Initiative process offers the people the right of self-governance and should be protected, says Clallam County citizen
Port Angeles, WA - 3/14/02 - Bob Forde, local citizen who was sued by the county because he brought an initiative before the county commissioners to repeal the county critical areas code, appeared before the Home Rule Charter Commission to offer the following statement:
"The concept of a constitutional republic is primarily to limit government. Our Bill of Rights enumerates certain and exact rights. The 9th Amendment expressly says “the enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
"Laws are to be a shield for the people from governmental power.
"In the recent case of Initiative 6, the county wrongfully used County Code 37.01 against the people to prevent their right to vote. What good is this Charter you’re working with, if you don’t see a clear danger from the elite lawyers that manipulate the county commissioners as to how to defeat the will of the people by ambushing their right to vote!
"A complete disregard for Washington State Constitution, Article I, Section 19, Freedom of Elections, which says in its entirety: “All elections shall be free and equal, and no power, civil or military, shall at ANY time interfere to prevent the free exercise of the right of suffrage.” [emphasis mine]
"This county charter is the Constitution for Clallam County. It must remain a potent shield against those who would dilute its intent as the authority of the people, not the elitist legal complex who would prefer people like me, and the 3,700 others who signed Initiative 6, be quiet and just let them take care of things – for after all, they know what’s best for the people. They are professionals. Professionals, indeed, who are hired or appointed by other professionals!
"The vote and the initiative process are the only precious tools the people have to seek redress from their government. Appointed or hired bureaucrats who serve themselves and their own agenda, who have power over the people, must be held accountable at the election booth.
"This commission you have, from the people, for after all, you are entrusted – each of you – from the peoples by their vote, must not pander to hose professional bureaucrats who would emasculate this county constitution. Be bold and true to your charge, and empower and strengthen this charter – the peoples’ constitution.
"In the final analysis, you will place before the people, for their vote, those areas you think most important. Your efforts in this, the first charter review of the new millennium, will hopefully set the tone and give coverage to the next review commissions.
"The proper standard should be “is what we propose strengthening or weakening the peoples’ participation in their own government”.
"God bless and guide you.
Initiative 6 is presently at the Appeals Court.
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