a few observations on Baarsma for change and Moss for status quo

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“Here is a further report on former Tacoma Mayor Bill Baarsma's/current Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland's manipulations in the aftermath of the Brame murder/suicide scandal.
 
Former Tacoma Mayor Bill Baarsma used the Brame murder/suicide in 2003 as a pretext to get the (then) City Council to appoint a Charter Review Committee (CRC) to try to place a strong mayor form of government on the ballot.
 
The reason the City Council wanted an appointed committee was so the committee would act as a front to place proposals that the City Council wanted on the ballot. If the citizens of Tacoma voted yes on the proposals the Council would have what they wanted. If the citizens voted no, the Council could say "Hey, it was all the committee's idea."
 
The (then) Council got the  appointed Charter Review Committee to place a Charter Amendment on the ballot that would say that the City Council would have to appoint a new Charter Review Committee every ten years. (The former City Council and the current City Council could have chosen to make the Charter Review Committee elected like the Pierce County Charter Review Committee is, but then they would have lost the ability to control what issues would be voted on by the public.)
 
The current City Council appointed a majority of pro-strong mayor form of government cronies to the current Charter Review Committee because a) they are in favor of gaining more political power for themselves and b) they do not want to be truthful with the public about this.
 
The Tacoma City Council has the legal power to place a Charter Amendment proposal on the ballot anytime it wants to without a Charter Review Committee (appointed or elected). This means that the City Charter is up for Review by the City Council 365 days a year.
 
The Tacoma City Council hoodwinked the voting public into giving the City Council a battering ram every ten years to try to keep getting the voters to approve a change in the City government from a Council/City Manager form of government to a Strong Mayor form of government. (This really isn't about better more responsible government. This is about more power for dishonest politicians who do not want to take responsibility for their power games.)” --Tacoma historian and political observer Will Baker  

Seventy five Charter Review meeting later and lo and behold the committee Chair, former Mayor Bill Baarsma, is about to recommend to the Council of None to put a change of government charter amendment on this fall’s ballot.

But all is not a Walt Disney movie in Queen Strickland’s court. By appointing her trusted jester, er advisor Baarsma to chair the CRC he has now alienated the public and her other court jester, er advisor former Tacoma Mayor Harold Moss. The same Moss who was instrumental in getting Strickland elected.

In a feeble attempt to placate, Baarsma wrote in The New Tribune, “I would like to express my apologies for some spur-of-the-moment and ill-considered observations I made about testimony given at the second public hearing of the Charter Review Committee. Those observations do not in any way reflect the views of the committee or the consideration given by every committee member to public commentary about the city charter”.

Moss in The News Tribune countered with, “Corruption is not how large or how small the act of deception was; it is about the betrayal of the trust of the people who placed their trust in you.

Tacoma’s Charter Review Committee now has the stain of being disingenuous in its charge of review and recommendation to the City Council by leading the citizens into believing that their input had value. According to the open-mike session after the hearing, the people who testified in favor of keeping the present council-manager form of government don’t matter anyway”.

As New Takhoman contributor Ishmael put it, “Baarsma was trying to blow the smell off the remarks made by the charter review committee after they thought the microphone was off. Like all politicians, he said all the right things and was ever so sorry for any negative remarks. The remarks seem to unanimously indicate that members of the public - all of them - are unworthy of having opinions about their own governance. However, I have to believe that the real opinion of the former mayor and other members of the committee is what they said when they thought no one was listening - not what they are saying after their derisive remarks were recorded for the public. 

Naturally, the members will spin their remarks to be more acceptable after the fact.  I believe it was Senator Estes Kefauver who said 'when I feel the heat, I see the light’.

As noted by former Mayor Moss, Strickland should disband this committee which apparently had made its decision before it ever was seated, and appoint another review committee. This new committee should not be hand-picked to deliver a recommendation of 'strong mayor/ council.'  The recommendation might still be "strong mayor," but, if so, that should only be if the members - with actual public input, this time - believe this to be the right form of government for Tacoma.”

After Tuesday’s City Council Study session it appears Queen Marilyn will be sticking with Baarsma and putting Moss and company on the back burner to continue to do a slow burn.

But not to worry Dear Readers it’s still a long walk to Election Day. As Councilman Robert Thoms said “We (as a council) don’t have to put anything on the ballot”. 




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