It seems to me that Whatcom County voters generally favor left-leaning candidates. This is evidenced by countywide majorities for Obama, Cantwell, Larsen, Inslee, Owen and a host of other Democrats in 2012. Only in narrower three-district voting, the legacy of Republican redistricting following the 2010 census, did conservatives enjoy any success. When given the opportunity, Whatcom County voters tend to lean left. We might think of it as “liberal lite.” Our current County Council, with its progressive majority, reflects this fact. They were elected through district-wide voting. All things considered, it’s just who we are: a bit to the left, fair-minded, a touch of caution thrown in.
Our Charter Review Commission, I believe disproportionately represented by the far-right following some nifty manipulations of district boundaries, is aware of our tendency. They don’t like it. Ignoring public outcry, they intend to place district-only voting on the ballot in an effort to assure a far-right county council for — oh — maybe forever if they have their way with us. It is vital that the 86 percent of us who voted in the 2012 general election resist what I believe to be this grab for permanent power. Our County Council should reflect our county character. No better reminder of the stakes involved is the constant rumble of coal trains and the threat of a terminal at Cherry Point in this wonderful landscape we inhabit.