Not content with just giving us advisory votes, the ballot has seven Charter Amendments (changes to the King County Charter, our operating system) and a Bond Proposition. These are the nuts and bolts of local government, and while I mock the Advisory Votes, these have real weight. Five of the Amendments are pretty tame (And don't even have people arguing against them in the Voter's Guide), but two are doozies.
Charter Amendment No 1 - Inquests - Yes
Charter Amendment No 2 - Disposition of Real Property for Affordable Housing- Yes
Charter Amendment No.3 - References to Citizens - Yes
Charter Amendment No. 4 - Office of Law Enforcement Oversight - Subpoena Authority - Yes
Charter Amendment No. 5 - Making the King County Sheriff an Appointed Position - No
Charter Amendment No. 6 - Structure and Duties of the Department of Public Safety - Yes
Charter Amendment No. 7 - Prohibiting Descrimination on the Basis of Family Caregiver, Military, or Veteran Status - Yes
Proposition No. 1
Harborview Medical Center Health and Safety Improvement Bonds - Approved.
Charter Amendment No. 1 - We have to have a inquest if the police are involved in someone's death. We have to make sure the deceased's family has adequate representation. What, we don't have that already? - Yes
Charter Amendment No. 2 - Remove restrictions on letting the county sell real estate for less than fair market value IF the property will be used for affordable housing. - I can see how this might be gamed, and needs proper oversight, but Yes.
Charter Amendment No 3 - Change to replace the word Citizen" in the preamble with "public", "member of the public", or "resident". - OK, that makes sense. Yes.
Charter Amendment No. 4 - Lets the Office of Law Enforcement Oversight (OLEO) Subpoena people in investigations - Sure.
Charter Amendment No. 5 - Making the King County Sheriff an Appointed Position - No. Here's where I break with the other amendments. I don't think we are well-served by going back to an appointed position, as an elected position tends to make the position a) local and b) more responsive to the citizens./public/residents than one whose primary task it keep the Council happy. King County has bounced back and forth on this a couple times - Elected until 1968, then appointed until 1996, and now elected again. Both have strengths and weaknesses. One weakness of the current system is when the current Sheriff retires/leaves mid-term, their replacement then runs as an incumbent, which sort of defeats the entire idea of fresh elections (and happens a LOT). But I don't think the appointed position has done us any great favors in the past, so this may not be the solution people are looking for.
Charter Amendment No. 6 - Changes to the Structure and Duties of the Department of Public Safety. On the other hand, I am good with the County Council setting up the structure of the Department of Public Safety. I am not a fan of defunding the police - if anything, they need more training and applicable resources, but a good solid re-org would be to everyone's advantage - sending non-police matters to other agencies, for example, as opposed to piling it on other police responsibilities - So, Yes.
Charter Amendment No,. 7 Prohibiting Discrimination on the Basis of Family Caregiver, Military or Veteran status. The county can't discriminate against people who are in the above categories, even they were discharged from the military for being gay. Again, we don't have this already? Yeah.
And finally -
Proposition No. 1 - Harborview Medical Center Health and Safety Improvement Bonds. Yep, we're in a pandemic. Approved.