Opinion

For an adequate, suitable charter, 'Yes' on Prop. 1-3 | As I See It

Ron Zee - Contributed photo
Ron Zee
— image credit: Contributed photo

By a wide majority, 17-2, the Charter Review Commission has proposed San Juan County Propositions 1, 2, and 3 to address the need for greater accountability, representation, transparency, and effectiveness of county government for the long-term benefit of the county.

The CRC, elected by the voters of San Juan County and representing a broad cross-section of our community with solid experience in local government and public service, was charged with reviewing the current charter “to determine its adequacy and suitability to the needs of the county…” In discharging that duty, the central goal of the CRC was to identify possible improvements in our Home Rule Charter, and that’s exactly what we did.

Charter government was retained, and important charter amendments are before us on the November ballot. It’s important to remember exactly what happened over six years ago when the home rule charter was on the ballot.

When we passed the “basic” home rule charter in November, 2005, by nearly two-thirds of the voters, that basic home rule charter called for three council members elected countywide in partisan elections, with a county administrator and initiative/referendum.

On that same ballot as an amendment, we were asked if we’d prefer six council members elected by districts in nonpartisan elections, with a county administrator and initiative/referendum, and slightly over half the voters approved that amendment, not knowing if the basic home rule charter would be approved. We never got to experience the basic home rule charter.

Simply stated, SJC Propositions 1, 2, and 3 will give us three council members elected countywide in nonpartisan elections, with a county manager, initiative/referendum maintained, and transparency guaranteed — closer to what a larger number of voters preferred over six years ago.

Let’s make our charter government appropriate to our size and resources. If you believe in smaller, more effective, less costly local government, please vote to approve SJC Propositions 1, 2, and 3 on your November ballot.

Vote for a united county, not a divided county, and county government adequate and suitable to our needs. Save our county and improve our charter.

— Editor’s note: Ron Zee has worked at the federal, state, and local levels of government and holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science.

 

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