes. Unless there is some miracle I am going to assume it did not pass.”" said Steve Quick, Oroville School District superintendent.
“We still have the grant for $100,000 to get one of the wings done, the rest of the building and the roof. We will go back to the facilities committee and discuss if we need to make some changes and whether to try again,” Quick said, adding that another special levy could be ran in 2013.
“We could run any time next year, but wouldn’t be able to collect until 2014. We want to avoid having to take short term loans,” he said.

County Commissioner

It looks like the Republican has won the Okanogan County Commissioner seat for Position 1. Sheila Kennedy was leading last Friday with a nearly 60 percent election-night count against Democrat Albert Roberts. In the race for Position 2 the final outcome is not as clear as Republican Ray Campbell has 49.98 percent of the ballots cast, while fellow Republican and incumbent Don “Bud” Hover had 49.05 percent. With a difference of 103 votes, the election is still statistically too close to call although it looks like Campbell may be the winner if the next vote count continues in his favor.

EMS District Levies

Both the City of Oroville’s Proposition No. 1 Emergency Medical Care and Ambulance Service Levy and Oroville Rural EMS Levy were winning at the polls by big numbers on election night and as of Friday’s second vote count. So far, the city proposition has 67.6 percent approval of the 414 votes counted. The rural proposition was doing even better with nearly 68.3 percent of the 1,363 votes cast in favor.

City of Tonasket Tax

As of the second vote count it looks like Tonasket voters have rejected Proposition No. 1, a Sales and Use Tax Levy within the city. A total of 53.85 percent were saying no to the Levy, while 41.15 percent were voting for approval. The measure did pick up a few votes in the second count.
A similar proposition in Okanogan remained more evenly split but the second count was going against and widening the gap as of the second count.

State Measures

Marijuana – In what may or may not seem a less conservative move, or maybe more libertarian, the county, like the rest of the state, thinks it’s about time to change the way marijuana is dealt with in the state. Washington and Colorado were the first two states in the nation decriminalizing personal marijuana use; Oregon, one of the first states to legalize medical marijuana, failed a similar measure that would make it legal for recreational use. In Washington I-502 licenses and regulates marijuana production, distribution and possession for persons over 21; removes state-law criminal and civil penalties for activities that it authorizes; taxes marijuana sales; and earmarks marijuana-related revenues.
County voters agreed with I-502 with 51.1 percent approval, compared to statewide totals were voters cast 55.4 percent in favor.
Same-sex marriage – The measure to approve same-sex marriage was a different matter within the county. The election night count had the state saying “I do” to Referendum 74 by 51.7 percent, while the county said “I don’t” by 61.3 percent of its voters.
Public Charter Schools – The county and state voters also disagreed with public funding for charter schools. While state voters are giving a passing grade to I-1240 by a little less than one percent for approval. Okanogan County voters would fail the initiative by over three percent.

President and Congress

While the U.S. cast its vote to return Barack Obama and Joe Biden to the Whitehouse for a second term. Tuesday’s unofficial election-night results show that Okanogan County voted with most of the nation’s rural areas and favored Republican challenger Mitt Romney by a wide margin.
County voters also favored Republicans for U.S. Senate, Representative and Washington State Governor. Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell, the incumbent, easily survived a Republican challenge and Republican Rep. Doc Hastings (back on the county ballot after redistricting) won against a Democrat.

Governor and Lands Commissioner

County favorite Rob McKenna (R) was trailing Jay Inslee (D) statewide by a narrow margin for the governor’s mansion. McKenna had not conceded the race on election night and vowed to wait and see how further vote counts played out.
Okanogan County cast more votes for Republicans in every other state office. This included casting the majority of their ballots against Democrat Peter Goldmark for a return as public lands commissioner, even though rancher Goldmark calls Okanogan his home. Statewide, however Goldmark was easily returned to office. Seventh District Rep. Joel Kretz from Wauconda easily defeated a challenge from a fellow Republican.

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He is single with a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.

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