Thoughts on CRC proposals | Letter

During the CRC meetings, the only one of the four proposals I supported was Prop 2. The 2021 CRC spent three weeks trying to secure basic support from the county administration so we could function. The CRC is in the original county charter and is a part of county government. Its also a low-cost operation. I believe we spent $14,000 for the entire year of our term, primarily for clerical assistance. Prop 2 is intended to clearly define the county’s responsibility so no future CRC has to experience what we did. It deserves approval.

Prop 1 would create a new position of “Public Advocate.” I still don’t understand the need for it. In my experience when you aren’t sure who in the county you need to talk to about a particular issue county employees are impressively helpful in directing you to the right office or the right person.

Prop 3 is the one that worries me. It says that if the legislature authorizes Ranked Choice Voting it would automatically become law in our county. We don’t know how the legislature might structure it or when, it might happen but we’re going to impose it on ourselves now, sight unseen. I don’t think that’s a very good idea. On top of that, look at your ballot. We have a hard time getting two people to run for the same county office, never mind three or more. In my view, Washington’s current top two systems has served us very well.

Prop 4 would make it easier to put initiatives on the ballot by lowering the number of signatures required. What’s wrong with that? It shortcircuits the deliberative process that, in my opinion, is necessary for good government. Look at the havoc that’s been created statewide over the years by ill-advised initiatives. The problems with our ferry service go back to an initiative that destroyed WSF funding base.

Richard Grout

San Juan Island