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Whatcom County Charter Review Commission Meeting this evening, 6 p.m., Monday, July 6, 322 N. Commercial - the County Annex building, kitty corner from city hall
The conservative majority has shown their contempt for democracy and fair process with their tricky and clever moves.
In two hours, the commission will hold their last meeting. It may well be a very short one as the conservative majority has shown their comfort with dirty tricks. On Thursday, July 2, Ben Elenbaas, the chair of the commission, suddenly scheduled a “special” meeting for this evening, Monday, July 6. Since Friday, July 3, was a legal holiday, he actually did it with the shortest possible legal notice.
By doing this, Elenbaas tricked two liberal commission members into taking vacations this weekend, through today. Thus, they are out of town for this surprise meeting.
What has not been reported is that there will be no public comment time at this evening's meeting. Check out the agenda here.
The real losers in this are the more reasonable conservative swing votes. By eliminating at least two of the liberal votes from tonight’s meeting, the swing votes are powerless. Thus, the more conservative minority can push through the final ballot measures for submission to the County Council.
There is still a July 13 meeting scheduled but it will be cancelled tonight. This will be the final meeting. Look over that agenda for clues to their plan. The July 13 meeting would have had a full debate and the full commission voting on the final measures to present for the County Council meeting on July 21. That is what Ben Elenbaas had tricked the liberals into believing. You can bet he made sure his conservatives knew not to plan vacations over the long 4th of July weekend.
Tomorrow’s County Council meeting will be a circus. Many will be there to protest this violation of fair process. The County Council should take a very critical approach to the forwarded ballot measures.
So - a surprise, short, one-legal-day notice and no public comment. Two tricks aimed at minimizing open public process. These commissioners say they are putting forth measures that will increase fairness in our democracy. We should question both their motives and integrity.