Chief petitioner of mini initiative offers review of County Council’s decision

Rob Anderson shares his thoughts on the recent process of petition asking councilors to ban some mandates


Editor’s note: Opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author alone and do not reflect the editorial position of ClarkCountyToday.com

On August 6, 2021, I wrote a letter to the editor here that was published entitled “Declaration of Independence from COVID Tyranny and Discrimination” which over 100 people signed with me at submission.  Ten days later, over 4,200 joined me and signed online in agreement.  At the next Clark County Board of Health (BOH) meeting we presented our request to the Board, via public comment and a flood of emails, to take action to stop the discriminating mandates but the BOH, which is the Clark County Council, completely ignored our cry for help.

Rob Anderson, who organized a No Vax Mandate rally on Oct. 30, said he is not anti-vax, but he is pro-freedom. Photo by Paul Valencia
Rob Anderson, who organized a No Vax Mandate rally on Oct. 30, 2021. Photo by Paul Valencia

Nevertheless, I felt determined to not be ignored and to have our County Council, our last line of defense against Governor Inslee’s ideologically divisive mandates, at least in part, take action that would scrutinize endless mandates from discriminating outcomes.

Rob Anderson
Rob Anderson

In Clark County, filing a Mini-Initiative affords the right of citizens to petition the Clark County Council to enact an ordinance based on what the people want.  Considering that getting signatures is no easy task and requires physical signatures from registered voters, the petition process is a representational tool that demonstrates that if you can get a certain percentage to go out of their way, unlike a ballots just mailed out to people, it represents a larger group of people exists in favor of action.

In 57 days, we made history and the people spoke with one voice, “Stop mandates that discriminate.”  The ordinance was strategically written to focus on one aspect that should be universally repudiated, discriminating outcomes that are clearly happening as a result of Inslee’s mandates.

Sadly, and possibly in violation of the Code of Conduct set out by the County Council, Councilor Temple Lentz took to Facebook to misdirect and mislead the public by stating that the ordinance would “make face coverings and vaccine mandates illegal.” This statement was flat out misleading and intentionally so, and based on the many comments submitted, accomplished its intended goal as many of the comments that opposed the petition falsely parroted Lentz’s claims that the ordinance would prohibit all mask and vaccine mandates.  The truth is it would only ban mandates that discriminate and that were unequally enforced (i.e., requiring masks, tests, etc for the unvaccinated only).  Will the Council take action regarding Lentz’s ethical violations, we’ll see.

Hundreds of people took part in a no vaccination mandate rally at Faith Center Church on Saturday before lining up at intersections along Highway 503. Photo by Paul Valencia
Hundreds of people took part in a no vaccination mandate rally at Faith Center Church on Oct. 30, 2021 before lining up at intersections along Highway 503. Photo by Paul Valencia

Yet, it wasn’t Councilor Lentz’s Facebook video that really did in the ordinance. It was her vote along with Councilors Gary Medvigy and Karen Bowerman the week before the Petition Hearing that began to stack the bureaucracy deck against the petition and all those that supported it.  Quietly, with few noticing, the Councilors voted 3-1 to limit the Petition presentation to only five minutes and decided to wait until the following week, just minutes before the vote was taken, to lift the client/attorney privileges and share the Prosecuting Attorney’s office arguments against the petition (paid for by our tax dollars).  Effectively, the Council, except Chair Eileen Quiring O’Brien, helped rig the hearing so that the public would hear very little in support of the petition and an unlimited amount of time to cast fear and lay out “the sky is falling” scenarios.  It didn’t matter that 11,505 signed the petition, the equivalent of 10% of those that voted in the last election, or that discrimination should be stopped in all its forms, or that they were flooded with calls, emails and comments.  It didn’t matter that three of the four Councilors that voted “No” were elected as Republicans and that their party overwhelmingly passed resolutions calling on them to pass it.  What I and the public saw was Councilors scrambling and tripping over themselves to reject the initiative and usher the people out of the hearing room as fast as they could.  They should’ve deliberated long and hard on how to listen, resolve and lead in a way that addressed the concerns of the petitioners, but they quickly rejected a motion put forth by Councilor Julie Olson, so they could move on to obviously more important business.

Proponents of a ban on mandates in Clark County that they believe cause discrimination based on someone’s health status, such as vaccination status, are making a final push to gather signatures on a petition by the end of November. Rob Anderson (front left) and other proponents are seen here at one of 25 signature-gathering stations in the area. Photo courtesy Rob Anderson
Proponents of a ban on mandates in Clark County that they believe cause discrimination based on someone’s health status, such as vaccination status, are making a final push to gather signatures on a petition by the end of November. Rob Anderson (front left) and other proponents are seen here at one of 25 signature-gathering stations in the area. Photo courtesy Rob Anderson

What we saw in clear focus is that the County democrat lawyers call the shots, not our elected representatives.  We all saw that three of the four Republicans fell in line and gave every kind of excuse they could find provided by Lentz and the democrat leaning lawyers.  “We can’t break the law,” they said. Yet there are NO COVID laws to break which was sheepishly conceded by the county lawyer.  The only law this would challenge (which last time I checked is how laws in our state and country are strengthened or struck down) is the law that grants Inslee emergency powers which he has abused for almost two years.  The same RCW that makes it illegal to be caught with Molotov cocktails in your car, is the same that Inslee has used and abused to issue mandates that potentially violate basic Constitutional protections.  This ordinance would’ve only ADDED or restored Constitutional scrutiny for the citizens of Clark County. Because the Council withheld the legal reasoning until the vote we The People, the 11,505 that signed, were prevented in presenting a legal defense as Angus Lee did after reviewing the democrat’s opinions (see Angus’ open letter to the Council here).

