Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Betty Sue Morris's opening remarks provide proof we should vote no on the charter.

This post is very long and it contains transcribed remarks from Betty Sue Morris last night and my rejoinder to those remarks..

This speech, which was extemporaneous from Ms. Morris, stands as evidence of the weaknesses of the charter itself.

I'm going to provide these remarks from the point where she begins to discuss the actual charter. But I will also respond to these individually to bring question to Ms. Morris's conclusions... As I believe she inadvertently may have done her cause the most possible damage last night with these words.

Morris began her remarks by   informing the crowd that three of  the freeholders they had elected voted "yes" for the  charter... while one voted "no".

 Let's keep in mind that many of  these same leftist nutbergers  demanded that county employees  be banned from running for  partisan office... and that it take  FOUR votes to fire the county  manager.

 Thus, this effort is based on  partisan hatred and co-opted  RINOs like Gary Lucas or Joe  Zarelli.

Beginning with her defense of four, smaller counselor districts is where I start the unedited portion of her remarks.
if “you only represent 110,000 people, you get to know them... You have time to answer their phone calls. When you campaign you have time to knock on their doors, you learn about them, you learn about their families, you learn about their issues, you learn about how your best able to serve them.
Interesting.  Is this an admission on Morris's part that she didn't do, or have time to do those things? With this statement, She admits she had no idea "how best to serve them." (That is, presumably, serve us.)
 ”Now, the County counselor who serves as the chair, is elected countywide. He serves as the chair, he is also the spokesman for the county positions and he makes appointments to the boards and commissions and there are many of those that the Council serves on, including some of the more controversial ones that you’re familiar with like CTran and RTC. They also serve on the board a health and many others that no one pays that much attention to.
So, let me get this straight: It's bad for the current county commissioners to be elected county-wide... but somehow good for the county chair?  How is this an improvement when as it is now, we have 3 county commissioners who have to be responsive to the entire county, and that number now gets reduced to one under this charter?

How does THAT make government more responsive to the people?

How does THAT work?

How can this "part time" chair POSSIBLY have the ability to "learn how best to serve us," if, in Morris's opinion, our 3 full time commissioners don't have that ability now?

Taking it a step further, it's bad for full time commissioners who, by definition, have to be responsive to everyone in the county or else get voted out... (Google "Marc Boldt") but it's somehow "good" for the chair to face the same problems?

Let's be clear: what they want here is to eliminate the influence of the rural people of Clark County. Period.

Democrats made that clear the last time the charter issue came up:
They hope to give rural interests dominance over urban values. They suppose they can make it harder for county government to raise and spend money on social problems and infrastructure capital. 
To suggest that the left has undergone some sort of change of heart and suddenly no longer fear that "rural interest" that terrified them so much a few short years ago?

That is insanity.

The council districts were set up so that there would likely always be a leftist majority on the council. Democrats aren't acting out of altruism.  This is based on their hatred of Madore and anyone to the right of Mao.

That leftists like Lucas, Boldt and Mueller banded together to vote for this crap is but another reason to vote it down.
“But what is the benefit to the first Commissioner district since most of you live here, of the new Council districts?"
There isn't any.
“Now when you came in you had on your desk, this (a pro-charter mailer), I mean on your chairs which has a great picture of Gary Lucas and me and on the back of it it has an explanation of what the difference between now and when the charter is implemented and it’s a pretty clear little info and you can tell.
“Also, on your chair, you have the maps… Here’s a district map. Now I’d like you to look for just a minute, at the red numbers.  These districts are drawn by the County’s mapping department, and they are drawn according to the statutory requirement that all districts have the same number of people.
“But if you look at the red numbers, they are the number of registered voters… And registered voters are the ones who do elections and make a difference so in the two districts outside the city of Vancouver, their 17,000 more registered voters.
There could be 17 MILLION more voters in the rural seat and that would make no difference.

This isn't even a bone for a dog.


This is an example of the art of "bright, shiny object" politics.  in fact, the ENTIRE point of keeping these 17,000 votes out of these district is ENTIRELY to make it MORE likely that they'll be controlled by leftists, since in their minds, these 17,000 votes have a far greater likelihood of voting for conservatives.

It's the same kind of gerrymandering these clowns did on the CTrans taxing district: a deliberate exclusion of tens of thousands of rural votes from voting... but not from paying the taxes these clowns ram down our throats.
“So the political center of gravity shifts to the north. It shifts to the small cities, it shifts to the people in the suburbs and it shifts to the rural landowners. And it’s about time, for my perspective, that the rural landowners have their own representative.
Utter nonsense.

