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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.