Newest Sequim City Council member sworn in

By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News

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SEQUIM — Genaveve Starr was sworn in as the newest member of the Sequim City Council on Monday night.

After interviewing the five candidates and discussing them in an executive session, the council voted 4-2 to appoint Starr, 68, to fill the seat left vacant by the retirement of Don Hall last fall.

“I think it's a good group,” Starr said.

“I'm glad to get to be a part of it.”

John Butler and John Jensen also were nominated for the seat, each receiving one vote. Voting for Butler was Councilman Erik Erichsen, while Councilman Dennis Smith voted for Jensen.

The two other candidates for the seat were Ron Fairclough and Karen Pritchard.

Starr and Fairclough also were interviewed in October when the council appointed Smith to fill the seat vacated by Bill Huizinga in August.

City Clerk Karen Kuznek-Reese swore Starr in immediately after the council's vote during Monday's meeting inside the Sequim Transit Center.

The council term expires at the end of this year. Starr is unsure if she will run for a full term this fall.

“I have three or four months to get some experience and see if I'm a good fit,” she said.

A resident of the Sequim area since 1971, Starr said she would like to help guide the city's future development.

“When we came, there was just the stoplight at Washington and Sequim Avenue, and it was blinking after 5 o'clock,” she said.

“We've watched a lot of dramatic changes, and I think there are a lot more dramatic changes ahead.”

During her interview, Starr said she would like to see the city's artists have the ability to use vacant storefronts as studios until the spaces are filled.

“It's kind of a fantasy, I know,” she said.

“But it makes kind of an interesting draw if we could develop as a real arts community like La Conner is.”

Now retired, Starr worked for Olympic Community Action Programs and is now communications director for the League of Women Voters of Clallam County.

She has served on the Dungeness Watershed Committee and on a committee to explore the future of Sequim's buildings.

She is also a painter and calligrapher.

Starr is married to Karl Stokke. The couple have one grown daughter, Mara.

Starr's first vote was in favor of City Attorney Craig Ritchie crafting a resolution in support of the Sequim School District's upcoming property tax levy requests.

Members of Citizens for Sequim Schools asked the council to endorse the two levy measures that will go before voters on the Feb. 12 special election ballot.

Ritchie advised the council to wait until the Jan. 28 meeting to pass such a resolution. Doing so, he said, would ensure the public knows the council will consider an endorsement.

One measure is a four-year maintenance levy that would provide the district $5.8 million a year for 2014 through 2017.

The second would be a one-time levy of $1.6 million to replace a number of buses in the district's 32-bus fleet.

“I am at this point in favor as a councilor and a private citizen and the parent of a child within the school system,” Mayor Ken Hays said.

Council members Ted Miller, Candace Pratt, Laura Dubois and Smith also expressed support of the levy request.

Erichsen did not express an opinion on the measure, saying he considered his vote a private matter.

The council also decided to delay a decision on a request to pass a resolution opposing “corporate personhood” and stating that the U.S. Constitution should protect the rights of individuals rather than corporations.

The resolution is part of a national effort on behalf of Move to Amend and is in reaction to the January 2010 Citizens United ruling.

The Port Townsend City Council and Jefferson County commissioners passed similar resolutions against the ruling last year.

The Sequim council voted 5-2 to schedule a discussion of the resolution at its next meeting, Jan. 28. Erichsen and Smith voted no.

Reporter Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5056, or at

Last modified: January 15. 2013 6:05PM
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