We attended the League of Women Voters forum on the proposed Charter amendments and it became clear what the right choice is.
When faced with a decision, one of the most important questions to ask is: What are you trying to accomplish?
At the forum, the proponent of the charter amendments stated that the goals of Proposition 1 are to eliminate the need for a super-majority vote, reduce the possibility of collusion among council members and create a more representative council. However, Prop. 1 does none of these things.
It will still require a 2/3 majority for anything to pass. Returning to the previously failed BOCC number only means fewer votes to get there. It would have made more sense to increase or decrease the number by one seat.
Collusion between council members is a matter of character not numbers, and it is easier for two people to conspire than three. Furthermore, there is no indication that this has ever happened within the council.
Reducing the number of representatives to improve representation makes little sense. The notion that we should all get to vote for all three positions goes against the concept of local control and flies in the face of the basic concept of representation.
The stated reason for Proposition 2 is that the administrator has been frustrated in exercising the authority outlined in the charter. The prior BOCC set a tone of interference that has never fully been overcome so that even though the current council members were not on the BOCC, the behavior has continued. Prop. 2 perpetuates that interference and returns us to the failed past.
If the goal is to limit the council to legislative matters and allow the administrator to do the job, perhaps a better amendment to the charter would be to make the administrator an elected position. This would give us the overall representation sought in Prop. 1 and free the administrator from the undue pressure the council can exert as the employer.
Proposition 3 merely asserts our endorsement of the state Open Public Meetings Act already in force and adds nothing.
We urge you to reject Propositions 1, 2 and 3.
San Juan Island