Ax Ethics Board
To the editor:
The city of Bainbridge Island should abolish its Ethics Board.
Ethics Board members had a duty to comply with state and federal laws and repeatedly failed to do so. To be specific, the Code of Conduct and Ethics Program says in the last paragraph of Page 7 that “Councilmembers and members of City Committees and Commissions shall comply with all state and federal laws in the performance of their public duties. These laws include, but are not limited to, the following: the United States and Washington Constitutions…”
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides several rights protections: to express ideas through speech and the press, to assemble or gather with a group to protest or for other reasons, and to ask the government to fix problems. This Amendment specifically prohibits Congress (and thus the elected officials on BI) from abridging anyone’s right to ask the government to fix problems.
How could the Ethics Board decide that Councilmember Michael Pollock had no right to ask his government (and yes, the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners, in this case, was his government) to fix a problem (a tie vote) by holding a debate for the public good?
The Ethics Board needed to explain how legislation written by the 2020 BI City Council could deprive Pollock of a right guaranteed to all of us by the U.S. Constitution.
How could the Ethics Board even begin to consider two complaints (outrageously filed by a member of the board) about Mayor Rasham Nassar’s expression of ideas in the press without explaining how those complaints could overrule our most fundamental right to express ideas through speech and the press as per the First Amendment?
The Ethics Board needed to explain how the complaints filed by one of their own members eliminated Nassar’s fundamental right to express ideas in the press before going on to discuss the allegations-unless they were looking for a way to punish her.
It appears the Ethics Board has been used to fight a proxy war and should be abolished.