GOLD BAR, Wash. -- Fear of verbal attacks from a local newspaper is keeping candidates away from the Gold Bar Mayoral Race.
Residents received their primary ballots this week with no candidates for the office.
“There’s constant pressure and lawsuits and threats of lawsuits on a continuing basis, that’s just not an attractive position to move into,” said current Mayor Joe Beavers, whose term expires in December.
According to Mayor Beavers, a local paper called “The Gold Bar Reporter” is behind verbal and legal threats against the city and city officials.
Since 2009, the publication has pursued six lawsuits against the city, four recalls for Mayor Beavers and two recalls for council members. The publication has also filed five Public Disclosure Commission complaints.
“It’s been a rough life for mayors in Gold Bar,” said Ray Coleman, a local voter.
Recently, Mayor Beavers is the target of verbal attacks online and on Twitter. On July 18th, a tweet from “The Gold Bar Reporter” claimed he didn’t like “non-Christians” and that he used a racially-charged expletive to describe a citizen.
“That sort of stuff is so obviously idiotic that it doesn’t bother me, what bothers me is the amount of money being poured down the toilet,” said Beavers.
Gold Bar has nearly escaped bankruptcy. According to Beavers, the paper is responsible for more than a hundred Public Records Requests, which have clogged city business. Legal fees defending accusations from the group have amounted to more than $100,000 year, or 20 percent of the city’s budget.
Aside from a $300 stipend, the role of Gold Bar mayor is a volunteer position.
“If there is anyone that can step up and take the position of mayor, I’m sure they’d have a lot of people behind them supporting them,” said Coleman.
According to the city, with no candidate so far, a council member can either step up to assume the role or the council can establish an application period to appoint one.