We have one of those now: his name is Tom Mielke.

And again, this ONE COUNCILOR would represent a whole ONE VOTE OUT OF FIVE on the council.
“Because when you elected me, I represented 450,000 people, not just 110,000. So that’s the first part in the change of the charter to five-member council.
That's incorrect, Betty Sue.  We don't have 450,000 people living here NOW.  In fact, when you were first elected, there were just over 300,000 people living here... so, there's no need to exaggerate.

As shown above and using her own reasoning, this is simply a bad idea in every respect.  Anything Morris said that was "bad" as a reason to go to a part time councilor within commissioner districts over a full time commissioner voted in county wide would ALSO apply to the position of county chair.

Lacking any reason that makes sense, one is forced to go to the reasons that are nonsense: like, for example, partisan hatred as a basis to change our entire government structure.
“Then we move on from that to the separation of powers.
“We learned in high school, if not in elementary, about separation of powers. It’s a fundamental premise of the U.S. Constitution and of the state of Washington Constitution, essentially it says there is one body who creates policy, there is another body who implements and executes policy.
Complete nonsense:

"Separation of Powers" refers ENTIRELY to the separation between the 3 branches of federal government and the 3 branches of state government.

The 3 branches are Legislative, Executive and Judicial.  This means that, for example, the legislature cannot rule in Judicial cases.  PERIOD.

This hijacking of the term has no application in county government: if this bastardization of the Constitution was, as Morris describes it, then EVERY COUNTY IN THE COUNTRY WOULD BE REQUIRED TO FOLLOW IT.... and not just ours.

To infer that the raping of our government structure is in anyway anything but a partisan play is absurd.  It's NOT required constitutionally.  And, in fact, it's NOT a "separation of powers" in the constitutional sense since neither the federal or state constitution addresses this issue.

It's an ADMINISTRATIVE "separation" of authority, designed to weaken the commissioners because these leftists didn't happen to like the outcome of the November 2012 election.

And is this where I point out that while she was a commissioner, Morris made no effort to implement this system or anything like it?

And why is that?  Why was it that our current form of county government is so repugnant to her now, but was just peachy when she was calling the shots?
“In the County Board of commissioners, under current law, when I was on the board I had to do it all, every single bit of it, now, do you know how much power that is, in the hands of two people?
“Two people. Just two.”
So what?

If she is to be believed, if this thing is adopted, it will go into the "hands of three people.  Just three."

How is that any real improvement? 
“I came to the County Board of commissioners from the legislature, in the house I had to have 49 other people like what I was doing, plus the speaker, then I had to go to the Senate and I had to have 25 other people in the Senate who liked it, and then I had to have the governor sign it. When I was appointed to the board of County commissioners, 1996, I’ll be blunt: Dave Sturdevant wasn’t going to run again and he was starting a construction business over in central Oregon; the only people who were around were myself and Mel Gordon. Mel Gordon slept a lot.
Which has any relevance to anything here, now, in what way?
“So when I wanted to do something I’d say, Mel is this okay with you? In he’d say yes.”
And precisely what effort did you make to change any of that when YOU were a commissioner?

If it was all that horrific, then where was your proposal to do to county government then what you want to do to county government now?

No where.

And in the end, we know that if democrats had kept control of the county commission, directly or indirectly, like they had with Stuart and Boldt, then we wouldn't be seeing a charter, period. 
“Now, that means just two votes can raise your taxes, two votes can rezone your land, two zones [sic] can widen your road or tear it up, put in a park or take it out, it takes just two.
That's right, Betty Sue, and it didn't bother you in the least when you were one of the votes in question: why does it bother you now?
“I’ve lived there for 12 years, no one knows that better than me. So we need a separation of powers and this particular document creates a manager system, it is a County manager to whom all staff, professional staff, that does not report to other elected officials, report to a professional County Commissioner.[sic]
Again, this has absolutely nothing to do with a "separation of powers."  And again, if it was so needed, then why didn't YOU try and make it happen when YOU were in charge?
“Now County commissioners are not only powerful, but their jobs and become very very technical. And for those in the farm forestry business, you may remember, that in the late 90s or the early 2000’s the the legislature said hey counties, we want you guys to take over timber permits. 
“Now, no one on the board knew anything about timber. No one in the planning department knew anything about timber, so we hired Jim (unintelligible) who was a professional forrester.  And Jim Vanling (?) Handled all of the timber permits. And I didn’t tell him how to do it. I could have, there was no restraint, but I didn’t, and that restraint is formalized in the charter.
So, what you're pointing out here is that the current system worked.

