We tried the 6-member district council form of county government and I am pleased that we will now have three council members as recommended by the Charter Review Commission and adopted by voters in November.
In my opinion, we need one more change to create a real peoples’ government and home rule: each commissioner be elected by the people of his/her district, not by the entire county, and the votes of council members on county issues be weighted by district populations.
The county has been divided into three districts since 1889: San Juan No. 1, Orcas No. 2, Lopez/Shaw No. 3, with each district including neighboring smaller islands. The people of each district deserve a direct voice in their own affairs and the people of one district have no business being involved in the local issues of another district.
The three council members are the voice of county government with representation of all islanders. An honored professor at the University of Washington, Giovanni Costigan, taught me that levels of American government are simple, singular and sovereign and of the people, by the people and for the people. I believe that election of council members by districts and weighting of their votes by district populations fit Giovanni Costigan’s description of American government and fit the people of the San Juan Islands.
Sam Buck II / San Juan Island