The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Town council recall conclusions


September 19, 2019

Town council recall conclusions

To The Eagle:

Recently the Concerned Citizens of Cathlamet (CCC) petitioned to have Dale Jacobson, Ryan Smith, Jean Burnham and Sue Cameron recalled from their Town of Cathlamet positions. CCC is comprised of a dozen or so local residents that are mostly prominent community members. We had seen enough of these four people’s actions (and lack of) that we felt changes were needed. This recall has been a widely talked about issue and I won’t bother rehashing the circumstances behind the almost two year effort.

The Superior Court initially ruled against CCC’s recall petition and we felt strongly enough about the issues to challenge the lower court’s ruling. We appealed and it was heard at the State Supreme Court in Olympia.

Last week the Supreme Court finally ruled 6-3 that our petition didn’t (technically) meet the grounds for a recall. This is now a closed case for CCC. For those that have been following the proceedings though, it is interesting to note that the six judges that denied our appeal ruled that “public funds being wasted is insufficient evidence for showing unreasonable discretion.” In short, this is the equivalent to saying the mayor has the authority to buy dozens of pencils from a relative for $1,000 each if the Town needed pencils. Hmmmm.

It’s also noteworthy that one of the dissenting judges stated that paying an inflated purchase price for a desire to give someone a gift (in this case, buying Bernadette Goodrow’s Butler St property at an extremely overvalued price to help her financially) is a recallable allegation.

Regardless, it’s time to move on. We have been asked in the last few days though if we feel this recall process was worthwhile. Absolutely!

CCC had three objectives for the recall:

1) force council members Smith, Burnham and Cameron to either resign or be recalled,

2) force the mayor to resign or be recalled,

3) let the Cathlamet residents learn what’s happening with their tax dollars, and show the ineptitude and lack of overall accountability these four regularly display.

Point #1 - has successfully been achieved. These three incumbents have wisely chosen not to run again in November’s election.

Point #2 - hasn’t happened yet, but we’ll now have a new council that won’t be comprised of bobble heads that automatically comply with Mayor Jacobson’s wishes.

Point #3 - people come up to me at Maria’s, on Main St, and at the Marina, and thank us for what CCC is doing to help Cathlamet. I think everyone finally realized Cathlamet needed to “right the ship” before the Town could start moving forward.

Hopefully CCC’s actions, coupled with Laurel Waller, David Olson and the incoming council member’s input, will now allow Cathlamet to plan ahead, develop, and grow as the tax payers both want and need it to, fiscally and otherwise.

Bill Wainwright, on behalf of CCC



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