What happened to the county charter movement?

October 8th, 2015 by Ken

Less than a year ago, the news pages were filled with the efforts of a group of local residents to adopt a new county charter, which would have changed Thurston County government.

Many local political types were joined together in the effort.   While the movement was being led by several local Democratic leaders, many Republicans joined in as well.   Their mantra was “Thurston County government is broke and a new governing body will make it more effective and efficient.”

Efforts to get the current Thurston County Commissioners to put a Freeholders Election on the ballot, to draft a new charter, fell on deaf ears.   The commissioners wanted nothing to do with any effort that would dilute their power.

So, the group opted to start an initiative campaign to force the issue on the ballot and a public vote.

But – that was it.   Nothing more was heard.   It’s been several months now and supporters of a new county charter are silent.

What happened?

Cynics say that the effort stopped, because two of the leaders of the movement – –  Olympia Councilmember Jim Cooper and State Representative Chris Reykdal  – are busy doing something else.   Reykdal is running for State Superintendent of Schools and Cooper is running for the vacant county commission seat currently held by Cathy Wolfe.   After all they reason, why would Cooper want to support a proposal that would take away the powers of the commissioners and lower the salary – if he wants the job.

I think it’s more simple than that.   I think they couldn’t get much community support for the idea.   They also realized that with the defeat last year of Karen Valenzuela, that maybe Sandra Romero might be vulnerable and Wolfe is already stepping down.  Their work seems almost finished  – – a complete change in county government.

Posted in Government, Informational, Local Politics, The Real News

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