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Reject charter propositions | Guest column

by Tony P. Ghazel

2021 CRC Commissioner

The action of the Charter Review Commission in proposing the charter amendments on the ballot failed to meet the test found in the charter about the duties of the CRC: “determine the adequacy and suitability of the County.”

The charter document (constitution) was treated as a “how-to manual” to which a lot of procedures needed to be added, rather than a document that governs the structure of county government. The charter gives the county council authority to do all that is found in these proposals, and they have. Un-necessary layers in county government and bureaucracies will be created that will have to be funded by moving funds from needed services such as mental health, code enforcement, affordable housing, and emergency services. Because when you put it in the charter IT HAS TO BE FUNDED first ahead of other needed programs helping our communities. We are not King, Pierce or Snohomish counties from whose charters much of the language you find here is derived.

We moved here, as a collective, because we love the beauty, and we care about each other’s wellbeing, and we will not support businesses and institutions that are intolerant or discriminatory or, want to ruin the environment. And we make it known if that happens. So, the answer is not more words in the charter but rather be aware that we, the people, will make improvements happen as needed and as our communities grow. And we can expect and demand that our elected officials live up to their oath. CRC Supporters of these propositions and the words in them may lead you to believe that we have many insurmountable issues, and the charter amendments will solve them. Really! A couple of examples:

Proposition #5 Concerning non-discrimination, goes even further than what is already in county resolution 31-2020, by suggesting that every project bidder will not be awarded a project unless they have documentation demonstrating that they abide by the proposition’s content. This will place many small businesses in the county that employ hundreds of hardworking folks, on notice to not bid on any projects because you will be rejected if you don’t check all the “non-discrimination” boxes. What a nightmare for these small companies and their employees.

Proposition #4 Concerning Initiatives and Referendums, completely deletes the need to show from where funds will be used if a new initiative is passed by the voters. We feel it is irresponsible to put something on the ballot without including where the provisions to fund it. This could bankrupt the county. I am part of a few but politically divergent CRC Commissioners, sharing with the public our concern for the welfare of our county. We have a respectful, but a different view of these propositions and we prepared a report that is found here for easier navigation between documents: https://orcasboard.org. Please read it and get better informed and when you do, please join me and others and REJECT Propositions #1, #3, #4, #5 and #6