Category Archives: Chartering and “Home Rule”

Freeholder elections and the Clallam County Charter review coming up this fall.

clallam county flag“The Charter is a county constitution designed to give the control of county affairs to the people of the county rather than requiring legislation from Olympia. In addition to the election of our public officials, specific powers reserved to the people clallam county flagare initiative, referendum, mini-initiative and recall.” – page one of the Clallam County Charter

Clallam county will start a “Home Rule ” charter review this fall.  The Clallam county charter was created in 1976 and is one of six Washington “Home Rule” counties in the state.  The charter was set up to be the constitution of the county government.  It gives the citizens of the county the power to evaluate government and make changes if needed.

The state constitution requires chartered counties to review their charter every eight years. The charter review includes electing 15 freeholders.  These duly elected freeholders will then set up meetings throughout the county to find out what people would like to focus on and whether the charter is addressing the right issues.

The charter commission will have up to a year to study issues it chooses. It may make recommendations to the Clallam County Commission or propose amendments to be placed on the ballot for approval by county voters in 2015.

Previously the freeholder review commission decided to review the status of the county’s Director of Community Development which had been an appointed position.  The charter review commissioners placed the issue on the ballot and county citizens voted to make the position an elected position. It is the only elected position of its kind in the nation.

Five freeholder commissioners will be elected from each of the county’s three districts.

  • District 1 comprises Sequim, Blyn and neighboring areas.
  • District 2 includes Port Angeles east of Valley Street, Agnew, Carlsborg and neighboring areas west of Sequim.
  • District 3 comprises the west side of Port Angeles, Joyce, Forks, Sekiu, Neah Bay, and neighboring areas.

 Information Meeting set for April 14th

The Port Angeles League of Women Voters will conduct an information session at the Port Angeles Library on “How to run for the Clallam County Charter Review Commission,” 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 14.  County Commissioner Mike Doherty, Auditor Patty Rosand and some former charter reviewers will be available to discuss the charter election and process, according to the league’s event announcement.

Copies of the charter are available at the County Courthouse in Port Angeles or online at http://www.clallam.net/Board/assets/applets/2007_Charter.pdf

 

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CRC Home rule platform, list of endorsed Freeholder Candidates and Honking and Waving – the quest for more voice for the people.

Community Rights Coalition of Jefferson County will meet on November 2nd – 9:30 am to 11:30 am at Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship hall –  2333 San Juan Avenue Port Townsend, WA.  All Friends are welcome to attend.  Updates on Proposition 1 and I-522 campaigns.  Election night gathering and post-campaign potluck will be discussed.  Join Us!

CRC PLATFORM AND LIST OF CRC ENDORSED CANDIDATES BY DISTRICT – See below

new website bannerThe Community Rights Coalition was formed by residents of Jefferson County, WA, who attended workshops and Democracy School given by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF). We have met for a year to study how:

  • Corporations have used the US Supreme Court to become “persons” under the law with human rights to privacy, freedom of speech and unlimited political influence;
  • Communities in the United States and internationally are finding ways to resist the corporations whose business causes harm;
  • Including the “right to govern ourselves” in a legal strategy changes how the law and courts consider ordinances;
  • Creating a Home Rule Charter can give needed tools to citizens wanting a stronger voice in their own government.

After an intense petition drive we have succeeded in bringing to the ballot Proposition 1 and ask you, the voters of Jefferson County to support:

  • The Community Rights Coalition Platform
  • Vote yes for Proposition 1.
  • Elect freeholders empowered to create an amendable Home Rule Charter designed of, by and for the People of Jefferson County.
  • Claim the power of Initiative and Referendum for local citizens.
  • Include a simple Bill of Rights such as: We the People have the innate right to govern ourselves and the right to defend the living world of which we are a part.
  • Vote for the following candidates who support Proposition 1 and have declared their support for Initiative, Referendum and a simple Bill of Rights.

The Community Rights Coalition of Jefferson County endorses the following candidates for District Freeholder.endorsement- thumbs up

District 1:  O’Neill Louchard (CRC), Julia Cochrane (CRC), Doug Milholland (CRC), John Wood

District 2:  Mike Regan (CRC), David Cunningham

District 3: Norm Norton (CRC), Jim Davis, Nicole Black

For more information about Proposition 1 – Home Rule Charter for Jefferson County, Washington please go to the Yes! on Home Charter Ballot Committee Website: http://yesonhomerule.com/

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP FROM NOW UNTIL NOVEMBER 5th.  HONKING AND WAVING UNTIL ELECTION DAY – WE NEED YOU!

