The Whatcom County Council

County Council decides against putting at-large and 7-0 amendments on Agenda to begin to change the charter.

Rudd Browne

The County Council got an earful Tuesday November 21st from voters who did not want “vote by district” overturned.  Two amendments for changing the Charter were put on the Council Agenda barely 30 Hours before the Tuesday Regular Council meeting by newly elected (by district) second district (South Bellingham) Councilman Rudd Browne.

The First item would have the Council Consider an Amendment for the November 2018 ballot that would have removed the requirement From Section 8.23 of the Charter:  No ordinance proposing amendment of any provision of Sections 2.12 or 2.13 of this Charter shall be adopted by the Council except by a 7–0 affirmative vote.

Here is Section 8.23 of the Charter

Sections 2.12 and 2.13 deal with how County Council People are elected.  This was originally proposed to help brake the Council from the very thing they tried to do on Tuesday.  It was an amendment to make certain that in most cases no change would be made except those coming from the people and the Charter Review Commission; neither the people or the Charter Review Commission have a personal vested interest in this Amendment ; the way the Council does. This Proposition passed in the November 2015 election and has become part of the Charter.

The “Vote by District” Provision was Proposition One on the 2015 Ballot and passed by a 6% margin. The second agenda item would have proposed a vote to overturn “Vote By District”.

Here is the U-Tube Video of the Council Meeting.

Following are the times of events during the testimony: (You can fast forward if you wish.)

  • 34:35 : Testimony from the Attendees begins.
  • 48:10 Daryl Groves (from Lynden)
  • 50:25 Chet Dow (Former Charter Review member in 2015)
  • 56:17 Pat Simons (From Bellingham)
  • 1:08:28 Chris Colon Whatcom County Resident.
  • 1:12:00 Michelle Smith
  • 1:30:00 Leslie Higginson (from Ferndale)
  • 1:14:5 Amy Glasser (recent candidate against Councilman Todd Donovan)
  • 1:15:52 Karl Uppaino ( head of DOVE campaign to pass District Only Voting)
  • 1:21:32 Eric Wiesen(Son of Activist on this issue Bob Wiesen who passed away in 2010)
  • 1:31:00 : Very interesting testimony from Councilman Elect Tyler Byrd.
  • 1:35:00 COMMENT BY COUNCIL Begin and end with a vote

A 4-3 Vote of the Council(Brenner, Mann, Sidhu, Buchanan) stopped these items from moving forward at this time.  Many political observers believe that the Council will bring this to the Agenda again and put it on the ballot.  They have until July to do so. The Fourth Corner will be watching.

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