Politics & Government

Election Views: Charter commission candidates Barbara Ryan, Matt Weeda and Yvonne Goldsmith

District 1: Barbara Ryan

Why would anybody spend time and energy running for a public office that lasts six months and pays nothing?

After 12 years on the Bellingham City Council, I know how important a charter can be to the ability of a government to operate efficiently, openly and fairly. That’s why I’m running for the Charter Review Commission.

I believe our current county charter does a good job of making county government as functional as possible. It doesn’t need major changes.

I also believe that there are elements in our county who seek to change the charter for a variety of reasons. One element wants to go back to district-only voting, assuming that this might make it easier to elect candidates with narrower interests. Another element would like to give the county executive more power over decisions like the permit for the Gateway Pacific Terminal, rather than leaving that decision in the hands of the County Council. I disagree. Projects that will have significant impacts on the entire county should be approved by representatives of all elements of the community after a thorough, open public process.

In addition to my service on the Bellingham City Council, I have held management positions with Planned Parenthood of Delaware, a non-profit education advocacy organization at Boston University, the Lake Washington School District, and several other non-profits. My experience, and my master of science in administration degree, have taught me the importance of ground rules for making sure an organization can move forward smoothly. Our charter, the rules by which our county governs itself, is not broken. Let’s not fix it.

District 2: Matt Weeda

To the people of Whatcom County, primarily electors from my home district, District 2:

Abraham Lincoln once began a law lecture by saying, “I am not an accomplished lawyer.” Fellow citizens, I would like to begin in the same way, that is, I would like to begin by saying, I am not an accomplished politician, I am unknown to many of you. I seek, however, to serve you from a position on the Charter Review Commission for three reasons — reasons influenced by the seriousness I take in the home rule form of government established by the Whatcom County Board of Freeholders and approved by the voters of the county in 1978. I draw upon the preamble of our charter for my reasons. The preamble says:

“Treasuring the many wonders of our unique environment and realizing that the power and duty to govern and protect this region is inherent in its people, we, the citizens of Whatcom County, in order to have a government which advances justice, inspires confidence, and fosters responsibility, do adopt as the foundation of our government, this charter. (Amended by referendum 1995)”

Here are my three reasons for running: First, I know the place where I live and it is a place to be treasured. I know the people I propose to represent. They are good, hard-working, artful and intelligent people. Second, I value what I have here and what this place has to offer. I think wise people from here can govern and protect the valuables of this region. Third, I want to make my life useful here at home in this place, and be a force for good in county government.

I am a fourth-generation Weeda to treasure living in Whatcom County. My great-grandfather was a farmer in Lynden; my grandfather was employed at an Everson sawmill. My father worked in Bellingham, at Georgia Pacific and as a barber. I grew up in Laurel, went first to college in Wyoming and then to Trinity Western University, in Langley, B.C. I work as a machine operator in Lynden, and as a researcher and writer. The Judeo-Christian faith guides my life. I’m thankful for my heritage, education and freedoms. My wife and I cherish our home in Lynden, our family and our friends throughout the county.

It is my hope that District 2 will be inspired to elect me to the commission, that I may work under God’s headship to uphold order, liberty and peace for all citizens of Whatcom County.

District 3: Yvonne Goldsmith

We all know elections have real consequences on our personal lives.

The charter review determines everything from what basic rights and values we hold as important in Whatcom County, to how our elections should be conducted. The election of this small board will influence every other election in Whatcom County for years to come, which is why it is imperative that we elect leaders who are committed to fair and equitable representation. I am running for a seat on the 15-member Whatcom County Charter Review Commission in District 3. You will be able to vote for five candidates in District 3.

The Charter Review Commission has the authority to bring ballot measures to a vote of the people. The stakes are high and the candidates running for the Charter Review Commission have very different views on many issues, such as … whether to protect property rights granted by the constitution, and whether to allow “at large elections” among Whatcom County districts …. Essentially whether voters in our district have a right to fair and equitable representation in county government or whether political posturing will allow one district to monopolize. These are huge, fundamental issues of great importance.

I will be your consistent, conservative voice. I will listen to your concerns and strive to be fair-minded. I will research issues and options thoroughly.

I have served you on the past two charter Rrviews and I want to be your voice once again.

Currently on Ferndale Planning Commission and past City Council member and Mayor.

Where do i stand?

I will fight for fair and equitable representation for all Whatcom residents from each district.

I will encourage citizens like you to be involved, and will listen to and represent your concerns on the Charter Review Commission.

I will respect and uphold the U.S. and Washington State Constitution.

Together we can make a difference and win this election.

I hope you will agree with me that this is a very critical local election. If you have any questions about the Charter Review Commission or about my candidacy, you are welcome to contact me at voteyvonnecharterreview@gmail.com.