A Community Website by Lopez Island
Started by Mike Carlson (Mike Carlson Enterprises)
San Juan Island
Oct 19, 2021
posted by permission from Gordy Peterson
Oct 19, 2021
Opening Opposition Statement
League of Women Voters Forum:

Thank you for this opportunity to share my perspective on the proposed Charter
Amendments. My name is Gordy Petersen and I’m from San Juan Island. I was an
original Freeholder and Chair of the first Charter Review Commission in 2012.
If you recall, The Freeholders began with a plan to add a county manager with a 6-
member Council. When the first CRC reviewed this Charter structure, we found
problems and thought some changes would help and the Amendments passed by a
large margin. It was crucial that the past work by Freeholders and CRC was officially
endorsed by both political parties. Structural issues for better government should not
be partisan. These proposals you will see tonight are very partisan. This CRC didn’t
find structural problems that most people could agree upon, So they decided to
institute divisive partisan policies.
Freeholders and first CRC went out of our way to be non-partisan. We wanted the
county to run smoothly no matter who was elected to lead it. The Charter is a guide
for county government structure not a place for partisan politics.
This Charter Review Commission, had other ideas. Big bold ideas to elect a climate
Czar who had oversight power over our county Council and other departments.
According to Kevin Ranker, we are the 2nd most progressive county in the United
States and we would elect a cow painted blue if we called it a Climate Czar. Well, their
bold ideas ran into legal obstacles and became the weak propositions you see before
The Climate Czar position became another toothless advisory board. The Justice and
Equity position became just another oversight group. This Charter Review
Commission didn’t find problems to fix so instead they concentrated their energy into
policy propositions that have no place in a structural document.
The Municipal Research Council has a manual that is designed for use throughout the
State of Washington to help Charter Review Commissioners do their work. They
advise that: “CRC’s should conduct their affairs to win the respect of local voters.” The
main problem I see is that this CRC, lacks respect.
No respect for the elected County Council. This Commission thinks they are not doing
enough to protect the environment and need another oversight committee to dictate
climate policy.
No respect for the County manager who they think can’t manage employees without
prejudice and discrimination and needs a board to oversee every decision.
No respect for the prosecuting Attorney who they believe doesn’t know his job. This
CRC got tired of his advice so they tried to hire outside council. This move was not
legal nor was it respectful.
And no respect for the people who will elect a blue cow if Kevin Ranker tells them to. I
think voters in San Juan County are smarter than this. They need to be respected.
This Review Commission settled on more committees to help solve problems that
don’t exist. The voters are always the best oversight group. We should reject all of
these proposals.
Thank you.