Preface

I campaigned not on promises of specific actions, such as “a chicken in every pot,” but on principle.  I chose accountability, responsibility, and transparency as the main measures of my principles of upholding the US and State Constitutions and the rights of the individual.

I have written extensively in emails, Facebook, my blog, and occasional articles.  I wrote for several reasons:

  1. How else can one hope to change attitudes if not by explanation of a different way of thinking about issues?

  2. Too much happens that is unseen, and the public therefore can be misled.

  3. How can the public weigh in on issues if they are not given the visibility of the thoughts of one of the decision makers?

  4. With few exceptions, politicians do not write on issues, presumably because they may be held accountable for their thoughts or actions. It is treason of one’s obligations to play this game of trying to skirt responsibility, effectively for personal gain (power, money, reelection).

Accountability

Commissioners should be accountable for all their decisions.  This implies clear communication about the rationale for any decision.  For mundane and perfunctory decisions, such as paying bills, there is no need for explanation, but for most other issues an explanation is owed.

Typical accountability avoidance strategies often are employed, such as:

  1. That was the decision of the CoS! But the commissioners should be controlling the CoS, not the other way around.

  2. I was for/against the action, but our legal counsel’s advice forced my hand.

  3. It was a long-standing practice to do this.

  4. The staff gave me bad information.

  5. The Constitution does not matter because the RCW gives the governor the right to abrogate unalienable rights.

 

No doubt, there are other excuses, but that is all they are.  Everyone is accountable for their actions.

I admit that I have voted for some issues that I felt were not in the best interest of everyone:  what is my excuse?

When I entered office, I was given the get along to go along speech.  While I hate that concept, I know that if I am viewed as too extreme, I will make no progress at all.  In other words, I kept me focus on an overall goal, while chipping away at the failed policies.  At no time did any of my such votes add to the problem.  I even used the term of casting a vote “under protest.”

There also is a pragmatic concept.  What if I am wrong about a program and the program is beneficial and seems to have widespread support?  To make sure I am not dogmatic, I go along and let the program go.  BUT I explain why I think it is bad, and I demand metrics and data to prove me wrong.  That takes time … I think three years is enough time.

Responsibility

Responsibility is the assumption of an obligation to fulfill a duty. 

Commissioners perform administrative, legislative, and occasionally judicial functions.  Paradoxically, citizens seem to view commissioners as having the power to fix squabbles between neighbors, pardon late fees on taxes, to change tax rates (for all, but also just for me), to rein in the State Department of Ecology and many other state functions or mandates.  In practice, commissioners must work within constraints from many entities, such as the county Prosecutor’s office, the Health officer, etc.  Commissioners have limited power over the cities, so complaints from city residents to the county commissioners often cannot be tackled directly, if at all.

Here are some key responsibilities:

  1. To be a bridge between the citizen and government

  2. To assure that taxpayer money is managed well, legally, and above all, ethically

  3. To be fiscally sound within current means

  4. Present to the public full and accurate picture of issues

  5. Be the spokesperson for the American ideals of limited Constitutional Government

  6. Manage internal departments critically

  7. Provide quality customer services

  8. Avoid future problems by making sound decisions today.  (A wide range of experiences is a great asset.)

 

Transparency

The fundamental concept is that government should do nothing that is not directly visible by the public.

To accomplish this, I have done the following:

  1. Identified in the meeting minutes who voted for what, so that users can see an individual voting record

  2. Insisted on supporting anonymous access to records

  3. Wrote on various media about key issues

  4. Answered most individual emails and phone calls asking for explanations

  5. Selected the controversial issues to be put to the public in evening meetings

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