I’m very disappointed by the significant changes being proposed by the Charter Review Commission.
This group seemed intent from the start to gut our charter with little more than strong opinions to justify their stance.
It’s not surprising that our neighbors on Lopez would like to see a return to the three commissioner format that previously gave them disproportionate influence in county governance. With roughly one-third the population of San Juan, why wouldn’t they prefer to have equal voting power?
At-large elections aren’t the solution for this unequal representation. The CRC left intact the charter’s requirement for non-partisan elections. Given that, how will anyone without a political party label raise $30,000 or more to mount a county-wide campaign?
Our current six council districts provide more than just balanced representation, as important as that principle is. It also allows more people with a variety of views to consider public service, running in a small district where their suitability for office would be more readily known.
The glib assertion that these districts are “pitted against each other” is without merit. This isn’t a world of Chicago ward politics, and I trust that all six of our current council members have the greater good of the county at heart, even if I don’t always agree with them. I appreciate their diversity of viewpoints which ensures a healthy debate on the issues we face.
Upcoming legislative decisions will have significant financial consequences, directly or through the expense of legal appeals. I’d rather have four votes necessary to make law than the two needed under the proposed charter changes.
Conservative “small government” advocates should note that there will be no cost savings by returning to a three-person commission, since their salaries will at least double current council compensation. Vote “No” on Prop 1.
David Bayley/San Juan Island
— Editor’s note: David Bayley is a member of the former Board of Freeholders