Sadly, the Council missed this opportunity to represent the people by failing to engage in this all important topic of discriminating outcomes of the mandates and just played politics, and it was on full display for the public to watch… with disgust.

The petition effort was like a relay race where the people covered most of the track with a few steps to go for the win, but the Councilors felt they knew better, dropped the baton and walked off before crossing the finish line. And as they walked off, they told everyone else that they knew better and convinced themselves they were doing the right thing.

Over 11,505 signatures submitted to county elections staff to prohibit vaccine mandates.
Over 11,505 signatures submitted to county elections staff to prohibit vaccine mandates.

When you want to find solutions, you find a way.  When you are looking to do nothing, you also find a way. Four of the five Councilors clearly didn’t want any part in listening, respecting and helping to bring an end to the discriminating outcomes that many of the mandates have produced. Four of the five are now on the record as pro-discrimination, all in the name of public health, of course.

In the end, we, the citizens of Clark County, have been denied access to the courts through our legislative representatives and told that fighting for our Constitutional protections just isn’t worth the cost or the fight.

I was hoping for a big win, to ban all mandates that discriminate here in Clark County, but we didn’t get that. What we did get is the consolation prize of seeing who really runs our County, what our elected representatives really think and value the most, and that some, like Lentz, will apparently break conduct codes to manipulate the public to protect Gov. Inslee’s perverted powers to mandate as he sees fit.

Be encouraged today, as I am, and continue our fight.  Join us by signing up at www.clarkcountygroup.com. Don’t be discouraged, but be encouraged that we can now see more clearly what’s happening and how to go forward to restore our County and elect representatives that will fight for the people and not for the bloated bureaucracy which works to thwart the will of the people like what we saw on display with the rejection of the historic Mini-Initiative.

Rob Anderson
Chief petitioner

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Susan
Susan
9 months ago

Based not only on this action taken by the Council, but upon many other actions, I will no longer vote for any incumbent in the County gov’t., nor Vancouver city gov’t. They ALL need to go… every last one of them. THESE PEOPLE WORK FOR US… which they have all forgotten or choose to overlook. They were elected to represent the people; not to tell the people what they need.

Scott Hooper
Scott Hooper
9 months ago
Reply to  Susan

I think your blind spot on this is that they work for ALL of us, and most approve of the mandates–masks for sure, and to a lesser extent, vaccines. In that regard, these people are doing exactly what they were elected to do, as is Inslee, who was given a strong vote of support with his re-election after the first wave of emergency COVID orders.

K.J. Hinton
K.J. Hinton
9 months ago
Reply to  Scott Hooper

Precisely.

Scott Hooper
Scott Hooper
9 months ago

I really wanted to find something here to debate or discuss, but I see nothing but rhetoric, name calling and propaganda.

It seems you think your 11k signatures are representative, but the Councilors thought not. That’s reasonable, given the broad support for mandates, the lives that have been provably saved, and even Inslee’s re-election after the first emergency measures.

I worry what is to become of civics when it seems people who lean right think that making a Tucker-Carlson quality attack on an issue is going to do anything but make the person making the rant feel better.

HOW do you think the mandates discriminate?

WHY do you think the councilors should have valued your opinion over the majority?

WHY does the legal input seem unimportant to you?

Rob Anderson
9 months ago
Reply to  Scott Hooper

Your comments are foolish on so many levels.
HOW do you think the mandates discriminate?

  • Equitable treatment & service based on what you have in your blood? You’re joking if you don’t think this is happening.

WHY do you think the councilors should have valued your opinion over the majority?

  • Gathering equivalent of 10% of those that voted in 57 days brings more evidence that this was a majority view. I didn’t see the petition to KEEP the discriminatory mandates… I guess I missed that. Public comments were at least 60/40 in favor.
  • A significant number of people petitioned them to take action. The petition is a protected right of the people and initiative based legislation is regarded higher in the hierarchy of law… they wrongfully disregarded it.

WHY does the legal input seem unimportant to you?

  • More times than not, Democrat lawyers opinions aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.
Wolfie
Wolfie
9 months ago
Reply to  Rob Anderson

Rob over and over again, Scott just falls in line with King Inslee. The councilors voted the way they did mostly in part to threats Herr Gov’s office and they saw dollar signs being pulled away. If Scott had his way, we would be in masks to the end of time. Many many many people may not have signed the petition but absolutely agree with you. It is time for this to be over and remove the mandates! Our councilors are spineless.

Rob Amderson
9 months ago

Come out to our ClarkCountyGroup Workshop on Tues 2/15 at 7pm! It’s a time to connect, learn and activate. We’ll be looking at what happened, what’s ahead and meeting a new candidate that will be running for District 2 County Council. Got to http://www.ClarkCountyGroup.com for more info

K.J. Hinton
K.J. Hinton
9 months ago

One of his many problems is gross exaggeration. “The people” didn’t speak with ANY voice.

The signatures collected represent 3% or so of the 270,000 people who voted in 2020.

That, does not, equal ‘The People.”

The council did the right thing. The law is the law, preemption is preemption.

You can call a cow a pig, but it’s still a cow.

Wolfie
Wolfie
9 months ago
Reply to  K.J. Hinton

You and Scott must hang out together. Wearing masks. In fear.

Rob Anderson
9 months ago
Reply to  K.J. Hinton

KJ believes Inslee’s powers are absolute and shouldn’t have Constitutional scrutiny and it’s easier to throw stones then actually do something to stand up to Inslee’s abuses. He likes to belittle the effort. Maybe he’s friends with those that turned their back on the voters. We did have an election while we collected signatures and the signatures collected equaled 10% of those that voted. Getting harder to tell some Republicans from Democrats these days

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