Citizen pressure succeeds: Pierce County Council to pick new senator tomorrow, one week early

by | Jun 4, 2013

 Last week, the Pierce County Council repeatedly said the earliest they could pick a new senator was June 11th.  It appeared in every news story and it was accepted as gospel.  But there was a huge problem: June 11th is the last day of the special session.  It was a completely unacceptable bureaucratic delay.

 

         But then all of you kicked in to high gear, sending emails, making phone calls, and pushing the Council to find this to be an emergency and make a decision now, not 9 days from now.  Our repeated emails highlighted the facts:  significant costs associated with estate tax refunds, continued gridlocking of the current special session, creating a second special session, and maintaining the unacceptable situation of having tax-hiking Democrat Brad Owen serving as the de facto senator of the 28th district.  

 

        Yesterday morning, the Pierce County Council announced for the first time that they are going to pick a new senator today, June 4th at 1:30 pm.  They cited citizen pressure as the reason for the change.  The new senator will then be rushed down to Olympia and sworn-in soon after.  

 

        When we started, the earliest decision date was June 11th. When we were done, the earliest day turned into today, June 4th.  

 

        It just goes to show that government will see the light only after they feel the heat. 

 

        YOU DESERVE ALL THE CREDIT FOR MAKING THIS HAPPEN.  Congratulations.  You really made a huge difference in making this happen.  

 

         A funny anecdote about yesterday.  The Council had a 10 am meeting which did not allow public testimony.  Knowing this, I got there early, around 9:30 am, and at 9:57 am I began speaking at the podium.  No council members were present (a TV reporter and newspaper reporter were there).  I began recounting the various reasons why a delay was unacceptable and restating what I wrote in this weekend’s numerous emails to the Council.  When I said “The Pierce County Council has been MIA on this issue” the Council President Joyce McDonald (jmcdon2@co.pierce.wa.us) entered the room.  She immediately walked up to the podium, interrupted me, and instructed me to stop talking and lowered the microphone so I couldn’t speak into it.  When I reminded her that the meeting hadn’t started yet and until then I had a right to speak in a public building, she said she didn’t appreciate my “grandstanding.”  I told her she was free to provide a counterpoint to anything I said once the meeting started.  She responded “OK, tell the truth then.”  I then continued to talk about the substantial costs associated with their delay, quoting from various news stories.  As soon as she officially started the meeting, I stopped my presentation and sat down.

 

          I’ve testified before many legislative committees and on occasion, I’ve had the chair gavel me down and turn off the microphone. 

 

         But this is the first time that I’ve been gaveled down and blocked from speaking BEFORE the meeting even started.  Truly bizarre.  Some politicians are so power-hungry and controlling that they simply can’t stand citizens speaking freely.  

 

         As you know, our new initiative — LET THE VOTERS DECIDE ON A 2/3-FOR-TAXES CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT — gives taxpayers the chance to reiterate their support for the 2/3.  With our initiative, we’re going to let the voters decide on a 2/3-for-taxes constitutional amendment. 

        Without the 2/3, this year’s Legislature is proving why it is necessary.  Our new initiative is, by far, the most powerful way we have to fight back against Olympia’s insatiable appetite for higher taxes.