06/07/2011: "Public Urged To Put Name Forward For Charter Review Commission"
Letter to the Editor
Friday, June 10 is the filing deadline to be a candidate for the Charter Review Commission. A group of 18 commissioners will be elected from our six council districts this November for a mandated review of our County’s guiding document which was passed overwhelmingly by voters six years ago.
As a Freeholder who participated in the original Charter movement, I urge civic minded citizens to participate in this important review. It was a challenge to research and craft a new governing contract for our County, and the rarity of voter approval anywhere in the State could have been discouraging. (two previous local efforts failed)
Instead, our diverse group from all walks of life and political persuasion managed to work together with a spirit of respect and cooperation that fills me with a sense of pride and accomplishment to this day.
I hear complaints about various aspects of our County government, either about our budget, or the people we’ve hired to serve us. Somehow, the Charter gets blamed for these issues in some quarters, a notion I don’t accept. If there’s a personnel issue, changes can be made without changing the Charter.
The Charter Review will be a much simpler process than the original effort since “tweaking” is a lot easier than creating anew. One obvious issue, I would think, would be to consider “at large” voting for council seats on Orcas and San Juan. We originally felt that district elections would make elected representatives more accountable to their immediate constituents. Others may feel that San Juan voters, for example, should be able to vote “at large” for all three council seats. Participate in this debate to help insure that “Home Rule” isn’t merely a slogan.
San Juan Island