Over the past few weeks I have read several misleading letters regarding November’s Proposition 1 to change our form of government in Black Diamond. Our City Council voted to place this issue on the ballot in response to citizens who are frustrated with the direction the city has taken over the past several years.
Black Diamond direly needs a city manager to run the day-to-day operations of our growing city. A “yes” vote by us changes our government to a council-manager form, just like our sister cities of Maple Valley and Covington. Our City Council then hires a qualified, experienced city manager, who reports directly to the council.
Last November we overwhelmingly elected (about 75 percent vs. about 25 percent) new city council members to help correct our course, which has strayed dangerously from the needs of our citizens to the convenience of the developer. Although YarrowBay and its massive proposed 6,000-home Master Planned Developments won’t go away, we do need to ensure everything is properly mitigated and no costs fall on the existing residents: growth must pay for growth. I don’t want my taxes going up to add to the profits of YarrowBay and I don’t want the frustrating traffic we now face to grind to a complete halt.
The “no” side tries to spout scare tactics. One is that “we would lose the right to vote for mayor.” Actually, we will still have a mayor. The current mayor joins the city council as a sixth member. The council appoints a seventh member and this council selects a mayor from among its ranks for official functions. This mayor does not control city administration and has no powers except those other city council members have. The city administration is run by the city manager, who reports to the entire city council, not just the mayor.
Another deceptive “no” argument is that “we would lose our checks and balances.” But we don’t have checks and balances now. Under our present form of government, the mayor has most of the power by completely controlling all city departments. Presently there are few checks on the mayor and this isn’t very balanced.
To my fellow Black Diamond neighbors, please learn more before you vote. Ask questions. Go to www.voteyesblackdiamondprop1.org/Pages/default.aspx to find out more about the issues. I believe once you do, you will come to the same decision I and so many others have – to vote “yes” on Proposition 1.
Carol Lynn Harp