As the two candidates running for the County Council from District 4 on Orcas Island, we would like to thank the Charter Review Committee for their time and energy devoted to the Charter Review process. While we appreciate the work completed, we are issuing this joint letter urging voters to reject Propositions 1 and 2 of the Charter Review.
We acknowledge a unique interest in rejecting these propositions. If passed, Proposition 1 would require two additional time consuming, expensive, countywide election campaigns to be held early in 2013. It would be costly personally to the candidates and costly for the County (you) to repeat an election.
There are several other reasons to reject Proposition 1. Consider the belief in equal representation and the requirement to assess the quality of the decision-maker seeking office. If passed, Prop 1 asks you to consider 3 candidates elected countywide. We find it unlikely that Orcas citizens can come to know and trust the quality of the candidates from Lopez and San Juan through an election campaign.
Currently, voters in six equal population districts elect a candidate because that candidate’s actual actions and deeds, known in that district, recommend them for office. These community-minded neighbors are expected to make good decisions on behalf of the whole County, because that’s why they’re elected, and because they have a proven history of moving things forward even when things aren’t optimal, or the choices clear, or the citizens unified.
Reject Prop 2 as well. Clear separation of powers is a basic tenet of good governance. When present, responsibility and accountability are possible. It’s not healthy when the policy branch is given authoritarian license to meddle in the running of the administrative branch, possibly solely for political reasons. While it may be nostalgic to long for “the good old days” when things were simple; however, the reality is the County is now a complex $40 million dollar enterprise that demands skilled policy making and professional management.
Please vote this November. Vote to reject Propositions 1 and 2 of the Charter Review.
Rick Hughes and Scott Lancaster