The ballots go out on Wednesday, October 16th of this week. The newspaper insert for Yes! On Home Rule will also go out with the Port Townsend Leader in the October 16th edition of the Port Townsend Leader.   Research tells us that 60% of voters will fill out their ballots within the first 2 days of receiving them. Talk to your friends, tell them to vote YES!  on Proposition 1 and vote for 5 or less Freeholder candidates in their voting district.  Visit our website to get more information

honk and wave2HONKING AND WAVING- WE NEED YOU!  Throughout the weeks leading up to the last day to turn in ballots (November 5th at 5:00 PM) supporters of Proposition 1 will be Honking and Waving with our yard signs at strategic locations throughout the county, most notably near the PT Food Coop on Sims  and Kearney. Come join us.  People have been waving back and stopping and asking questions about Home Rule, the charter process and election of Freeholders.

JOIN US IN BRINGING MORE VOICE TO THE CITIZENS OF JEFFERSON COUNTY WASHINGTON!

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CRC Proposition 1- Home Rule Charter Platform and Freeholder Candidate Endorsements

yes on proposition 1The Community Rights Coalition was formed by residents of Jefferson County, WA, who attended workshops and Democracy School given by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF).   We have met for a year to study how:

  • Corporations have used the US Supreme Court to become “persons” under the law with human rights to privacy, freedom of speech and unlimited political influence;
  • Communities in the United States and internationally are finding ways to resist the corporations whose business causes harm;
  • Including the “right to govern ourselves” in a legal strategy changes how the law and courts consider ordinances;
  •   Creating a Home Rule Charter can give needed tools to citizens wanting a stronger voice in their own government.

After an intense petition drive we have succeeded in bringing to the ballot Proposition 1 and ask you, the voters of Jefferson County to support:

 The Community Rights Coalition Platform

  • Vote yes for Proposition 1.   Elect freeholders empowered to create an amendable Home Rule Charter designed of, by and for the People of Jefferson County.
  • Claim the power of Initiative and Referendum for local citizens.
  • Include a simple Bill of Rights such as: We the People have the innate right to govern ourselves and the right to defend the living world of which we are a part.
  • Vote for the following candidates who support Proposition 1 and have declared their support for Initiative, Referendum and a simple Bill of Rights.

Community Rights Coalition of Jefferson County endorses the following candidates for District Freeholder.
endorsement- thumbs up

 District 1: O’Neill Louchard (CRC), Julia Cochrane (CRC), Doug Milholland (CRC), John Wood

 District 2: Mike Regan (CRC), David Cunningham

 District 3: Norm Norton (CRC), Jim Davis,  Nicole Black

For more information about Proposition 1 – Home Rule Charter for Jefferson County, Washington please go to the Yes! on Home Charter Ballot Committee Website: http://yesonhomerule.com/

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This week in Jefferson County: Ballots are mailed, Two more chances to learn about Propostion 1 – then vote Yes on Home Rule Charter

new website bannerThis week Ballots will be mailed and you will have a chance to actively change the county and state for the better.  Also there is one of two last chances to learn about Home Rule Charter.

VOTE YES!  I-522 to  Label All GMO’s – Statewide vote

VOTE YES!  Proposition 1 – Home Rule Charter and choose 5 Freeholder Candidates ( The CRC will post a platform and list of Candidates it supports in the next few days – Stay Tuned!)

EVENTS – Learn More – Be Informed

October 15,Tuesday,   League of Women Voters- Forum  On Proposition 1 – 7:00 PM, Quilcene Community  Center, 294952 U.S. 101, Quilcene, WA

October 16 – Ballots mailed

October 21 – Monday – Noon – Elks Chamber, Proposition 1 informational meeting, Port Townsend Elks Lodge, 555 Otto St, Port Townsend, WA

For more information on Proposition 1 – Home Rule Charter and vote for Freeholders – go to http://yesonhomerule.com/

 

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This Week in our community: Home Rule debates, Freeholder forums and a Meeting of the General Assembly

groundswell_hillTHE WEEK OF OCTOBER 7th THROUGH THE 13th – There are five events being held to support our community.  Four will continue to educate Jefferson County residents about Home Rule Charter and Freeholder candidates.  The ballots will be mailed out October 16th.  Let your friends and neighbors know about these events.  The Fifth is a meeting of the General Assembly of the Community Rights Coalition.  Please join us for all.

