And no, I’m not talking about the upcoming presidential election. I’m referring to the all-important race for mayor of Grace.
Incumbent Terry Jarvis, who is the self-proclaimed “Mayor-for Life” of the tiny township is running against upstart Joe “Giuseppe” Truglio, who threw his hat in the ring just months ago.
The upcoming election will be the first held in Grace since it was re-established in 1993 when Jarvis assumed the role of “Hiz Honor.”
For those of you who don’t know exactly where the town is located, John Hughes, campaign manager for both candidates, explains: “It’s just north of the King-Snohomish County line and borders Highway 9, right next to Woodinville. It’s about three quarters of a square mile in size with a population of 12 residents. We even have a sign to welcome people, so they know they’re entering the town.”
In addition to a mayor, Grace has a chief of police, Don Fitzpatrick; a treasurer, Steve Dolan, who supposedly keeps the municipal funds in an ancient cigar box and even a town mascot, Scape the goat.
In addition to campaign manager, Hughes also serves as grand marshal (yes, that’s marshal with one ‘l’) of the now defunct St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
“I continue to serve in this capacity though my role is limited to announcing the cancellation of the parade each year,” comments Hughes.
According to Mayor Jarvis, Grace boasts a number of commercial enterprises, including Costco, a gas station, used car lot, self-storage business, marine store and then, of course, there’s Brightwater.
“We welcome entrepreneurs of all kinds,” says Jarvis, “and we’re happy to spot annex anyone who wants to be a part of our town, but they have to be people who like to have fun. There are no serious people allowed in Grace, and definitely not any lawyers, insurance salesmen, accountants or consultants. We got rid of them because they are nonproductive. They don’t add to the GDP, the Grace Domestic Product.”
Jarvis, who represents the So-So Party, is running on a platform that includes renaming Kokanee Elementary School as Grace P.S. No. 2 to provide historical respect for the good old days; annexing Woodinville (but only after all the city’s roads and the city hall are paid for in entirety); keeping sales taxes at low rate of 7.8 percent; continuing to issue building permits on the same day of application; retaining Police Chief Fitzpatrick and expanding Scotch Broom Park, a 5- by 7-yard plot of land given to the town by the ever-benevolent Mayor Jarvis.
Hiz Honor stands by the promise, “It isn’t broken and we won’t fix it.”
He also guarantees he’ll provide a chicken or two in every Gracean’s pot and urges residents to “vote early, but vote often.”
Jarvis vows to maintain a generous annexation policy, emphasizing that the town’s growth is dependent on being able to acquire more property.
His opponent, Giuseppe, who is a member of the Ho Hum Party, shares many of the same views, but emphasizes that he will put steak, not chicken, in the hands of every citizen in Grace.
He points out that the mayor is only promising chicken for the masses and reveals (gasp!) that Hiz Honor secretly eats steak as often as he can.
“What kind of mayor reserves steak for himself while his constituency is relegated to eating chicken?” he asks.
The local man is running because he feels it’s time for change in the town.
“Grace isn’t getting enough attention and it has fallen from people’s awareness,” explains Giuseppe. “The job of promoting Grace is not being done. The leadership has gotten lax.”
In an effort to keep campaign costs to a minimum, both candidates have implemented frugal practices. They hired a joint neutral campaign manager and are employing sign-sharing techniques to demonstrate their financial restraint.
Every Tuesday, the candidates meet at the Sammamish Valley Grange and gather as many citizens of Grace as they can to do informal polling. Each man is confident he will win the election, but both agree that the race is going to be close.
“If we have a recount, I will count the votes,” asserts Jarvis.
Giuseppe believes that it won’t come to that because he thinks Jarvis will bow out at the last moment.
“He will do the right thing by conceding to me,” adds Giuseppe. “And I will be very gracious and offer him a job as Grace city manager because he’s still very valuable to the town.”
As Election Day nears, however, the candidates have thrown off their white gloves.
Giuseppe supporters recently charged that Hiz Honor has ordered town election officials to keep mum about the locations of voting precincts.
Jarvis responds that he will only reveal the locations on a need-to-know basis, adding, “Those who are voting for me will know exactly where to cast their ballots.”
The mayor considers Giuseppe to be wildly unpredictable and extremely radical, and he resents his rival’s decision to enter the race.
“I am mayor-for-life,” stresses Jarvis, “and everything was going along fine until this interloper challenged me. I’m not giving up my robe and crown without a fight.”
The candidates will have a chance to present their views on a number of pertinent issues at an upcoming debate (date and time has yet to be determined), which may or may not be moderated by radio and T.V. personality, Pat Cashman, and news columnist, Patti Payne.