Letters to the Editor

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TACOMAS: Let voters choose form of government

Letter by John L. Messina, Tacoma on July 16, 2014 at 10:56 am with No Comments »
July 16, 2014 12:26 pm

The Tacoma City Council appointed citizens to suggest improvements in Tacoma’s governance by charter amendments. Twelve proposals of the committee will be on the November ballot.

But the council refused to put the most important issue before the people. That is a recommendation, not to change the government form, but to let the voters decide to retain the status quo or install a government with an elected chief executive (mayor), a stronger council and a chief administrative officer (CAO) who would perform the duties of a city manager.

The committee vote was 9-5 to put that on the ballot. A majority of the City Council voted not to put that on the ballot, trusting their judgment more than their own appointed committee and the voters of Tacoma.

Some of the arguments against allowing the people to vote were:

n More cost.

There is a way to compare the cost by looking to the city most like Tacoma. Spokane switched from council manager to mayor/council/CAO form and spends thousands of dollars less than does our city on government administration.

n The present form of government is the most efficient.

However, the county switched to elected executive and, during the recent recession, it stayed fiscally healthy, while the city teetered on the brink of bankruptcy.

n Too many measures on the ballot might confuse voters.

Ridiculous. The voters have collective intelligence to make these decisions.

Council members should rethink their positions. Let the people vote.

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