October 8, Tuesday,  Noon – Home Rule Charter – Proposition 1 Forum Pro and Con – Rotary- Port Townsend Maritime Center

October 8, Tuesday,  District 1 Freeholder candidates forum,  6:00 PM to 8:00 PM – Port Townsend Community Center, 620 Tyler St  Port Townsend, WA 98368

October 9  Wednesday-  Information on Prop 1- Fourm sponsored by Chimacum Grange 6;30,   sponsored by Chimacum Grange, 9572 Rhody Dr, Chimacum, WA 98325

October 10, Thursday, District 3 Candidates Fair, 6:30 Port Ludlow Bay Club, – Port Ludlow Bay Club-  Republican Party of Jefferson County sponsored

October 12 – Saturday, General Assembly of the Community Rights Coalition – 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM at the Quimper Unitarian Fellowship, Port Townsend.

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District 1 Home Rule Freeholder Candidate Forum October 8th

don't forgetThe District 1 Home Rule Charter Freeholder forum is coming…

Tuesday, October 8th – 6:00 Pm To 8:00 PM…at the Port Townsend Community Center ( Uptown Port Townsend across from Aldrich’s)

COME MEET THE CANDIDATES!  A Chance for the public to meet and ask questions of the candidates for FREEHOLDER.

 

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This Week in our community…get active and become informed

Two Special events…

  • October 1 – Tuesday, 6:30 PMPort Townsend Community Center – “Open Government How to Discussion featuring a panel of attorneys and legal experts.”  Ask questions and become informed.  Panel is moderated by Scott Wilson, Publisher of the Port Townsend & Jefferson County Leader; former president of the Washington Coalition for Open Government. Sponsored by the Jefferson County Bar Association and the Washington Coalition for Open Government.
  • October 2– Wednesday – 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM  District 2 Freeholder Candidate Forum – Tri area Community Center, Chimacum, WA Sponsored by the Yes! on Home Rule Ballot Committee and the Community Rights Coalition of Jefferson County
  • open government event
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CRC GENERAL ASSEMBLY THIS SATURDAY!

Salish BeeSEPTEMBER 28th – Saturday- 9:30 to 11:30 AM – GENERAL ASSEMBLY of the Community Rights Coalition of Jefferson County.

Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (2333 San Juan Ave) Port Townsend, WA – ALL FRIENDS ARE WELCOME.  Come join us as we make real change happen and stand up against corruption.

Agenda items:

  • Update on I-522 action group (Label GMO’s in Washington state) – the big guys with their big money come to Washington State, the people respond by using community activism Phone banks, flyers, action meetings.  The Senate in Washington votes to stop the Monsanto Protection Act!
  • Update on Home Rule Charter campaign and Freeholder Candidate forums.  WE HAVE YARD SIGNS TO DISTRIBUTE.  If you live on a major thoroughfare or street in Jefferson County or know someone who does, please put a Yes! On Proposition 1 Home Rule sign in your yard or property.
  • Consensus study group about to start.
  • Community Bill of Rights update

…and much more.  Join us

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What is Home Rule and Why is it Good for us

Update from the Community Rights Coalition of Jefferson County Home Rule Chartering Taskforce

yes on home rule - let the people decideIn the ancient Roman Empire, “Home Rule” was designed  to give limited self-government to the people who lived in Rome’s colonies, the local citizens, instead of having everything determined from the distant city of Rome.

In the 1800s, the British Empire began to embrace the concept they called “Home Rule”, which ultimately gave Australia, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, Newfoundland, and India, powers of limited self-government, as Dominions in the British Empire.

In the United States , many states to granted limited self-government, or partial autonomy, to cities and counties wanting to manage their local affairs, rather than everything being determined from afar.

The idea was to give cities and counties the flexible ability to address local concerns not preempted by the states.  It was “local solutions for local problems”. The citizens most affected by local problems would be in the best-position know.

The Washington Constitution of 1889 was drafted in the hot season in a mere 51 days (July 4 to August 23) by 75 citizens.  It was ratified on October 1, 1889, by a vote of 40,152 to 11,879.  That’s right – a total of 52,031 votes.

Since 1889, the Washington population has grown to almost 7 million, with 19 cities having larger populations than the entire state-wide vote in 1889.

