Tag Archives: Freeholders

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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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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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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Yard Signs! Yes on Home Rule Charter – Help needed to distribute.

yard sign picThe Yes! on Home Rule Ballot Committee has yard signs available to distribute to Freeholder Candidates and others who will distribute the signs to high-profile locations along major highways and arterial streets throughout the county.

The signs will be available at two upcoming events or by calling Val and making arrangement for delivery.

The two events are as follows:

September 26th, Thursday –  starting at 5:00 p.m. before the Home Rule Charter forum sponsored by the Jefferson County Republican party.  The meeting will be held at the Tri  Area Community Center in Chimacum.   We will be distributing “Yes! On Home Rule” yard signs to candidates and volunteers who have places to put them.

September 28th, Saturday – Then, we will be distributing signs at the CRC General Assembly meeting of the Community Rights Coalition of Jefferson County.  The meeting will be held a the Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 2333 San Juan Ave  Port Townsend, WA at the starting at 9:30 a.m.

ALSO, a notice will go out to all candidates and Community Rights Coalition  listserve participants about how to get yard signs.  We can deliver!.  We are looking for high-visibility places in all three districts.   We will also be asking for DONATIONS when signs are picked up.

Please call Val at 360-390-4547 if you would like some delivered.

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51 citizens sign up to run for Freeholder

August 14th, 15th and 16th fifty-one Jefferson County citizens signed up to run for Freeholder in the November election.  Elected Freeholders will use regularly scheduled Open Meetings and citizen input as a basis for decisions, and will design the Home Rule Charter and form of government to go on the ballot at a future date (hopefully in 2014)  That form, which the CRC taskforce hopes will include Initiative and Referendum as well as a simple Bill of Rights, can then be adopted by voters.

Here is a complete list of candidate for Jefferson County Freeholders.

Candidates for Freeholder – Jefferson County Washington

District #



District 1 Raven Port Townsend
District 1 David L Goldman Port Townsend
District 1 Richard Wojt Port Townsend
District 1 Kevin Coker Port Townsend
District 1 Douglas Milholland (CRC Member) Port Townsend
District 1 Jim Rough Port Townsend
District 1 Peg Furey Port Townsend
District 1 Dennis A Schultz Port Townsend
District 1 Gary Engbrecht Port Townsend
District 1 John Wood Port Townsend
District 1 Julia B Cochrane (CRC Member) Port Townsend
District 1 Joan Best Port Townsend
District 1 O’Neill D Louchard (CRC Member) Port Townsend
District 1 Michael Legarsky Port Townsend
District 1 George D Randels Port Townsend
District 1 David Wayne Johnson Port Townsend
District 1  Tim Thomas Port Townsend
District 1 Bernie Arthur Port Townsend
District 1 Bob Sokol Port Townsend
District 1 Jack Westerman Port Townsend
District 2 Dick Shipman Port Townsend
District 2 David Cunningham Port Townsend
District 2 Ravey Kierann Chimacum
District 2 Robert W Jackson Port Hadlock
District 2 David C Harrah Port Townsend
District 2 Jim Fritz Port Townsend
District 2 Michael Regan (CRC Member) Port Hadlock
District 2 Paul Richmond Port Townsend
District 2 John Jamison Port Hadlock
District 2 John D. Gieser Port Townsend
District 2 Gene Farr Port Townsend
District 2 Jim Pearson Port Hadlock
District 2 Henry Werch Port Townsend
District 2 Mark Clark Port Townsend
District 2 Chris Hanson Port Townsend
District 3 Davis Steelquist Quilcene
District 3 Diane Johnson Quilcene
District 3 Norm Norton (CRC Member) Port Townsend
District 3 Jim Boyer Port Ludlow
District 3 Craig Durgan Port Ludlow
District 3 Larry J Hovde Quilcene
District 3 Ed Jaramillo Port Ludlow
District 3 Nicole Black Brinnon
District 3 Dan Toepper Port Ludlow
District 3 Bob Pontius Port Ludlow
District 3 Wayne G King Sequim
District 3 David L Dickson Forks
District 3 Jim Davis Port Townsend
District 3 Ron Gregory Port Ludlow
District 3 Bill Eldridge Port Ludlow
District 3 Sunday Pace Chimacum



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Becoming We the People: Jefferson county chartering to be on November ballot. The search for Freeholders begins.

freeholders 3Today, Monday, August 5th at the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners meeting, the Resolution for Home Rule to be placed on the November 5 ballot was passed unanimously by the three commissioners. However, the commissioners have given us a very short time frame in which to get organized, so we must move quickly.  Filing as a Freeholder starts 8:30 a.m. on August 14 and ends at 4:30 p.m. on August 16.

Now that the petition for Home Rule Charter has been validated by the Auditor, anyone who has been a resident of the County for at least 5 years and is a registered voter can pay the $25 fee to be placed on the ballot as a Freeholder.

The Community Rights Coalition of Jefferson County is looking for people to run for freeholder positions from all three commissioner districts.  We are looking for people who will support the position of creating a basic charter that includes the right for citizens to use initiative and referendum and  a basic Community Bill of Rights to help direct the county.  If you are that person, please come to an informational meeting for prospective Freeholders.

The Community Rights Coalition Home Rule Charter Task Force will hold an Informational Meeting for prospective Freeholders.

Date:  Wednesday, August 7

Time:  6:00 p.m.

Place:  Tri-Area Community Center, Chimacum, Washington

 At this meeting, members of the Task Force will cover the following information:

  • Who can qualify to be a prospective Freeholder under State requirements
  • How to register as a Freeholder Candidate
  • How a Freeholder is elected
  • What tasks Freeholders are given once they are elected
  • What is a Freeholder Platform?


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