Public participation in local government is an established and important part of good governance. It ensures that our elected officials serve the public — not special interests and self-interest. And yet, our county council has proven once and for all that the interests of their constituents are of no importance when they decided to ignore mountains of public comment over the last several months, especially May 11, and approve a gerrymandered redistricting map.
The effect is an erosion of trust and public participation in county government. After all, why take the time to educate oneself on what the county is doing, take the time to show up to and speak at county meetings, if they clearly do not care what the public thinks?
This is going to be especially damaging because the county is about to launch into the yearslong comprehensive planning process. Required by the Growth Management Act, this process will lay out how and where and what kind of growth the county and cities will have for the next 20 years. Decisions made during this process will affect all of us for years to come. We must continue to engage with our public officials and communicate our views.