Monday evening (12-14-2020), Gov. Inslee sent out a proclamation condemning any action of a local government to dismantle a Health Department partnership during the timing of the emergency actions about the pandemic. Citing Revised Code of Washington, his proclamation:
“I hereby prohibit any party to an agreement to operate a combined city and county health department made under chapter 70.08 RCW or any member of a health district created under chapter 70.46 RCW from taking any action, whether under RCW70.08.100, RCW 70.46.090, or any other law, pursuant to any other agreement, or on any other grounds, to terminate or commence or advance the legal process for termination of any agreement to operate a combined city and county health department or to withdraw or commence or advance the legal process for withdrawal from membership in any health district, except when:”
He then he stipulates when they may proceed.
Here is the proclamation in full.
Of course, we are talking about an ordinance sponsored by Councilmember Pam Roach. This morning, 12-15-2020 at 8:53 a.m., her terse reply was released, to a Governor she obviously already doesn’t like:
Pam Roach Stands with Pierce County
I first signed on to 2020-136 (Making the Pierce County Council the county board of health), because the measure would provide “one-man-one-vote” representation to the people of Pierce County in matters of their healthcare.
In signing onto 2020-136 as a sponsor, I had wanted to follow the one-man-one-vote spirit and legal decision of Cunningham v Metro (1991) in King County.
There are higher orders of constitutional government, however. I believe the need for an informed and involved citizenry trumps one-man-one-vote.
Without having given the citizens time to digest and to respond to 2020-136, the council disregarded the principle of “open government” which I have long fought to achieve and maintain.
I signed onto a measure which had been drafted by another councilmember. I did not ask that the ordinance be drafted, and it was done unbeknown to me prior to the chair bringing it forward two weeks ago.
I do support a more direct voter-to-elected-official model. But, without citizen input was inclined to vote no.
With Governor Inslee’s proclamation to stop local government action on a local issue, the dynamics of 2020-136 have changed. It is now a battle between local elected officials and our edict-by-the-day governor.
Inslee is using his political power to interject himself, under the cover of COVID, onto the Pierce County Council. His priority is to protect the downtown Tacoma liberal establishment which has let us down in fighting COVID.
Therefore, if the executive of Pierce County, Bruce Dammeier, stands with the council majority and openly defies the governor’s unwarranted proclamation, I will vote yes on 2020-136 in opposition to the governor’s interference.
We must not tolerate usurpation of our rights as elected officials. But, the executive must lead on this Pierce County issue. If he wants his ordinance, he must fight for it.
I guess no one should have assumed I would retire silently. Least of all myself! 😊
(There had existed pre-1991, a Metro Council. The 28th member, federated board configuration, had left Valerie Cunningham a resident of rural Cumberland without direct representation over healthcare and transportation.
A judge ruled in favor of Cunningham and the metro council was disbanded. Authority over both healthcare and transportation were given to the King County Council.)
Apparently the study session today at noon will be an interesting discussion. It is not on PCTV, but you can listen in, unless this becomes an executive session. The lines are being drawn between the Council and the Governor. It is just very unfortunate CM Roach forgets that everyone that wrote or called in from the voting public was in opposition too.
Another interesting point is how obvious this Press Release makes it that the Ordinance was a request of Executive Bruce Dammeier. Take note of this fact, because you know he will likely be taking his charm to run for Governor in four years.
The Pierce County Council Meeting is at 3 p.m., Tuesday December 15, 2020. Watch live on PCTV Channel 22, call in to listen or comment by phone at (253) 798-7777 or on Zoom at Web ID 976-6178-7423.