The news that Snohomish County Sheriff Rick Bart may become U.S. marshal for Western Washington is good news for Bart but bad news for the County.
Bart rose through county law-enforcement ranks, then 12 years ago won election as sheriff. Term limits prevent him from seeking a fourth term.
He sought to run for county executive, but fell short as a fundraiser.
Now, he may leave the county he has served so well to become a federal lawman. His situation is like former County Auditor Bob Terwilliger, who took an administrative position with the Superior Court because he also couldn’t run for a fourth term.
Term limits keep voters from returning the same people year after year. But has King County suffered because it has elected prosecutor Norm Maleng six times or has the U.S. Senate suffered because West Virginia just elected Robert Byrd to a ninth six-year term?
The position that Bart might get is an appointed one, as are all law-enforcement positions at the federal, state and city levels. Why, then, do we elect county sheriffs?
Regional Transportation Commission needed
The state Senate has passed a bill to create a Regional Transportation Commission to govern both highway and transit projects in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties. It would consist of 11 members — eight elected and three appointed by the county executives.
It would deal with the complaints many of us have about the current Sound Transit and Regional Transportation Improvement District boards — that they are not accountable to taxpayers. This bill would-mean we would get to elect most of the people who decide where our transportation money goes.
Unfortunately, we won’t elect board members until a year after we vote this fall on a package of transportation improvements, but one senator assures me that it’s the fastest the new boar can be started.
Build a smaller Evergreen-Point Bridge
The Legislature is talking about building a larger Evergreen-Point Floating Bridge on Highway 520. I say build a smaller one, with lanes only for transit. Let one-person cars either drive around the lake or take ferries.
Don’t pass the buck on paid family leave
Gov. Christine Gregoire has suggested that if legislators pass the paid family leave bill, they refer it to voters for a final decision.
They shouldn’t. The legislators should either pass it or reject it, and Gregoire should either sign it or veto it. That’s why we elected them — to make decisions, not to pass the buck.
This is a representative democracy, not a direct democracy. Our representatives should do their jobs, not pass their tasks to us.
Evan Smith is the Enterprise Forum editor. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.