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Current commissioners ignore Constitution

Letter to the Editor


Last updated 10/12/2016 at 10:54am

Tenets of the U.S. Constitution basic to our democracy lie forgotten on the dusty back shelf of our Okanogan County Commissioners’ office!

Democracy is a government wherein decisions are made not only by elected representatives, but also by the people. Our commissioners have violated this basic philosophy too often, by:

(A.) Ignoring citizen input regarding water issues, year after year. 

(B) Turning people who had a right to testify against the vacation of Three Devils Road away from a public hearing.

(C) Astonishing unawareness of important constitutional rights such as Freedom of the Press. (Sheilah Kennedy publicly questioned whether the Omak Chronicle had “violated its contract” as newspaper of record because an editorial mentioned that the voters were watching.) 

D) Ignoring citizens recently who personally requested that the Commissioners follow their own 2013 Resolution ( # 102-2013) mandating a public hearing on issues such as transfer of Federal Public Lands to the states and counties.

E) Minimizing citizen involvement by keeping sensitive information from the public. There were over 14 times as many Executive Sessions per meeting (2.3 as compared with .16 ) between 2013 and March, 2016 — after citizens had begun publishing notes of commissioner meetings on the internet last October. 

The commissioners chose a dictatorial style until public outcry over possible transfer of juvenile offenders to Medical Lake, Wash., forced them to listen. It may benefit them to find employment where they can disregard our Constitution at will. Recent references to constituents as “green slime”(8/30/16) and disregard for public opinion other than from huge landowners or friends have no place in our democracy.

Since the political parties seem unable to effect the needed change, consider voting for highly qualified non-partisan commissioner candidates with no allegiance to any party platform: Chris Branch and Ashley Thrasher. 

Richard L. Tingelstad



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