La Conner to Consider Clean & Fair Elections Ordinance

July 12, 2012
Terry Nelson
La Conner, Wash.
On May 1, 2012, I submitted a proposal to the La Conner Town Council to adopt a clean and fair elections ordinance, which would contain language denying corporate personhood and other clauses tailored to our particular circumstances.
     In the proposal, I included a model ordinance prepared by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), as well as one prepared by Envision Spokane for their initiative.  I also included other supporting documents and urged the council to adopt the Move to Amend resolution as well, but emphasized the importance of an ordinance, since it has legal weight, whereas a resolution does not. I let several weeks go by for the council to be able to fully digest the information, as well as to gather support.  Even though I did not garner much local support, to my delight last Tuesday night (July 10), the council resolved to adopt such an ordinance and asked me to help out in the process.
     This afternoon I had a conversation with Mayor Ramon Hayes to try to assess his and the council’s resolve, since taking up this matter represents serious personal legal jeopardy for the mayor and councilpersons.  The mayor confirmed to me that he is willing to risk it as a matter of principal, because he sympathizes with our position on the issue of corporate personhood and other matters affecting local sovereignty.  He also thinks the council members feel the same, although we haven’t really drilled down on the issue yet.
     Mayor Hayes is out of town next week and probably not much more of substance will happen until the next meeting on July 24, at which time people will be assigned and the committee to do this will be set up.  I am very pleased with this outcome, especially because our Mayor Hayes is the chairman of the Skagit Council of Governments, which is working on Envision Skagit 2060, the comprehensive plan for Skagit County.  I am hopeful we can include supportive language in that plan in the future.  Mayor Hayes says they will be subdividing responsibilities soon and that then would be a good time to introduce the concept.
     This is an uphill battle, but must begin somewhere…..why not here?
Terry Nelson

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