Houghton Community Council Meet Your Maker: State Legislature Pulls the Plug with HB 2610 (Poll)

Ralph, you have kids, right? Don’t you hate it when they use your own words to try and outsmart you?

One of my kids failed a math mid-term and I didn’t hear about it until I got their report card. Made me so angry, I said “no more surprises!”. Then guess what, younger sibling fails the history final because they blew it off and didn’t study. Tells me about it the next day and doesn’t understand why I’m upset. Told me about it right away, so what’s the problem? I turned that situation around tout suite and now they’re both honor students.

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Apparently our state legislators are just like kids. They heard how angry people were when HB1812 dropped last year and it passed the House without any notice to the affected Houghton property owners. They got friends to sponsor that bill so that it would further distance themselves from what they knew damn well would be unpopular. People organized, petitioned and showed up in Olympia and as a result, the bill stalled in committee.

Like a young child though, these legislators only heard part of the message from citizens. We weren’t only ticked about the seeming backroom nature of HB1812, we felt violated, robbed of the promises that were made at the time of the merger. Ralph, I know you wanted to get rid of the Houghton Community Council but like I told you then, you have a really bad case of Houghton envy.

As it is now, the Houghton Community Corporation’s continued existence comes up every 4 years to be voted up or down by Houghton voters. HB1812 would have subjected the HCC to an up or down vote by all of Kirkland. Our Reps got the word that we didn’t like that idea so they’ve taken the power into their own hands. Now they’ve dropped HB2610 which would end the HCC entirely in January 2014. Guess which Kirkland citizens get to vote on that? Only our elected legislators plus their friends, oops I mean counterparts, from around the State of Washington.

With kids, you expect them to push the envelope. When electeds take their power too seriously, it’s hubris and arrogance. We’re committed to our kids no matter what - but we’re not stuck with our electeds!

Mayor McBride says that “a promise is a promise” and she’s absolutely right. What good is a promise if it can be negated by the actions of legislators? This is more than the breaking of a promise, it’s a breach of a contract that was a must-do in order to effect the merger. I see a nasty trend here – let’s get cities to do what they need, be it mergers or annexations, make promises, and then take them away. That may be how Lucy plays football with Charlie Brown, but it’s not any way to instill or preserve trust in government.

So Ralph, just like I did with my kids, I’m going to spell this out for our Reps. Springer, Eddy, Goodman and any other elected who even thinks of voting “yes” on this one. Yes, you made me very angry when you didn’t share the bad news right away but that didn’t mean that I wasn’t upset with the action itself. Since you seem to need it crystal clear, here’s my message to you -

To our legislators: You have important work to do. Our state is in a fiscal crisis. Kirkland’s annexation tax credit dollars are at risk with potentially devastating consequences to the City. People are lining up around bills this session for marriage equality, state income tax, education, health care, you name it. Why on earth are you wasting your precious time – no, make that our precious time - on this bill that our own City Council has not taken a position on - and the affected citizens don’t want enacted? What part of “a promise is a promise” do you not understand? Take that darn HB2610, put it in the shredder, get some humility and honor Kirkland citizens by doing the work that we elected you to do!

What say you, dearest Ralphie? Please tell me that even you are fed up with this latest power grab.

Kindest regards,

Gladys

Dear Gladys,

Your analogies are so off base I can hardly stand it! Yeah, your kids are both honor students. So what? Does that fact somehow strengthen your elitist arguments? Perhaps in your world, but not in mine.

You must have majored in ancient history because the law establishing the Houghton Community Council is old and obsolete. There is a reason there are only two community corporations left in the State of Washington -- they are from a different era. Can you spell democracy? I know you can. How come the Houghtonites are entitled to two votes in Kirkland? They get to vote for the City Council and they also get to vote for their own Houghton Community Council. That sounds right up your elitist alley.

There is no equity for the rest of Kirkland while this atrocious law is allowed to exist.

You say current law also gives the Houghtonites total say in whether to continue their council. Duh! As if anyone in their right minds would willingly give up such a benefit? It is wrong for Houghton to have special rights not granted to every other neighborhood in Kirkland.

As for your equally silly comments on our legislators, I have this to say: It is about time they stood up and did the right thing instead of referring everything to the voters. They are hired to represent us and to know the issues inside and out. That is why we pay them the big bucks. State legislators made this law, now they should abolish it.

Your inane comments on "a promise is a promise" are equally uninformed. It wasn’t that long ago when [edited for content - Admin] some in our society were denied the right to vote. Fortunately for America, the United States Supreme Court overturned those unjust laws. Equality for all. Ever head of one man, one vote? It’s a good idea… unless you live in Kirkland!

Now is the time for our legislature to step up and do the right thing: end this outrageous inequity in the fair city of Kirkland.

Gladys you are dead wrong on this one. The Houghton Community Council should have been subject to a sunset provision decades ago.

This time, Gladys, you really do find yourself on the wrong side of history.

Disgustedly yours,

Ralph