Well, the reactions to my voting choices has drawn harsh criticism of me personally and of my trust of rural county voters. In particular, Propositions 1 and 9 are discussed in the posted comments. So, a bit more on why I support Proposition 1 and oppose 9. In truth, there is nothing wrong with voting 'no' on Proposition 1, that is, voting to retain county wide voting for council members. I simply prefer district only - and have for decades.
However, Proposition 9, the poison pill that creates five council districts, should be voted NO by all liberals. It is dirty politics at its worst. It is a fabricated issue, it contrives unfair districts, and it ensures Bellingham's control of the Whatcom County Council. Its presentation as 'fair & equal' by Bellingham liberal advocates is deceptive.
But first a few words for readers who may be wondering about the personal attacks and whether I have an understanding of county politics.
I have been involved in county politics for a long time as a liberal and independent. In 1978, I was the public relations advisor to the Freeholders who wrote the Home Rule Charter. I was with them from the first meeting in January until they adjourned in August, and was one of five citizens who organized and ran the campaign to pass the charter - the very document these charter amendments intend to change. Presented to voters that November, it passed with a 55% majority. In 1983, I managed Shirley VanZanten's successful campaign for election as the first woman county executive in Washington state history. I was one of the founders of the Whatcom Independent weekly newspaper about 10 years ago, and served as its publisher for three years.
In my long, county-wide engagement with rural conservative voters, they have earned my respect. Give them a reasonable choice on an issue or candidate and good reasons to vote for that issue or candidate - and they will. If the comments by Dave and Sandy are any indication, I find it sad that my city and liberal friends are terrified of rural voters.
I listed how I am voting and, briefly, why. Some of the comments to my article disparaged the conservatives, saying I glossed over rural voters threat to fair elections. In my experience, all the charges leveled at our rural neighbors can also be leveled at our Bellingham Democratic Party and a well connected group of left wing political operatives. Nothing wrong with that, but we must acknowledge both sides operate that way. Everything Sandy writes about can find its counterpart on the left. Including the influx of outside money that matches or exceeds the outside money for the conservatives. She just doesn't mention that.
I attended Charter Commission Review meetings last summer and met with some of the key people who formulated the poison pills of Propositions 9 and 10. Those meetings were off the record and cannot be referenced. I was trying to learn the truth, see what I might be missing. Well, I learned Propositions 9 and 10 are indeed designed to counter Proposition 1 and ensure Bellingham's liberal control of the council whether district voting - Proposition 1 - is approved or not.
Prop 9. Look at it. Just plain look at it.
Two districts in the city and two at-large seats. City liberals believe those at-large seats will ensure them a majority of four. The three rural districts will be outvoted. Every time. Simple. We have one at-large member now and Proposition 9 creates two at-large positions, so regardless of how Proposition 1 goes - district only or county wide - Proposition 9 will ensure a city liberal majority on the council.
Lisa McShane, Todd Donovan, Tim Douglas and Rud Browne, the small core group that created this proposition, knew very well what they were doing. Not one of them ever spoke or wrote of any problem with three voting districts prior to May when they started putting this together. Tim Johnson and his Cascadia Weekly gave the issue publicity and advocacy. They created from thin air the idea the three current districts are gerrymandered. It is all a false fabric.
Note the deceptive wording of the mailer promoting Propositions 9 and 10. (See photo below this article.) Nowhere on the mailer is there mention of the two at-large districts giving Bellingham the majority vote on the council. It says this is “Fair & Equal.” A lie and a deception by ommission.
The text reads: “Tim Douglas, former Bellingham Mayor: “Fair voting districts is a cornerstone of our democracy. With five districts, rural Whatcom County will have three rural-only districts and Bellingham will have two districts. Our County Council will tackle tough issues in the years ahead, and we all benefit when the diversity of our communities is represented at the table. That's only fair.”” Tim Douglas knows our County Council has 7 members, not 5.
Sandy, is there any article by you or anyone prior to last May that is critical of the three districts? Anything on your website? In the Weekly? Tim Douglas had no concern about it for decades - until this summer when it became a convenient issue for his political goals. My point is, this was not a problem until it could serve as a reason to create five districts. Then it became a “problem.”
If we want new districts, we have plenty of time before the next County Council elections in 2017 to design genuinely “fair & equal” districts.
Vote however you want on Proposition 1 - district or county wide voting. No problem. I prefer district only, but county wide has worked for decades. But vote NO on Propositions 9 and 10. They are unfair propositions and they were created by our Democratic Party city liberals in a deceitful manner.