End of an era draws near

December 2nd, 2016 by Ken

After more than a decade of governing by liberal Democrats, the end of that era draws near.   This afternoon, supporters of Sandra Romero will say good-bye at an afternoon reception at the Thurston County Courthouse.  Together will her compatriot Cathy Wolfe and bygone partner Karen Valenzuela, liberal politics have controlled the growth and the future of Thurston County since the beginning of the 21st Century.

In a few weeks, that will all change as two conservatives – Gary Edwards and John Hutch Hutchings –  join Bud Blake on the county commission.  Edwards and Hutching are former law enforcement officers and Blake is a retired military officer.  The extent of the change from three liberal women to three conservative men could bring a significant impact on the residents of Thurston County.

Blake, Edwards and Hutching will face some significant problems almost from the beginning.   What to do about groundwater and drinking water?  Should all residents on septic systems be required to pay an annual fee?   Is groundwater discharge really a problem?

How to roll back the restrictive policies put in place to protect the Mazama Pocket Gopher?   Can those restrictions he changed, amended or suspended without the federal government getting more involved?   Can the county process building permits on a quicker and more efficent basis, with the staff they currently have, or do they need more help?

How do you get more money for public safety?  Does the sheriff need more deputies on the road or can he find cutbacks within his department?   If he needs more staff, how do you pay for it?

Do we really need to build a new county courthouse or can the current building be remodeled?   If we must move the courthouse, where should it go?

And, the conservative three will be faced with finding more money just to continue current operations of county government.  Will they need to raise taxes?

All of these problems are complicated and none of the answers are simple.  I hold out great hope that the change in attitude and direction will benefit the taxpayers of Thurston County – but that remains to be seen.   This first year should signal whether or not the three conservatives can solve some of the problems facing those of us who live here.

In two years we’ll know what the voters think.   Bud Blake will be up for re-election and that race should serve as an indicator of how the public feels about the new era of county government.


Posted in Government, Local Politics, The Real News

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