Write-ins sweep Angoon City Council election

Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2007

Angoon citizens got a second chance Tuesday to vote for change in their troubled city government, and they took it.

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Unofficial results show that three write-in candidates - Edward Jack, Lenora Walker and Harriet Silva - swept three races against former Angoon mayors running for three open council seats in the Admiralty Island community.

The election was the town's second this fall. The Angoon City Council threw out the Oct. 2 election results earlier this month after accusations of electioneering.

"People are ready to move in a new direction," Councilwoman Lillian Woodbury said.

She said the fact that people new to city government were elected shows that citizens wanted the old guard to step aside.

Unofficial results released Wednesday show Jack beat Maxine Thompson by four percentage points for Seat A, Walker beat Daniel Johnson Jr. by 16 percentage points for Seat B and Silva beat Pauline Jim by 17 percent age points for Seat C.

In all, 187 votes were cast. Seventeen absentee ballots and one question ballot remain to be counted, and City Clerk Francine Willis expects those votes to be included by Friday afternoon. The election results are scheduled to be certified next Tuesday.

Once certified, Jack, Walker, and Silva will join sitting council members Richard George, Albert Howard, Frank Jack and Woodbury. After swearing in, the new council will reorganize and select a new mayor and treasurer.

George has acted as mayor since the September resignation of Walter Jack.

Jack, who had been asked repeatedly to step down, said he resigned because of disrespect shown to his father during a September council meeting.

Under his leadership, Angoon found itself cut off from state funds while questions surrounded the use of grant money and the city was unable to pay its bills.

Woodbury said she was optimistic that the city government would regain community confidence. Walker described the incoming city council trio as active and involved citizens who will bring a new voice and fresh ideas to city government.

"I'm excited to get them seated," she said.

The election results are a move in the right direction, Walker said.

"Any outcome would have been positive, just so we get on with running the city," she said.

Silva and Jack were unavailable Wednesday for comment.

State Government Specialist Bill Rolfzen assists Angoon in an advisory capacity and he said everyone seemed satisfied with the way the election was conducted.

"Sounds like things went well," he said.

Walker said her first goal is to stabilize the city and then renew its relationship with the state. Walker plans on growing a relationship with Kootznoowoo, Angoon's Native corporation, and reimplement the council's planning and zoning committee.

"We can strengthen our working relationship with the tribe," she said.

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