Whatcom County Councilmember Ken Mann has an election hangover. What’s an election hangover, you may ask? It’s a political term that is often used to describe a sitting elected official who personally attacks a newly elected individual. An individual who: 1) is usually a member of the opposing political party; and, 2) allows himself to be caught up in public debates that have nothing to do with his official role in the community. You can read Mann’s rather colorful email at http://whatcomforum.blogspot.com/
Regrettably, this is not the first time Councilmember Mann has drawn negative attention to himself by indulging in partisan grandstanding. On October 25th, at the regular county council meeting, he told residents of the Glacier/Kendall Mt. Baker Foothills community that they did not need to show up and testify about concerns they had about proposed Lahar language in the draft Critical Areas Ordinance. Such lectures, when provided by an elected official during a public meeting, have a chilling effect on the community’s future public involvement. But Ken didn’t stop there. He informed the audience that they were also being taken advantage of by an unscrupulous political organizer. Who, for some reason remained unnamed? Apparently, it’s okay for local democrats to use political organizers. But god forgive the community who works with someone outside Ken’s circle of approved political friends.
The primary responsibility of an elected official is to represent their constituents. Not 50% of their constituents – but every single one of their constituents.
According to Ryan Ferris’s most recent post on Bellingham Politics and Economics, approximately 40,000 voters in the 40th and 42nd legislative districts cast a vote for Trump. (And, no, I didn’t vote for Trump). That said, we can’t legislate civility. Nor can we teach them manners. But we can ask our elected officials to fulfill their potential by placing the welfare of their constituents ahead of their personal gripes and longstanding political rivalries.