New group challenges Respect Asotin County's home rule proposition

CLARKSTON, WA - Respect Asotin County, a group that placed Proposition One on the November ballot, is responding to recent political events that could threaten their ability to implement home rule.

Respect Asotin County is in its second year of trying to get Home Rule and initiative-referendum rights for its citizens. After successfully obtaining enough signatures earlier this year, members of the group were able to place Proposition One on the ballot. If citizens vote yes for the proposition this November, elected freeholders will be established to draft a county charter. The charter would essentially be a written set of guidelines by which the county government must abide by. It would also give citizens the right to initiative and referendum rights.

For members of Respect Asotin County, Tuesday night's public meeting was another important stepping stone mere months before the election. While it was only an informational question and answer session, getting their message understood by the public is something that's imperative according to group members because of recent events.

"In my personal opinion it's sabotage," said Asotin County resident Rick Larson. "Why would they wait until now? Fifty-forty days before the election?"

What Larson is referring to is the newly formed group, Citizens for Better Government. The group proposes a similar plan to what Respect Asotin County has done. Get a proposition on the ballot that would elect freeholders to draft a charter. The difference is that Citizens For Better Government want a charter that would eliminate the three separate governments of the City of Clarkston, City of Asotin and Asotin County and create one unified city-county government.

"Someone needs to have one of them come out in the public and explain why they waited," said Larson. "And get it cleared so the citizens of Asotin County have something to draw off of and make a decision."

Other group members like freeholder candidate Rebecca Nourse even said Citizens For Better Government members are trying to get elected as Proposition One freeholders to sabotage the Respect Asotin County Charter.

"Somebody mentioned you know, what about these saboteurs because I know a couple people who signed up for the 43, and I wouldn't vote, well I'm not going to vote for them," said Nourse.

When asked if co-chair Rick Rogers would try to keep Respect Asotin County going if the proposition is voted down, he and other members said no.

"The voters have had the opportunity to watch this whole process for two years," said Roger. "If the voters vote it down at this point then the voters will have spoken and that's all we've been after from the very beginning."

Rogers and his fellow members of Respect Asotin County, hope that it doesn't come down to that.

There was a meeting Wednesday night for the Citizens for Better Government at 6:30 p.m. at the Asotin County Library.

Respect Asotin County will meet again on October 18th, 7 p.m. at the Grange Hall in the Clarkston Heights.