Five “at-large” representatives?

  • By admin
  • September 23, 2016
  • Comments Off on Five “at-large” representatives?

Loss of local controlParks are inherently a local issue and each region should have a voice in how their taxes are used. But under Prop 1, your part of the County may not be represented on the Board of Park Commissioners.

The Park organizers could have created 5 equal districts so that every region has a Parks Commissioner. Or they could have allowed citizens of each existing County District to elect their own Park Commissioner, plus vote on 2 at-large members. But Prop 1 does not allow for either of these options.

In a highly unusual move, the organizers of the Park District designated all 5 positions on the Parks
Board to be at-large. So it is possible that all 5 Park Commissioners could be from one or two areas of the county. The ballot lists only candidate names, so it is difficult to keep track of who you are voting for, where they live, or whether they will have any interest in your local concerns.

The Prop. 1 organizers like to point out that many of the other Metropolitan Park Districts (MPDs) vote for “at large” commissioners. That is a half truth. They neglect to mention that all but 1 of Washington’s MPDs were formed by a city, urban growth area, or other local district. So by definition, their “at large” commissioners are actually from the local community.

Commissioner Sheldon rightly pointed out, “I’m worried… that (the MPD board of commissioners) could all be from the same neighborhood and maybe they’re all of the same mind set.”

The City of Shelton had the option to become part of the new Mason County Metropolitan Park District. They opted out. Apparently they wanted to maintain control of Shelton parks.

Instead of strengthening local control, Prop 1 would create one County-wide taxing authority, and put local areas in competition for where their tax dollars are spent.

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