At the 8-14-2013 County Commissioners workshop there was some interesting developments. This meeting was the meeting that the members of the advocacy committee were to be chosen to write the pro and con statements for the upcoming Law and Justice levy for the voters pamphlet. The Commissioners were able to decide on the Committee assignments for the Pro statements but there was some dissention and obvious obstruction in choosing the Con members.
Even though the commissioners had several citizens that had submitted their names to be chosen to help write the con language apparently these names were not good enough for Commissioner Jill Johnson, she rejected the names that were submitted, accused Commissioner Emerson of somehow being involved in the name submittals and Commissioner Jill Johnson told the board that she would find candidates to apply to write the Con statement. The names of the people who had submitted to write this were apparently not good enough for Commissioner Johnson or were not pro enough to write the con statement even though the Commissioners have citizens willing from the various districts with their names officially submitted.
It also does not appear that any names submitted from Commissioner Emerson’s district are being considered leaving Camano Island and North Whidbey unrepresented in this committee. We may only see 2 members on this Con Committee instead of 3, with all of those names submitted by Jill Johnson to the Commissioners for approval…
The auditors office requested the information for the voters pamphlet to be in her office by 9-16-2013. A committee of this type normally has 45 days to come up with the language for the voters pamphlet and that amount of time has long well passed if they are going to meet the Auditors deadline. By next Monday’s meeting which is the next chance the Commissioners will have to approve this committee there will be only 32 days available for this committee to come up with the ballot language before the Auditors deadline which is far short of the 45 days required by law.
Here is what RCW 29A.32.280 states:
“Arguments advocating approval or disapproval — Preparation by committees.
For each measure from a unit of local government that is included in a local voters’ pamphlet, the legislative authority of that jurisdiction shall, not later than forty-five days before the publication of the pamphlet, formally appoint a committee to prepare arguments advocating voters’ approval of the measure and shall formally appoint a committee to prepare arguments advocating voters’ rejection of the measure. The authority shall appoint persons known to favor the measure to serve on the committee advocating approval and shall, whenever possible, appoint persons known to oppose the measure to serve on the committee advocating rejection. Each committee shall have not more than three members, however, a committee may seek the advice of any person or persons. If the legislative authority of a unit of local government fails to make such appointments by the prescribed deadline, the county auditor shall whenever possible make the appointments.”
We have to assume that the appointment of the committee members is now in the hands of our Auditor as our Commissioners have not taken action on this in the requaired time frame.
I do not know what jeopardy this places the Law and Justice Levy and whether we now have a levy that is not going to meet the requirements of our state laws.
Where is our Commissioner that is on the Law and Justice Committee and why was this issue dropped and our laws ignored until such a late date? Why is a supporter of the levy being allowed to choose those who she feels is appropriate?
As Commissioner Johnson is obviously for this levy it does seem unfair to those that may oppose this levy that that she has pulled rank and ignored the decorum of the Commissioners office to reject those citizens that had submitted their name and now she, a pro levy supporter is going to ignore the previous names submitted and find those to write the Con statement that she approves of on her own. This smacks of Commissioner Jill Johnson using her position to game the choice of who writes that statement for the voters pamphlet.
We now have a functioning committee working on the Pro ballot language but the Con Committee has not been chosen so no work can be done on the con language until the committee is chosen. This give a clear advantage to the Pro levy forces and we question whether or not this was done by Commissioner Jill Johnson on purpose to interrupt the process for the Con Committee.
Apparently Commissioner Jill Johnson will use any method to see this bond levy passed.
The audio is not on the Commissioners website yet but apparently it was again made to be an attack on Commissioner Emerson by Commissioner Jill Johnson for somehow not getting people to volunteer for this Committee that met Jill Johnson’s standard…more to come.