The 1889 Washington constitution created a simple, off the shelf  “three member commissioner” form of county government – which combined both the legislative and the executive functions, as opposed to keeping them separate as they are in the US Constitution where they are divided, and balanced, between the Congress and the President.

Back then, the commissioners dealt mostly with “roads and taxes”, since roads were scarce. In 1948, shortly after the end of World War II, and as the needs of government became more complex, the legislature decided to provide a “Home Rule” option for Washington cities and counties to create their own forms of local government tailored to specific needs of each community.

Who is Chartered in Washington State?

Washington State map of Chartered counties and cities

Washington State map of Chartered counties and cities

Generally, larger and more progressive counties with increasingly complex problems lead the effort to create, and tailor, “Home Rule” charters.  King in 1969, Whatcom in 1978, Clallam in 1979, Snohomish in 1980, Pierce in 1981 and San Juan in 2005.

King, Whatcom, Snohomish and Pierce decided to split the legislative and executive functions of county government between legislative council members and an elected executive, to match the separation of powers in the US government and all state governments.

We in Jefferson County still have the simple, off-the-shelf version of county government designed in 1889 when the population was small, most travel was by water, the horse and wagon used dirt roads, most people walked a lot, and the technological revolution was far in the future. “Don’t fix what ain’t broke” is a timeless perspective which is often heard but rarely taken seriously.

Since 1889, we’ve fixed a lot of things that weren’t  “broke”.  Paved roads replaced dirt roads weren’t broke, the automobile replaced the “horse and buggy” that wasn’t broke, electric lights replaced candles and oil lamps which gave decent light, the telephone came in even though the Pony Express was never broke, computers replaced adding machines, and smart phones are way ahead of the old hand crank party-line phones that have been relegated to museums and antique stores.

We have major improvements all around – except for our form of county governance – which was invented in 1889 during the high-water mark of the horse and buggy days.

We still let three “commissioners” decide and implement, if they choose, all the good ideas.  A charter form of government can provide for greater citizen participation, more good ideas, and far more vigorous and interesting elections.

Do we trust our fellow adult citizens, many of whom are well-educated, and experienced in many fields, especially in Jefferson County, to have a voice?  Do we trust in the brain-power of our fellow citizens or do we leave it to the three overseers to have all the wisdom?  Are there good ideas, from a wider selection of experienced thinkers, which deserve a hearing before our fellow citizens? Or are all the good ideas held by three people?  By insiders?

To be adopted, new citizen ideas would still have to have merit and command a majority of county support in order to become law.

Should we elect 15 conscientious freeholders and ask them to come together to see if they can craft a charter flexible enough and intelligent enough to meet the interests, needs and scrutiny of the majority of Jefferson County voters? A charter, to be adopted, will have to be written well enough to survive a county-wide examination and satisfy a majority of our voters in a future election, perhaps in 2015.

Have we heard some say we should reject the idea of the Charter before we find out what it contains.  Who could seriously reject an offering sight unseen? Let’s give the freeholders, and ourselves, the chance to be heard.  Let’s challenge the freeholders and ourselves to create the best and most responsible charter possible, a charter with the flexibility to serve our coming generations.

Let’s vote to have it written, to see it, to discuss the finished product, and then vote it up or down after we’ve scrutinized it. Let’s give ourselves the option of initiative and referendum, and a protective citizen Bill of Rights.  Let’s separate the executive and legislative functions, as they should be separated in the best interests of all citizens.

Let’s move into the modern world and retire the “horse and buggy” commissioner form of government to a well-earned corner in the museum of history.

Written by John Wood –  September 2013

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This Week in the Community…become informed – Join us!

groundswell_hillSeptember 24th – Tuesday – 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM – District 3 Freeholder candidate forum – Quilcene community center, Quilcene, WA (Just south of town on right)  Sponsored by the Yes! On Home Rule Charter Ballot Committee and the Community Rights Coalition of Jefferson County. For more information about the agenda and a list of District 3 Freeholder Candidates follow this link  to the Yes! on Home Rule Ballot Committee website

September 26th –  Thursday – 6:30 to 8:30 PM – District 2 Freeholder Candidate Forum – Tri Area Community Center, Chimacum, WA   Sponsored by the Republican Caucus of Jefferson County

SEPTEMBER 28th – Saturday- 9:30 to 11:30 AM – GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE CRC: Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (2333 San Juan Ave) Port Townsend, WA – 

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