Jefferson County Democrats vote against starting charter process
By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
Print This | Email This
Don't ya know: Mariners agree to 10-year, $240 million deal with Robinson Cano -- 12/6/13 -09:18 AM
Series of small earthquakes rattles Quilcene-Brinnon area -- 12/6/13 -09:17 AM
Boise State's Petersen to be next UW football coach -- 12/6/13 -09:15 AM
Today's PDN Page 1 . . . and read faster, absorb more -- 12/5/13 -07:50 PM
PENINSULA HOME FUND — Donors' generosity lifts couple toward a better life -- 12/3/13 -10:51 PM
Of the party members attending the Tuesday meeting and voted, 83 were in favor and six were opposed to the resolution, passed by the county executive board Sept. 3, that states the party’s preference to not move ahead — while saying there is no provision mandating party members to support that position.
“The vote sends a strong signal that Jefferson County’s political issues are not solved by changing our form of county government,” said George Yount, county Democratic Party chairman.
Tuesday’s vote put the Democrats at opposition with the Jefferson County Republican Party, which voted Sept. 10 in favor of the initiative that would start the charter process.
Val Phimister, a spokeswoman for the Community Rights Coalition, which submitted the petitions July 30 that started the home-rule charter process, is disappointed that parties have become involved.
“It would have benefited us if the parties had remained neutral” until the charter had been written, Phimister said.
“If one party takes a position and another party takes the opposite position, then it becomes about politics when it should be about the kind of government that people want for themselves.”
Voters in Jefferson County will decide two charter-related items in the general election.
They will be asked to decide whether the county should begin the charter process and will choose a slate of 15 freeholders — five from each county commissioner district — to create the county charter if the first question is approved.
If the first measure is defeated, then the freeholders will not take office.
If it passes, the freeholders will assemble and have until June 20, 2015, to submit a proposed charter, which then would be brought before the voters.
Ballots will be mailed to registered voters Oct. 16.
The state constitution permits counties to write home-rule charters to provide a form of government that differs from the commission form proscribed by state law.
Phimister said the number of candidates who filed — 51 — and the forums that have been scheduled prove there is a “huge interest” in the charter process.
The next forum, a debate, will take place at 7 tonight at the Port Townsend Masonic Lodge.
It is sponsored by the League of Women Voters, the American Association of University Women and the Port Townsend/Jefferson County Leader.
The Community Rights Coalition will host three forums that will include a debate and freeholder addresses, one in each commissioner district.
District 3 will host the first forum at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Quilcene Community Center, 294952 U.S. Highway 101.
District 2 freeholders will appear at 6 p.m. Oct. 2 at the Tri-Area Community Center, 10 West Valley Road, Chimacum.
District 1 will host a forum at 6 p.m. Oct. 8 at the Port Townsend Community Center, 620 Taylor St.
The Republican Party will host a forum at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 10 at the Bay Club, 120 Spinnaker Place, Port Ludlow.
The Kiwanis Club will meet at noon Oct. 2 at the Highway 20 Road House, 2152 W. Sims Way, while the Port Townsend Rotary will host a noon forum Oct. 8 at the Northwest Maritime Center, 431 Water St.
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified: September 18. 2013 5:47PM