“And the state’s Open Public Meetings Act makes it clear that a majority of the council cannot share their voting intentions with each other, even if it’s through a third party, according to Nixon.”

And yet, no actual quote from the Open Public Meetings Act appears anywhere in this post. No explanation from Nixon is quoted, either; it’s just his opinion, we can agree with it or not.

(Note also that CM González’s vote was not necessary to repeal the EHT; the repeal already had six supporters.)


@2: There's a link to the law. You might want to read it. It states that a collective decision by a governing body must be made in the open.


@3: I read the law. That’s why I asked.

I notice you haven’t quoted from it either.

If even tallying of votes must always be conducted in public, no legislation will ever be passed.


So are Councilmembers prohibited from telling anyone (the mayor, a constituent, a reporter, any interested party...) about how they intend to vote prior to an actual vote taking place?

This feel more like someone was 'whipping votes' than a 'secret public meeting.'


@5 I agree


@4: So you read it but don’t understand it? I’m not sure how a quote from me will help your comprehension.


RCW 42.30.010
Legislative declaration.
The legislature finds and declares that all public commissions, boards, councils, committees, subcommittees, departments, divisions, offices, and all other public agencies of this state and subdivisions thereof exist to aid in the conduct of the people's business. It is the intent of this chapter that their actions be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly.

RCW 42.30.020
(3) "Action" means the transaction of the official business of a public agency by a governing body including but not limited to receipt of public testimony, deliberations, discussions, considerations, reviews, evaluations, and final actions. "Final action" means a collective positive or negative decision, or an actual vote by a majority of the members of a governing body when sitting as a body or entity, upon a motion, proposal, resolution, order, or ordinance.


Seems to me they saved us all a lot of money by not holding any sham public hearings or soliciting feedback about repeal since the writing was clearly on the wall already.


The Gonzalez text is pretty damning. The Johnson text seems that a staff member with a bunch of information (supplied from Durkan) relayed it all to his boss, who clearly hadn't solicited the information, and Johnson ignored it. If anything, it seems to show Johnson wanted no part of the scheme. It does imply that our mayor orchestrated and facilitated the backroom deal (due to "Did you get [the Deputy Mayor!] Mike Fong's message?"). It's certainly not "equally damning" towards Johnson (it seems exonerating if anything), but if you mean it's "equally damning" as evidence of backroom dealings, then yep, I'm with you.


It whipping votes is illegal, the law in unworkable and needs to be changed.

Why all the focus on the head tax repeal? How did it get passed in the first place with a unanimous vote? No whipping on that one???


@8: I like your belief that any deliberations took place. Referendum organizers collected ~2.5 times as many signatures needed — so many they ended their signature drive with a week to spare! The ONLY way to get that winning Referendum off the ballot was to repeal the law, and fast. All of our Council Members knew it. They didn’t even need to exchange Significant Glances with each other.

Keep on chasing shadows and telling each other just how right you are, if it makes you feel better. The EHT was repealed because the voters demanded it.


@14: The law says "and" not "or". Deliberations don't matter if their actions were not taken openly. Face it, some councilmembers broke the law. You believe that the ends justify their means, but that's not how it works.


@14 -- I don't know why you are jumping on 8. He was responding to 2, who wasn't clear about how the law was broken. It may have been silly and unnecessary to meet (or at least arrange the vote) in secret, but it sure looks like they broke the law.


@12 The legislation took over six months to get together, with numerous public meetings in which council members at first said they were not for it, but they outlined what needed to happen to make it workable. That all happened in public and then the legislation was passed.

That said this is all stupid. The council can and should have some conversations in private. This public meetings law is preposterous.


Pete Holmes has always been opposed to citizen participation in government. Remember when he filed a lawsuit trying to prevent Seattle voters from weighing in on the waterfront tunnel?


@4 - “If even tallying of votes must always be conducted in public, no legislation will ever be passed.”

Isn’t that literally how every federal law has been passed in the history of the United States?

Basically, the Stranger liked the head tax, you didn’t, and now you’re willing to argue against any transparency in government? It just goes to show there is no bald-faced contradiction too great for you! You have summitted the Everest of hypocrisy. Chapeau!


@15: “Deliberations don't matter if their actions were not taken openly.”

