Dropping lobbyist is a political move | Letters, Dec. 6
December 9, 2008 · 4:21 PM
Those who signed the petition for change of government believing that in doing so the community would have an opportunity to discuss and then vote on the question have apparently misunderstood our State Constitution’s statement about government serving at the will of the people.
More than 1,000 islanders signaled their interest in this question being resolved at the ballot box. The petition was deemed valid and then got stagnated in local politics.
In order for the community to have this discussion and conduct an election in the most straightforward manner, we need the state Legislature to make a simple change in the controlling statutes permitting the use of special elections for making these decisions.
The City Council, in rare unanimity, set the election date for next May 19 while recognizing the need for the legislative change in order for this to be a “legal” process.
Again in unanimity, the council asked city administration to find funding for a lobbyist to help move the necessary legislation forward that would permit the May election and thus avoid the confusion of voting next November for both a mayor and for change of government.
To our great surprise we learned last week that the administration has refused to follow that unanimous council resolution.
Instead they will rely on convincing the Association of Washington Cities to add this measure to their legislative agenda and then AWC could support it in their contacts with the Legislature – a much lengthier two-step process.
This worthwhile undertaking should accompany the efforts of a competent lobbyist to insure success in a crowded legislative agenda.
As the only city effort, engaging with the AWC is perhaps intended to look like support for the community’s demand, but it is tepid support at best and realistically is pure and simple opposition to slow down any legislative relief.
This will force the vote to be held next November with an expectation of failure.
Clearly the tidal wave seeking collaboration in governing that swept the country recently did not reach the shores of our fair isle.
So citizens, if we wish a clear and uncomplicated vote on this issue, as we have a powerful right to expect from our local and state representatives, then we have to make that demand clearly heard by all of them.
Contact the administration,council and our local state representative and senator and insist on seeing visible support for the rights of the community to conduct fair and unfettered elections.
Robert W. Fortner, co-convener
Bainbridge Resource Group