Letter to the Editor: Community council is taking the wrong path
March 15, 2011 · 12:01 PM
What’s happening to our community council? In my opinion, it’s headed in a direction that most of us will regret.
Over the past 30-some years that I’ve participated, the Vashon-Maury Island Community Council (VMICC) has provided a neutral forum for Islanders to get together and talk, share ideas and make solid progress for our common good.
There are many examples of work that started with the VMICC and was followed through by smaller groups: the many parks that are now locally owned and operated, land-use strategies that promote groundwater protection, the Glacier issue, citizens’ input on transportation issues, etc.
But did you know the VMICC is now a corporation and an “unincorporated area council” (UAC)?
Being a UAC now means that anyone can play the effective-but-rude “records fishing” game and litigation games that are becoming a national pastime with developers. It enabled a local developer to cause the entire VMICC board to resign, rather than let their lives degenerate into a long legal hassle. He then became a board member himself. Three new board members attempted to stabilize the ship, before they also resigned.
Perhaps Sen. Sharon Nelson’s proposed measure, SB 5677, will pass and repair the situation. I hope so, but until then we should vote against renewing the UAC contract, which has given us mainly grief. We can reinstate our UAC later, if it makes sense.
In another ominous development, proposed by-law changes will give a lot more power to the VMICC board and a lot less to community members. Now, all community residents can vote on issues, and their vote is the basis for decisions and actions by the board. That would no longer be true.
There will be a VMICC meeting that will be vital for this community at 7 p.m. Monday, March 21, at McMurray Middle School. Come see for yourself.
— Frank Jackson