–The coal tarnished underpinnings of Charter Propositions 2 and 3, the mechanisms designed and approved by conservative Charter Commissioners to lock-in Proposition 1 district-only voting–
It is evident from reviewing public record email communications, that Gateway Pacific Terminal consultant Dave Brumbaugh, advised Whatcom County Charter Review Commissioner Chet Dow and others on strategies aimed at getting district-only voting approved by voters of Whatcom County. One of those emails is shown in the screenshot photo.
Two days after the conservative majority of the Charter Review Commission passed Amendment 1 district-only voting (now called Proposition 1), Commissioner Chet Dow sent a February 25, 2015 email to Roger Almskaar.
In the email, after referring to the February 23rd Charter commission meeting at which the conservative majority of the commission passed Amendment 1 district-only voting (now Proposition 1), Dow told Almskaar the commission’s “job was only half done,” in terms of restoring district-only voting (what he termed “fair representation”).
“It will do us no good to campaign for and pass Amendment 1 [now called Proposition 1] if the Charter Review Commission fails to address Council’s power to turn around and overturn the will of the people as happened ten years ago (the Brenner effect). The purpose of the introduced amendment [now called Proposition 3] to Charter Section 8.23 (attached above) is to address just this problem.”
While it is clear that it was/is Commissioner Dow’s intention to attempt to prohibit the County Council from proposing any charter amendment pertaining to the method of nominating and electing County Council members, it is important to clarify that his characterization of the Council’s power is incorrect.
In his email, Dow said the Council’s power to “overturn” the will of the people. The County Council does not have the power to “overturn” the will (the vote) of the people. The Council only has the power to place, via ordinance, a charter amendment on the ballot for a vote by the people. So, Dow and the conservative commissioners who approved Amendment 10 [now called Prop 3] are trying to severely handicap the will of the people by severely limiting the powers of the County Council.
In his email referenced above, Dow called his proposed Charter Amendment 10 (now called Proposition 3) a “companion amendment” which he said addresses section 8.23.
The reality: Proposition 3 and its first cousin, Proposition 2, are both mechanisms designed and approved by conservative Charter Commissioners to try to lock-in district-only voting
(Prop 1) for a long, long time.