Tag Archives: Home Rule Chartering

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 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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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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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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Yes! on Home Rule Charter now has a new website and facebook page

The Yes! oHome rule new website bannern Home Rule Ballot Committee in conjunction with the Community Rights Coalition of Jefferson County Home Rule Taskforce now has a new website.  You will find a complete events calendar for Proposition 1 – Home Rule Charter forums as well as Freeholder Candidates forums on the website under the “Events” tab.  Plus lots of other helpful information.

The website can be found at:  http://yesonhomerule.com/

and the FACEBOOK page can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/658697147475123/

Please “Like” us on Facebook and send the link to your friends…

The Next Yes on Home Rule Charter Ballot Committee strategy meeting is tonight September 20th –  At the Tri-area Community Center in Chimacum.  6:00 PM.  Join us.  Next week we get our yard signs and they need distributing…so much to do, so little time to do it.

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September 2013 – A Very Busy Month for the CRC

democracy hands with borderJoin us in making REAL change!

This week:

  • Home Rule Strategy Meeting, Wednesday, September 4th Tri-area center, Chimacum 6:00 PM
  • September 4th 2:30 PM, and September 6th 8:00 AM Jefferson County Grassroots
    Volunteers for YES on I 522 to Label GMO’s in Washington State –Two
    organizational training sessions
     have been scheduled in the Fellowship Hall at the Quimper Universalist Unitarian Fellowship (QUUF), 2333 San Juan Avenue, Port Townsend, WA 98368
  • BILL OF RIGHTS TASKFORCE – Thursdays, 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM Townsend Community Center

GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE CRC MEETINGS FOR SEPTEMBER:

Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (2333 San Juan Ave) Port Townsend, WA – 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM

  • SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 14
  • SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 28

CRC STUDY GROUP– Tuesdays 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM- QUUF in the Loft (September 3rd meeting is cancelled)

BILL OF RIGHTS TASK FORCE  -Thursdays 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM Townsend Community Center

NEXT HOME RULE CHARTER CAMPAIGN STRATEGY MEETING: 6:00 PM – Wednesday, September 4th, Tri-Area Center, Chimacum – We need volunteers to confirm activities and help finalize literature.

Home Rule Charter and Freeholder candidate forums – SEPTEMBER and early OCTOBER 2013

  • September 9th – District 3 Freeholder candidate forum – Sponsored by the Brinnon Boosters  7pm – 9pm  151 Corey lane, Brinnon, WA (1 block so of the fire dept.)
  • September 19th – Thursday- Forum and discussion – 7:00 PM – at the Masonic Lodge, 1350  Jefferson Street, Port Townsend.  Participants:  registered ballot measure committee representatives, Bruce Cowan speaking for “NoCountyCharter” and Valerie Phimister speaking for “Yes! On Home Rule” (she also represents the Community Rights Coalition of Jefferson County).Co-sponsored by American Association of University Women, Jefferson County; League of Women Voters, Jefferson  County; and The Port Townsend Leader.
  • September 24th – District 3 Freeholder candidate forum – Quilcene community center, Quilcene, WA  6:30 PM – 8:30 PM.  (Just south of town on right)  Sponsored by the Yes! on Home Rule Ballot Committee and the Community Rights Coalition of Jefferson County.
  • September 26th –  District 2 Freeholder Candidate Forum – Tri Area Community Center, Chimacum, WA  6:30 PM – 8:30 PM-  sponsored by Republican Caucus of Jefferson County
  • October 2nd –  District 2 Freeholder Candidate Forum – Tri area Community Center, Chimacum, WA  6:00 PM – 8:00 PM-  sponsored by Yes! on Home Rule Ballot Committee and the Community Rights Coalition of Jefferson County
  • October 8th – Noon- Informational Meeting about Home Rule Charter -12 noon –Port Townsend Community Center – Sponsored by Port Townsend Rotary
  • October 8th – District 1 Freeholder Candidate Forum –  Port Townsend Community Center,  6:00 PM to 8:00 PM – sponsored by Yes! on Home Rule Ballot Committee and the Community Rights Coalition of Jefferson County
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General Assembly of the CRC meets this Saturday. Join us!

Salish BeeThe General Assembly of the Community Rights Coalition of Jefferson County, Washington will meet Saturday, August 24th– 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM at the Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Port Townsend, Washington … 2333 San Juan Avenue. We meet every two weeks. All Friends are welcomed to attend.

 

AGENDA ITEMS INCLUDE:

Updates from each of the workgroups:

  • Community Bill of Rights
  • Study Group
  •  Home Rule Charter Taskforce
  •  Sponsorship of the film series on GMO’s and in support of I-522
  • Other projects

Important information will be provided about the on-going public education project of the Home Rule Charter Taskforce.  Members of the taskforce have formed a Ballot Measure Committee (legal state registered) in order to raise funds to pay for educational materials, advertising, and other expenses. The Ballot Measure Committee is called “Yes! On Home Rule” The group  will act outside of the CRC umbrella and will have its own website with links to campaign materials and candidate information. This committee will be able to collect donations, keep accurate financial records, and file follow-up paperwork with the PDC while advocating for the passage of a Home Rule Charter in Jefferson  County.

The Home Rule Task Force (the original group of the CRC) will be sponsoring 3 public “Meet the Candidate” forums in September and October.  These will be PUBLIC INFORMATION forums that allow the candidates in each district to present their statements and platforms and also to answer questions from the public.

The “Yes! On Home Rule” committee will be holding a volunteer strategy meeting to plan future events and activities.  All friends are welcome to attend.  The Meeting will be held on Wednesday, August 28th at the Tri-Area Center in Chimacum.  The meeting will start at 6:00 PM.

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