Politics & Government

Election Views: Charter commission candidates Delaine Clizbe, Chet Dow, Jon Mutchler

District 1: Delaine Clizbe

My name is Delaine Clizbe and I am running for Whatcom County Charter Review Commission for District One. I moved to Bellingham to attend Western Washington University and like so many others just couldn’t leave after graduation. I obtained a bachelor of science in nutrition from WWU with a minor in chemistry. I have a variety of work experience: commercial fishing, home economist, childcare manager and licensed securities assistant. My degree, which was heavily science based, and my varied work experience have provided me with the critical thinking skills needed when considering changes to the charter. I would describe myself as: hardworking, fun loving and practical.

I am running for Charter Review Commission because our local government depends on people like you and me taking an active role in governing ourselves. In fact, our current charter highlights this by stating in the preamble that the duty to govern and protect this region is inherent in the people. I want to encourage participation in our county government by pushing for more elected positions within our county government and by shoring up the appointment process to citizen commissions.

Part of taking an active role in governing ourselves is the ability to elect representatives in our county government. Our county is set up as a representative government with the area divided up into districts. Each district is somewhat different and potentially has different needs. Currently, while each district has two council members representing them, those council members are elected by the entire county instead of by the residents of the district. I feel this is counter to good representative government. I will work for more equitable representation on our County Council.

Finally, an important part of a Charter Review Commissioner’s job is to listen to the citizens of their district. I look forward to hearing from folks from my district and discussing/planning what changes are needed and what needs to stay the same on our charter. I’ve started that conversation already on my Facebook page: facebook.com/delaineforcharterreview. Head on over there and join in the conversation! If elected, I will listen and consider each recommendation for changes to our county charter. I will evaluate each proposed change with two questions: Will it benefit citizens throughout Whatcom County; and is the change practical.

District 2: Chet Dow

I was born and raised in Whatcom County in Bellingham’s Cornwall Park neighborhood. My practical introduction to private enterprise and a strong work ethic began at a young age in our local strawberry fields, where we kids picked berries before that became a crime. Our family respects and values rural living and I would like to help preserve our heritage for future generations.

After graduating from Bellingham High, I worked my way through college, earnng my degree at San Jose State University. My successful private sector business career was in educational and professional publishing, with a focus on health care information. Others attributed my success in part to an ability to work well with others. I never “worked for” anyone, and my employees never “worked for” me – we always worked together as a team.

I’m asking for your vote to represent you on the Charter Review Commission because I believe the best government is one that is closest to the people. Our county Home Rule Charter was designed to enhance control of county affairs by the people of Whatcom County. It is not the King County Charter, and not the City of Bellingham Charter.

The commission’s role includes listening to and evaluating proposals for charter amendments, and examining unintended consequences before acting. Those potential changes that are found practical, apply common sense and will benefit citizens throughout our county are then recommended to the voters for their approval before becoming part of our local constitution.

In general, for more than 35 years and after three reviews, I believe our charter continues to serve us well and does not require major surgery. However, for the ideal of home rule to become reality, it is imperative that all of Whatcom County be fairly represented on our County Council, including our small cities and our rural community. The voices equally representing citizens from all regions of our diverse county are needed to shape policies that impact our families, jobs and quality of life. By giving voters the opportunity to decide whether they want to re-establish representation by district, the commission can accomplish this goal.

With your vote, I will do my best to represent you. On Nov. 4, please remember to vote Chet for charter in Council District 2.

District 3: Jon Mutchler

Jon Mutchler is a second term Ferndale City Council member, local pastor, professional pianist and member of the Ferndale Chamber of Commerce and Whatcom Old Settlers.

Only six of Washington’s 39 counties choose to self-govern using the home-charter rule. As one we’re required to review our charter (sort of our “constitution”) every 10 years using a 15-member elected commission. I desire to serve you on that commission and so I am running for the third district, which represents most of the western county including Lummi Island, Lummi Nation, Ferndale, Custer, Birch Bay, Blaine and Point Roberts.

My background, experience and values make me well-qualified to represent your concerns and interests on this one-year (2015) commission.

My wife (retired Ferndale teacher) and I have lived, worked and involved ourselves in three cities (Bellingham, Birch Bay/Blaine, Ferndale) that are part of the third district. We’ve been here over 30 years, built two homes, raised seven children and enjoyed successful careers here. We are both WWU graduates.

I bring to the commission the experiences of a 26-year pastor who has served families during their most joyous celebrations and grieved with them during their gravest losses. This is the environment where those joys and losses occur and with you I wish it to remain a safe, beautiful and opportunity-rich place.

I bring to the commission a life committed to children. Seven of our own plus hundreds of youth I’ve taught music to privately or through the Blaine Music Festival where I’m on faculty. I am fully committed to leaving a better future to the next generations.

I bring to the commission the experience of a consensus-building and seasoned council member that understands the challenging complexities facing us and is able to navigate the political world through win/win pathways.

I bring to the commission an uncompromising commitment to conserve and promote the best possible future for this unique and special place called Whatcom County: A place of great economic, cultural, educational and natural resources.

And I bring to the commission my enthusiastic love of our boundless outdoors, having participated in five Ski to Sea races, two Bellingham Bay Marathons, six Padden Triathlons, the Tour de Whatcom and countless hikes, runs, bike rides, skis and campouts in Whatcom County.

My foremost desire for this commission is to preserve the best future possible for all of us.

The spelling of Jon Mutchler's name was corrected Sept. 16, 2014.