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The rest of the story in Bethel school board race

Post by Kim Bradford on Oct. 13, 2009 at 4:24 pm with 8 Comments »
October 16, 2009 4:30 pm

Last week, I wrote about the strange goings-on in the Bethel school board races and promised more on Marianne Lincoln’s candidacy.

Marianne filed for the position back in June, withdrew in July and then refiled in August. We’d never seen anything like it, so we asked her about it when she came in for her endorsement interview. What followed was a whole mess of twists and turns.

I’ll try to keep it brief. If you want to read Marianne’s account, it’s at Life In Pierce County. Here’s the gist:

At 4:20 p.m. on the last day of filing week, Marianne filed for a vacant seat on the Bethel school board. Since no one else filed, she was all but ensured a free ride to election.

But, on July 13, Marianne got a call from Pierce County Auditor Jan Shabro that upended her plans. Shabro’s call was sparked by a visit the Bethel school superintendent had paid to the address listed on Marianne’s voter registration. Marianne was registered at her sister’s place, which is the old family homestead, is where Marianne used to live and where her belongings were stored while she was looking for a new place to live.

You might say that Marianne and her sister are not on the best of terms. So when the superintendent showed up, her sister apparently told him that Marianne didn’t live there. And he, in turn, allegedly told Marianne’s sister to report that fact to the auditor.

That’s when Shabro got involved. In what she now admits was an error, Shabro called Marianne to let her know of her sister’s allegation. A recording of Shabro’s voice mail says, “We’ve checked with the prosecuting attorney and it’s kinda serious, Marianne, so I think the best thing for you to do is to withdraw at this time, but I need to talk to you first.”

Whether Shabro actually consulted with the prosecuting attorney is unclear. She told us last month that she didn’t, although she said she may not remember everything that happened. Marianne says that a public records request for any correspondence between the auditor’s office and prosecuting attorney’s office turned up nothing.

Marianne says that when she called Shabro back, Shabro threatened to file charges if she didn’t withdraw. Shabro was in a hurry to get the matter resolved because if the Bethel race was going to require a second filing period, she wanted to advertise it with a Fife race that was also coming open.

I checked with elections staff at the the Secretary of State’s office. They said that there is a presumption in the law that a person’s registration is proper. If a person wants to question another person’s registration, the person questioning the registration bears the burden of proving that the registration is improper.

They also said that once a person establishes residency at a particular location, the person maintains that residency until he or she takes up residency somewhere else. The moment that he or she “takes up residency elsewhere” is up to the voter, and can be very subjective. This is true even if the person is no longer sleeping or staying at the last location.

Marianne alleges partisan shenanigans (she’s a D, Shabro’s an R). I’m more inclined to chalk it up to a sloppiness by a rookie auditor. What Shabro should have done – and she acknowledges as much now – is have the sister file a formal voter registration challenge and let the standard process play out. Shabro says she was trying to save Marianne from embarrassment.

Marianne says she withdraw under duress. Once she had some time to cool off, Marianne realized that she had a legitimate claim. She re-filed for the position when the new filing period opened, only to draw two opponents (one of which has now withdrawn himself). She’s now competing for the position against a former school board member, Robert Etteldorf, who told us that someone asked him to run. He wouldn’t say who.

The school superintendent, Tom Seigel, has apparently continued his curious interest in the case. In August, he asked the school board to amend its policy governing qualifications of candidates to change the wording “qualified voter” to “qualified voter resident.” Word is that the district might be also looking into whether it has to seat Marianne if elected.

This isn’t the first time Lincoln (who has now leased a place within the director district) has had to tangle with voter registration laws. In 1997, when she was Marianne Krizek, she challenged the residency of state Rep. Tom Campbell of Roy, who responded by changing his voter registration temporarily to University Place.

Karma? Maybe. A bungled elections process? Certainly. As much as contested races are good for voters, this one was misbegotten.

Leave a comment Comments → 8
  1. smcelhiney says:

    Now admits was a mistake?

    Chalk it up to sloppiness as a rookie Auditor?

    She claims to have contacted the Prosecuting Attorney (repeatedly). She threatened Marianne with fraud charges if she didn’t withdraw.

    Apparently she LIED about that.

    Not only that but why was she personally calling Marianne?
    Why wasn’t her staff that KNOWS Marianne wasn’t doing anything illegal calling… suppose it’s because that superintendent that is continuing to try and change the rules is playing insider politics with Jan in order to keep Marianne off the school board?

