I haven’t posted here in quite a while because; well...frankly I tired of both the anonymity and the trite and personal nature of some of the posts. I hope to here incite a discussion about local democracy and look forward to a resulting dialogue.
I read today the current issue of the “Thurston County Democrat” August 2011 Edition. As I read it I felt like I was reading didactic and strident assertions that the sky was purple - when everyone can see it’s blue.
First a couple of disclaimers: I have known Stewart Henderson for some time and consider him a friend. I not only happily voted for Obama in 2008 but I will absolutely vote for him in 2012.
Having actually served in elective office in Olympia, after many years of legal, policy and political experience, I realized that unless and until the public believe in the public sector’s ability to move the ball forward, fundamental change is all but impossible. Must have faith in Government to support change
In the current edition of the Thurston Dem’s paper the cover is an exhortation to support Dem’s with a reference to the Republicans in Congress as the reason the debt extension “debate” was more a comic opera than a reasoned policy discussion. Of course the Chair of the Dem’s is right that the Republican’s in Congress have “…entered into an utter free fall into complete irresponsibility”. But it is quite clear to anyone watching that while the President acquiesced to right wing ideological fantasy and failed to use the bold leadership he himself promised, the Senate which is “controlled” by the Democrats simply would not include taxes in their bill.
There will be a health care rally tomorrow at Sylvester Park. I have word that Representative Brendan Williams will be speaking. I hope to see a lot of people there.
Via email from the TC Dems: newly appointed Thurston County commissioner Karen Valenzuela will be sworn in on Friday, February 20 at 2:30 p.m. The event will take place at the Thurston County courthouse (map) Building 2, Room 129.
This is the culmination of a long appointment process to replace former county commissioner Bob Macleod, who resigned at the end of last year.
New Thurston County Commissioner Karen Valenzuela on her appointment (via email and edited for paragraph breaks):
Hi all - Gov. Gregoire has appointed Karen Valenzuela to Bob MacLeod's seat. pb
Ken Camp has the scoop on what happened up to this point.
UPDATE (4:50 p.m.): Just got off the phone with Karen, she confirmed it. More later.
The Democratic Prescinct Committee Officers voted tonight to put together a list of who should fill the vacant seat left by Bob Macleeod. The ranked list we're sending to the county commissioners for them to choose from is:
1. Karen Valenzuela (Tumwater city council member) 164 points
2. Susan Bogni (current commissioner's assistant, who endorsed her) 109 points
3. Walt Jorgenson (former Tumwater city council member) 87 points.
The PCOs were allowed to rank three of the applicants, with six points to divide among their first second or third choices.
Just a few observations from the night:
New county commissioner Sandra Romero telegraphed as much as she could the next step. She said she wanted to "respect the process" and vote for the top choice of the PCOs. I noted that she said "wanted" not "would."
Out of the possible 110 PCOs, 81 showed up and voted. That is out of a total possible of 297 PCOs. Less than a third of the people in Thurston County had someone voting for them tonight. Not that I'm upset with the results, my top person was on the top of the list. I'm just saying its a sad statement.
I just got back from the candidate forum, where I shot some video (which I’ll be posting/linking to later) and took some photos. For now, here are the top three candidates as voted on by Democratic PCOs who live in the 3rd District, in order.
I’ll get the full results of the voting from Thurston County Democrats and update this post later with the complete results.
And Monday night, the full body of PCOs will select the top 3 that will be forwarded to Commissioners Wolfe and Romero.
Jim Cooper, county Dem chair, (via email) writes about the rest of the process, including an online forum tomorrow:
I just wanted to check in with everyone after today’s Commissioner Applicant Forum. The forum went well and the results are posted on the TCD website here.
In light of the article, I'd like to ask you the following:
I understand the budget is in dire straits, but do you think that it is appropriate to cut the security at the courts at this time? What would you do if you were a Commissioner to rectify the situation, or what would you have done instead? And if you feel this was an appropriate budget decision, please give me your rationale for why you believe that the right decision was made.
This situation is troubling on a number of levels. After the horrifying incident between the inmate and security guard in the Courthouse elevator in 2005, and subsequently hearing a County Commissioner more or less lay blame on the rest of us for that because we didn't approve the enormous jail bond in 2004, it's hard not to wonder what the County is thinking. On the other hand, as the budget process works, millions of seemingly little budget decisions are made in the context of a much bigger picture, and without knowing the trade-offs, this particular decision is hard to evaluate.
If you voted for a Democratic precinct committee officer on your ballot back in August, the person you elected or (in the unlikely event of a contested PCO election) the person you voted against, will make the only real decision allowed to them by state law in the next week.
I apologize for the long, dense post that follows. But, I'm an elected PCO, and I'm disappointed in the lack of public discussion on this appointment process. I need to make a decision who to support for this open position, and I am more than willing to listen to what you all think, since I'm essentially making a decision for you.
County commissioner Bob Macleod will step down later this week and early next week, elected precinct committee officers from across the county will choose a list of three applicants for the other two county commissioners from which to pick a replacement.
So far, there have been over a dozen applicants to the PCOs. A couple have dropped out so far, and a forum is being held next Saturday afternoon to vet the rest.
Here's the Readers Digest version of who's who in the applicant pool:
1. Susan Bogni is the heir apparent. She's Macleod's assistant, and from what I can tell, the message of her campaign (and it really has been a campaign) is that she's already doing the job pretty much, why not let her do it full time? I'm kind of uncomfortable with the implication that can be made with that kind of statement, since Macleod is resigning because of Alzheimers.
Please excuse my presumptuousness if I'm incorrect, but I haven't seen anyone link to Emmett's Amazing Coverage of the Thurston County Commissioner Replacement Process.
As you probably know, Bob MacLeod resigned earlier this year and the replacement process is a little less intuitive (also covered at Olympia Time) than say the Chambliss v. Martin rematch in Georgia.
In any case, the link above may or may not be inclusive of all posts which carry the common tag, Thurston County Democrats. So tarry and wander throughout.
Thanks for keeping an eye and pen on this one Emmett!