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Thurston County Elections  
General Election - November 6, 2012
Introduction to County Measure

This page contains a county measure certified to appear on the November 6, 2012, General Election ballot. All voters residing in the county will be eligible to vote on this measure.

For each measure in the Local Voters’ Pamphlet, the legislative authority of the jurisdiction placing the measure on the ballot is required to formally appoint committees to prepare statements advocating the approval and rejection of the measure. If the jurisdiction is unable to make such appointments, the Thurston County Auditor advertises for such appointments.

The Auditor’s Office encourages you to thoroughly review all statements and seek additional information from the jurisdictions, the appointed citizens’ committees, and the local and regional media.

  Please Note: Statements are the opinions of the authors and have not been checked for factual or grammatical accuracy by the Auditor’s Office.  

Thurston County - Proposition No. 1

All voters in the county will vote on this measure.
  Ballot Title:     Explanatory Statement:  
Shall Public Utility District No. 1 of Thurston County construct or acquire electric facilities for the generation, transmission or distribution of electric power?
Oval   Yes
Oval   No

Pursuant to RCW 54.08.070 a petition for the Thurston
County Public Utility District to construct or acquire electric facilities was certified to have sufficient signatures and was placed on the general election ballot by Resolution No. 14776 of the Thurston County Board of Commissioners. The Thurston County Public Utility District was formed in 1938 and currently owns and operates 155 water systems with about 3,200 customers. The proposal would authorize the Thurston County Public Utility District to construct or acquire electric facilities for the generation, transmission, or distribution of electric power.

Statement prepared by: David Klumpp, Chief Civil Deputy, Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.

  Statement For:     Statement Against:  

Vote “Yes” and join the 55% of Washington residents who already enjoy the benefits of public power! Proposition 1 authorizes our Public Utility District (PUD) to evaluate, plan and implement a feasible transition to public power. A local, elected PUD reflects community values.

Vote “Yes” so you have a choice and save money
PSE, a foreign-owned corporation, holds a power monopoly in Thurston County. PSE rates are higher than any of the state’s 23 electric PUDs. The PUD can save money by: 1) competing with PSE to offer better prices; 2) accessing cheap federal hydropower; 3) operating at cost - without profit; 4) obtaining grants available only for public agencies; and 5) using municipal bonds with low interest rates. Vote “Yes” to give Thurston County a public alternative.

Vote “Yes” on job creation
The State allows PSE shareholders a 9.8% profit - millions of dollars sent from Thurston County to foreign owners. Our PUD will keep more money here at home; stimulate our economy; create local jobs; and support local businesses with cheaper, cleaner power.

Vote “Yes” on reliability
Investment in infrastructure and maintenance will avoid power outages, as other PUDs have proven. PUD workers will be stationed in Thurston County, for faster response and greater reliability.

Vote “Yes” on green energy
PSE gets most of its electricity from coal and natural gas. PUDs use mostly hydropower. Thurston PUD can choose resources our community prefers.

Join over 15,000 signers of the public power petition - vote “Yes” for public power. Info:

Statement submitted by: John Pearce, Jim Lazar, and Paul Pickett


Proposition 1 is risky, costly, and poorly defined. It gives a small government entity authority to condemn private utility property, acquire more public debt, increase property taxes, set electricity rates and take over all electrical facilities in Thurston County. Voters should reject Proposition 1 and vote “no.”

The proposal is a blank check we cannot afford. It gives Thurston PUD the authority to buy Puget Sound Energy’s (PSE) local electrical system before knowing the total cost, utility rate or property tax impacts. The proposal creates a decade of uncertainty by giving the PUD 10 years to decide how to move customers to public power.

Our electrical service would be put at risk as an inexperienced PUD works to grow from only 3,200 water customers into 118,000 electrical customers. Voters have no second chance to say “stop” if public power is more expensive than expected because PUD commissioners don’t need a second vote - even if the proposal does not live up to election-year promises.

That’s what happened in Jefferson County. In 2008 public power proponents claimed that Jefferson PUD could take over PSE and start an electric utility for $47 million. Four years later the cost is $115 million. Voters, customers, and tax payers are stuck with that decision. Thurston is seven times larger - making the risk greater.

For 125 years PSE has been Thurston County’s experienced, solid, and reliable community partner. The cost and risk associated with buying PSE with public resources is too high. Please vote “no.”

Statement submitted by: Doug Mah, Ralph Munro, and Diane Oberquell

  Rebuttal of the Statement For:     Rebuttal of the Statement Against:  

The proposition is risky, costly, and outdated. Most PUDs were formed with Federal assistance in the 1930’s. Actual costs in Jefferson County are more than double original estimates, resulting in property tax increases.

PSE built our system, has local crews, already buys BPA hydropower, is Washington’s leader in wind power, and exceeds State green power requirements. Proponents offer no cost estimates, no experience, no plan, no second chance. Please vote “no.”

For more, visit


The opponents’ statement distorts many facts. Under PUD policy, taxes cannot be used for acquisitions. The PUD is elected and meets in public. PSE is a foreign-owned corporation whose leaders meet in secret.

Competition with PSE helps Thurston County. PSE’s rates are higher than all 23 PUDs providing electric service. Hermiston, Oregon went public in 2001. Their citizens now pay 25% less than the area’s private utility rates thanks to inexpensive BPA power.

Statements are written by the "for" and "against" committee members, who are solely responsible for the content therein.