  2. smcelhiney says:

    BTW, only reason I posted that is that I’m seeing similar shenanigans involving the AUDITOR (do I need a heavy bold font for that like the font she used for her name on the ballot return envelopes addressing them directly to JAN SHABRO Pierce County Auditor).

    Looks at her… oops I mean the “unaffiliated” PAC website for Sound Foundations

    The link gets you the ONLY thing they’ve listed, an attack on Jan’s opponent for Auditor in the guise of a defense. Notice that it’s from the Director who remains anonymous… probably because that is Deryl McCarty speaking about himself in the third person. Not affiliated my arse.

    So in the race she in a candidate in, she’s reduced candidate statements by 50 words to save money… yea, right. Had the money for a full page introducing herself, leaving about a 1/3rd of the page for her signature block.

    In the same race she has put her personal name in BOLD CAPS and larger font as the return address for the ballots over Pierce County Auditor. Not subtle…

    In the TNT voter guide she attacks RCV… imagine that. Looks at her involvement in the prejudiced ballot title and keeping the No committee from challenging that one also.

    The incumbents and their appointees are playing very loose with ethics in their latest power grab.

    Only advice I have is to VOTE… vote out Jan Shabro… you didn’t vote her in.
    Vote NO on all the County Charter Amendments, they aren’t reform, they are a power grab by the present council and the party chairs.
    Vote YES on I-71… at least that is a positive. I’m married but feel people in civil unions deserve the same rights as everyone else when it comes to taking care of their families.

  3. Marlin49 says:

    “Word is that the district might be also looking into whether it has to seat Marianne if elected.”

    If the voters elect her, that would be an egregious waste of school funds to block her seating. Those laws are for carpetbaggers. Having lived in the district so long, she certainly could not be construed as one.

  4. S_Emerson says:

    For those interested in the related RCW and the related info posted on the auditor’s website (which Shabro chose not to adhere to), click here.

  5. pcinsider1 says:

    Regarding Auditor Shabro’s introduction in the voter’s pamphlet, and her name appearing on the envelopes for the ballots — haven’t you ever looked at these items before? EVERY Auditor, inluding the current County Executive, has done EXACTLY the same thing! It is their office, after all, whether they are a D or an R (and most before Shabro have been Ds.), whether elected or appointed. And the Auditor doesn’t determine the size of the ballot – the issues do. You can only print so much on the ballot, which must be a certain size and font to be read by the optical readers.

    Perhaps the Auditor should not have handled the Lincoln issue personally, but I believe they knew one another and she wanted to give her an informal heads-up about a possible challenge to her residency within the school district. Some people would appreciate that kind of personal interest from any
    “government bureaucrat”, least of all an elected or appointed official. It seems to be one of the things they are often criticized for — lack of personal responsibility in their job. It seems to be a no-win situation.

    And regarding the info on the Sound Foundation website, please note that the EMPLOYEES in the Auditor’s office were so pleased with Shabro after this year that they asked their union (Local #120 AFSCME) to endorce her, which they did. That speaks volumes about how well she has managed the business and employees in this very diverse office,

  6. RonMorehouse says:

    Jan Shabro may make a mistake but why is the superintendent of Bethel pushing a man to run when he has a very qualified candidate running. Could it be that if Marianne is elected and joins Ron Morehouse or ken Blain that only one more vote is need to end his incompetent career. He can to Bethel claiming to be a Doctor of education which was a lie and fraud as he only has a master degree and never has been a teacher, principle or education.

    His wife was investigated for steeling political signs. Could this be a sign of why Bethel is so corrupt? Is this why bethel is the most expensive district in Piercen count ond one of the worst in the state?

    How more pedophiles do we need to arrest be Tommy Seigel is sent packing ? Why does he deserve $204, 000 dollars a year or $7oo dollars a day?

    Ron the evil, deceiving, deceptive, fungal acitvist as described by Tommy Seigel.

  7. denismenis says:

    Good lord, people.

    Whoever gets elected, sit down and work for kids.

    Stay focused on them in all of your decisions – educational, financial and social.

    I have watched this scenario play out since I left and all I continue to see is a gnashing and gnawing of egos.

    It disgusts me.

    After the election, get to work…. for kids. Not your own interests.



    DOWN WITH tommy boy I SAY

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