08/24/2005: "Freeholders Present Charter To BOCC"
Prior to a presentation to the BOCC by the Freeholders listing the high points of the Charter that will be on the November ballot, the BOCC appointed some of the Freeholders that had requested to prepare the pro and con statements that will appear in the voter's pamphlet.
The selection of the "Con" writers raised a few eyebrows and smiles when Gordy Petersen and non-Freeholder Stan Wagner teamed up with Steve Ludwig to write the con argument for the pamphlet that will outline why one should not vote for the charter. More than one person felt compelled to quote the old saw that "Politics makes for strange bed fellows" when the Chairman of the Democratic Party, Stan Wagner, and longtime Republican and Freeholder Petersen could agreed on what form of government San Juan County should not have. In response to the quote, Petersen said their agreement was not about politics, but was about government. The "pro" position will be stated by Freeholders Jeffery Bossler, Charlie Bodenstab and Stephanie O'Day.
An interesting aspect of the Charter is the opportunity to vote not only for the Charter, but also to vote for an amendment to the Charter. This was the novel approach taken by the Freeholders to present an option to the voters as to how many Council (same as Commissioners) members should make up the Council (same as Commission) for the new Charter government. The Charter calls for three Council members, thereby keeping the look of the government the same. For those Freeholders who believed there should be more than three, partly to address the disparity of the population of the three main islands, there is the option of voting for an amendment that would elect a total of six council members.
The six member option generated no little comment and some initial confusion among the current BOCC as to the issue of breaking tie votes with an even number, but the Freeholders had cleverly addressed the issue by including a requirement that no action can be taken without at least four votes for -or against- an action; which simply means there will never be a tie vote, only motions that pass or fail.
Chairman George Johnson pointed out to the Board that when one really looks at the Charter, the "basic charter changes are minor" and in many ways reflect some of the issues and changes to county government that the BOCC has in the past discussed implementing.
The Freeholders have created an explanation on their website of what it means to pass the Charter and the amendment. It can be reached at: Freeholder Site