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County Council

Critic backwards on Somers' job

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A recent letter attacking Snohomish County Councilmember Dave Somers for not helping a constituent develop an RV park, may demonstrate a common misunderstanding of official roles. ("Don't re-elect elusive Somers"). It would have been unethical for Mr. Somers to aid a private project because that is not his job. A councilmember's role is to consider policy and legislate county code. I have found his door always open for that. We are fortunate that our current council maintains a high level of ethics and does not engage in backroom deals with developers, large, small or cronied.
An RV park likely requires a conditional use permit, which requires a public process with final approval before the whole council. Councilmembers are loath to get involved in individual projects, since they are ethically bound to then recuse themselves (i.e. sit out) when the final vote comes up before them.
The writer described an effective effort of garnering allies with the chamber, etc., however the appropriate place for them was not with Dave Somers, but the County Executive, who is responsible for administering the policies reviewed by council. If a persuasive case is made, the executive might also assist with legislative proposals that those allies could help represent to the entire council (not just Mr. Somers) for consideration.
Griping of this type is actually reassuring, proving Mr. Somers to be an upstanding councilmember.
Laura Hartman

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