Charlie Bodenstab’s letter last week was a total work of fiction (“Is this what we want to go back to?”, Sept. 26, pg. 6).
It is time for this misinformation campaign to stop. His letter makes three points:
He claims that the charter amendments have, (1) “No separation of powers (a sacred principle of our U.S. Constitution), (2) no proportional representation (another violation of the Constitution), (3) and most importantly, no limits on the ability of individual council members to meddle in day-to-day running of the county departments.”
All of these claims are totally false.
First, he does not understand the concept of separation of powers. It is defined as co-equal branches of government. At the heart of this doctrine is the fact that no branch of government is subject to another. They each have a political base and are independent.
That’s not how our charter is set up. The administrator is an employee of the council. This is not separation of powers and it isn’t working.
Second, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the fairness of countywide voting in Forston V. Dorsey, 379 U.S. 433 (1965). The Court stated the following: “Each district’s senator must be a resident of that district, but since his tenure depends upon the county-wide electorate he must be vigilant to serve the interests of all the people in the county.”
Washington state law is clear on this point regarding counties with islands may have countywide voting and unequal districts, (RCW 36.32.040 (2). Rather than a “violation”, the court and the legislature have confirmed beyond a doubt that this system is legal.
Third, he states that there are no limits on the council meddling? The proposed charter amendment (Section 2.42) makes “meddling” a legal offense subjecting the council member to recall.
Please know the facts and consider voting to approve the charter amendments.
Gordy Petersen / San Juan Island
— Editor’s note: Gordy Petersen is Charter Review Commission chairman