The 12 charter amendments Tacoma voters will see on their ballots this year were put there with serious thought, care and deliberation. They are there to give voters the opportunity to improve government so it is agile, more responsive and aligned with expectations that people have today, not the past.
All 12 are good policies worthy of consideration to improve accountability, increase transparency and help make Tacoma a better city. And while we may not completely agree on all of them, there are many reasons that these amendments are reasonable, responsible and will have positive impact impact on Tacoma.
Here are just four examples:
Yes for Amendment 2, because it’s time to update language in our charter to the 21st century so it is not discriminatory.
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Yes for Amendment 4, because an emergency ordinance should take effect immediately, not 48 hours after it passes. This antiquated rule defeats the purpose of responding to an emergency.
Yes for Amendment 6, because the city’s highest-paid public employee, whose salary and benefits exceed $350,000 a year, must be more accountable to voters. This is fair, reasonable and will improve transparency. Government should be for the people, by the people.
Yes for Amendment 8, because a robust democracy needs more, not fewer, qualified candidates for mayor. Term limits would stay intact for City Council members. Only those who run for mayor and win could serve more than two consecutive terms.
The misguided message that voters should just dismiss all 12 amendments without weighing both pros and cons is crass, cynical and presumes voters lack the judgment to evaluate each on its own merits.
Even The News Tribune and the Chamber of Commerce support some of the amendments. Just saying “no to all” is the laziest form of political argument and is contrary to the way our democracy works.
Tacoma is better than that. Please read the voters pamphlet statements and give all 12 charter amendments the careful consideration we know Tacomans have history of doing.
Marilyn Strickland is mayor of Tacoma. State Rep. Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, served as chairwoman of the 2004 Charter Review Committee.