You "could have, but" you "didn't."

Apparently, you were the only commissioner in county history to be capable of controlling yourself.

Bully for you.  But hardly a reason to engage in this idiocy.
“Because the County commissioners are not allowed to tell anyone, who reports to the County manager, what to do and that is as it should be. Now, there’s a whole question about losing control, be very certain about it the County Council that is in control of the budget, the County Council hires and fires the manager, the County Council, if they manage his budget or PERS and they can control their livelihood, they can control the work product.
"That is as it should be?"

Are you SERIOUS?

Tell us, Betty Sue... in all the years YOU had this power, are YOU going to sit here and tell us that you NEVER told anyone on staff what to do? Seriously?

Because if you EVER, even ONE time directed staff to do ANYTHING during your 12 year reign... EVER ordered staff to do anything... then what does that make you?

“So, if you have a Council that is run over by the County manager, you elected some pretty wussy people… So I think that this separation of powers is an excellent addition, although I know that the sitting board isn’t very excited about it.
Here's the thing, Betty Sue: when you were on the Board, YOU weren't all that excited about it, either, because if you were, you would have DONE something about it... and that you didn't do something about it if it was so badly needed means that your tenure was either one of incompetence of one of pure partisanship.
“So, um, moving on from that you also have the areas of initiative and referendum. 
“Now I’m to be real blunt with you, this is a lot of mush. Um, I sat for hours with Marvin Case going through all these issues of initiative and referendum and there are a lot of restrictions on it. And most of them have been imposed by court decision because the legislature is never made it clear what initiative and referendum topics may be broached by County boards of commission, so there definitely are restrictions on it, but it’s better than we’ve got now. And I know for sure, that you can amend the fireworks ordinance. Or even write one, if you want to.
And here's the list of things we continue to have zero say over, since Betty Sue didn't provide it.

That's right: if we ever get this charter, we're stuck with it... forever.  She kind of neglected to mention THAT, didn't she?
“You can change noise level requirements. There are all kinds of things that you can do. So,  I want to really recommend to you the initiative and referendum moves again, government closer and closer to the people, plus it’s a wonderfully flexible document and Sen. Zarelli has described it as that on many many occasions. This can be amended as early as November 2016. So I recommend to you that you read the document thoroughly, I have copies in the little blue box you can also download it from the County website and I hope that you will read it and understand it for yourself. Thanks a bunch."
Yeah.  Sell your soul to get thousands of signatures to get changes in noise requirements.

Well, here's another little tidbit she left out: what you have to do to AMEND this charter:

Section 9.5 on the proposed charter says the following:

Section 9.5  Charter amendments proposed by the public  
A.  Proposing a Public Charter Amendment.  
1.  A registered voter of Clark County may file a proposed charter amendment with the auditor, who shall transmit a copy to the prosecuting attorney. Within ten business days of the filing date, the prosecuting attorney shall formulate a ballot title not to exceed fifty (50) words and posed as a positive question, which shall be a true and impartial statement.    
2.  The prosecuting attorney shall transmit the proposed ballot title to the auditor. The auditor shall give the proposed charter amendment an identifying number.    
3.  Within ten (10) business days of receiving the proposed ballot title, the auditor shall confer with the petitioner to establish the form and style of the charter amendment petition as required by the auditor or by ordinance. 
B.  Submission of a Public Charter Amendment. A proposed charter amendment petition must bear the valid signatures of registered voters of the county equal to at least twenty (20) percent of the number of votes cast in the county’s last gubernatorial election. Signatures shall be submitted to the auditor not more than one hundred fifty (150) calendar days following the date of conference with the petitioner to establish the form and style of the petition, and at least one hundred fifty (150) calendar days before the next general election. 

These people have set it up to require over 37,000 signatures to amend the charter.

37,000.  in 150 days.

Who will ever be able to do that without paid signature gatherers?

Why is it that we only have to get 8% of the gubernatorial vote for a statewide initiative?  Why 20% here for charter amendments, but 8% statewide to get an issue on to the ballot?

Folks, remember, it's not just what they tell you but what they DON'T tell you.

And there are many and major reasons to vote "no" on this legalized coup attempt... and no reasons to vote yes.

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