Please learn to read. I didn’t say the deliberations weren’t open, I said they never happened at all. There was no debate over what the Council would do, there was just the mechanics of tallying their votes. That’s why The Stranger keeps chasing shadows and waving around every piece of “evidence” it can find — except, of course, the clear evidence the Council bent to the will of the voters. That evidence is not allowed here.

This is a very cynical attempt to misuse public transparency laws to declare illegitimate the Council’s having quickly obeyed the will of the voters. If there was evidence of Amazon trying to buy votes, then bring on the prosecutors. But that’s just a fairy tale the EHT’s supporters tell themselves to salve their gaping wound, left by their swift defeat at the hands of actual voters.

@15, @19: The only way you can make vote-tallying illegal is to interpret this law to require that every last conversation between any two elected officials be recorded and archived. That’s utterly impractical, which would render the law unenforceable. That, in turn, would breed open contempt for transparency laws. Do you really want to go there, just so you can say you didn’t lose a fair fight?

You lost. Get over it.


What a silly story. The interpretations being afforded to the law would prevent constituents from meeting with a council member for the purpose of providing an independent evaluation of legislation and seeking commitment on a vote. The interpretation also ignores that the limitations in the law are not on an individual member, but instead on a governing body. Council members are entirely free to consult with their colleagues outside of public forums one on one to find out how they plan to vote and why. The law doesn't even come close to touching that ability.


@20 - I never voiced an opinion on the head tax, so I didn’t lose anything, hall monitor.

This isn’t a win or lose issue. Open meetings are a good thing, period. The scrutiny on how this decision was reached is valuable, regardless of the outcome.

I find @22’s argument much more persuasive - there was still public discussion, so the law was followed. I don’t know enough about the law to know if deliberation ahead of the meeting would constitute a violation, but at least mistral isn’t arguing the law isn’t the law.

So back to Point A, which was: you are as full of shit as always. You’ll argue any which way as long as it contradicts the Slog. What a waste of time.


@20: How did the council bend to the will of the voters? There was no vote. They bent to the will of paid signature gatherers and a bunch of well-funded, whining conservatives. I didn't lose, Democracy did.


Does anybody really think this is the first time? This is h
Just the first time they go caught. That said, you never go into legislative vote without knowing the outcome ahead of time.


The whole thing reeks. They were embarrassed about their original head-tax vote and wanted to reverse that as quietly as possible, so they did as much as they could secretly. None of them deserves to be where they are -- because of their original boneheaded vote, and because of the knowing secret dealings to reverse it. Same goes for Durkan. And remember when Durkan thanked Comcast in her acceptance speech? Wasn't that special?

People, can we think next time we vote for Council and Mayor? Progressive is fine, but how about some level-headed progressive centrists who understand how the world works? And btw, LGBT is also fine, but after Murray and now Durkan (and don't even get me started on Johanknecht), we should all realize it's not a qualification in and of itself... voting someone in simply because it feels good or makes a statement results in bad choices.


"That said, you never go into legislative vote without knowing the outcome ahead of time."
You can't come up with one valid reason for that. All you need to know is that each member feels they've done their due diligence to the point they're ready to vote. Then you let the chips fall where they may. Can always re-vote later if there's a consensus to do that.


@25: Right! The best democracy money can buy! What a town!


Both of the major parties do shady things, which is why I've been an independent for most of my life, but when democrats do it, there's always secrecy involved. As an import originally from New England, secrecy is the scariest and creepiest aspect of living in Washington.

All state and local governments have their secrets but the level of secrecy here reduces the local newspapers to weather forecasts, some (but not all) local happenings, and little else that hasn't already been printed in a bigger media source.

We shouldn't be surprised when the city council meets in secret, that's the way this state works as far as I can tell, and I've been watching since I moved here six years ago.


@31: That’s how the head tax was passed in the first place: every open-meeting was law followed, there were plenty of hearings held, but no actual debate, and finally a 9-0 vote to prove it was all a sham.

The Stranger and the head tax supporters just got mad when it all got thrown back at them by actual voters.

@24: When citizens are lining up to sign petitions, it matters not at all if the person holding the clipboard is paid, or a volunteer. You can cry about paid signature gathering all you want; collecting tens of thousands of signatures in such a short time showed how unpopular the head tax really was.

You lost. Get over it.


@26, I'm sure you're right. Council votes are so often unanimous or nearly so, that it's preposterous to think they all just got there independently.

Please wait...

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