Submitted by Pam Roach.
I first signed on to 2020-136 (Making the Pierce County Council the county board of health), because the measure would provide “one-man-one-vote” representation to the people of Pierce County in matters of their healthcare.
In signing onto 2020-136 as a sponsor, I had wanted to follow the one-man-one-vote spirit and legal decision of Cunningham v Metro (1991) in King County.
There are higher orders of constitutional government, however. I believe the need for an informed and involved citizenry trumps one-man-one-vote.
Without having given the citizens time to digest and to respond to 2020-136, the council disregarded the principle of “open government” which I have long fought to achieve and maintain.
I signed onto a measure which had been drafted by another councilmember. I did not ask that the ordinance be drafted, and it was done unbeknown to me prior to the chair bringing it forward two weeks ago.
I do support a more direct voter-to-elected-official model. But, without citizen input was inclined to vote no.
With Governor Inslee’s proclamation to stop local government action on a local issue, the dynamics of 2020-136 have changed. It is now a battle between local elected officials and our edict-by-the-day governor.
Inslee is using his political power to interject himself, under the cover of COVID, onto the Pierce County Council. His priority is to protect the downtown Tacoma liberal establishment which has let us down in fighting COVID.
Therefore, if the executive of Pierce County, Bruce Dammeier, stands with the council majority and openly defies the governor’s unwarranted proclamation, I will vote yes on 2020-136 in opposition to the governor’s interference.
We must not tolerate usurpation of our rights as elected officials. But, the executive must lead on this Pierce County issue. If he wants his ordinance, he must fight for it.
I guess no one should have assumed I would retire silently. Least of all myself!
(There had existed pre-1991, a Metro Council. The 28th member, federated board configuration, had left Valerie Cunningham a resident of rural Cumberland without direct representation over healthcare and transportation.
A judge ruled in favor of Cunningham and the metro council was disbanded. Authority over both healthcare and transportation were given to the King County Council.)
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.