We’ve had ad nauseam attention paid to Sarah Palin. But her very presence begs the issue -the question I’m asking. Who are the people running for local office? They may not all rear their heads on the national scene the way Newt Gingrich GOPAC creation Palin has. Though we have certainly suffered from that outcome here in Washington’s 5th CD with the misrepresentation of McMorris Rodgers. She’s another Gingrich creation plucked from our state legislature. Her family connections to her county’s Republican party brought her to the state house.
Whether they stay local or not, you should be paying attention.
Fellow Kossack Brian Sayrs, who is running for Spokane County Commissioner spoke directly to the point:
Too often, local governments avoid the media attention that state and national governments do. And, yet, many of the decisions made by school boards, city councils and county commissions are often the ones which affect our daily lives the most. With reduced scrutiny, some local governments make decisions on behalf of the public without the necessary input to make the right decision for the community, and may even lapse into excluding the public from participating at all.
What we see here, in our little backwater of Spokane County, is a microcosm of what we see on the national level. These Republicans or Grand Old Party party members (sshhhh it’s a secret that they’re Republicans), to the surprise of no one, run their business at the local level just like they do on the national level.
For decades this county has been governed by good ol’ boy Republicans. Though the possibility was scoffed at the king of good ol’ boys, Commissioner Phil Harris, was finally toppled a couple of years ago. However, since we have three commissioners, new Commissioner Mager is outnumbered by the other two who are supported by developers and Realtors and the other usual suspects.
Sayrs wrote about one of the fundamental issues that challenges the ol’ GOPers:
Open government is a basic American value. We own the government, and it acts in our name. We have a right to control its function and direct its goals. However, for some, the urge to hijack public institutions to put them to their own personal use can be overwhelming, and that is aided by shrouding their activities in secret. Over the years, the public has made strides in opening governments up to scrutiny, including sunshine laws and public disclosure for candidates. However, that does not mean that we can be complacent and hope that our officials take their duty to openness seriously.
Just as we see on the national level (understatement), right here in Spokane we’ve had one major incident of ignoring the public’s right to know with regard to the $4.3 million purchase at auction of a parcel of land with an auto race park. The two Republicans with "visions" of NASCAR, were in favor of using public funds for this, while Commissioner Mager disagreed. The two Republicans won out
In a ...more blatant violation of the public trust, County Commissioner Mark Richard (Sayrs opponent) and Todd Mielke violated the Open Public Meetings Act by holding a public meeting without informing the press (and thereby denying the public access). In fact, they went so far as to prevent the third county commissioner from finding out the meeting was happening!
...Quoting Commissioner Richard's campaign manager, Martin Burnette, as quoted from the Spokesman-Review:
"It wasn’t a public meeting," Burnette said. "It was a private meeting of private individuals with a private corporation."
...where have we heard that before...or something very much like it?
Since then Richard has resorted to smearing Sayrs and his volunteers, accusing Sayrs with being caught in the act of stealing a sign and "orchestrating" a sign stealing effort. This accusation was made at a public forum and after more than a week since that accusation, Richard, with no evidence, still refuses to name the "victim". But he avoided the issues and got a smear out at the same time.
Obviously with the financial mess going on, the representation we have on the local level matters big time. No one is surprised that selfishness, greed and arrogance are alive and well on the local level.
For Brian Sayrs and the other Democratic County Commissioner candidate Dr. Kim Thorburn the fight is a hard one- the race is close, but can be done. They are both outstanding and hard working, hard campaigning candidates.
The expectation is that Washington state will go Obama, so the fight is on to support congressional candidates here and nationally. And we have a fight to keep Gregoire as our govenor and win more seats in out state senate and house. But pay attention to your local candidates. See what help they need. Write letters, make phone calls, do a meet and greet or doorbell to support the locals. They are vital and they need your efforts too!