If at first you don't succeed, try again
voters will get the chance to topple city hall and replace
the current city government with new council members and
an elected mayor.
County auditor Shirley Forslof found the petition submitted by the We Love Blaine committee last week had enough signatures to qualify for the next ballot, anticipated to be the September primary election.
To qualify for the ballot, the petition needed to be signed by ten percent of the 1093 voters who turned out for the last municipal election, according to county elections representative Ethel Heyrend. Of the 130 signatures submitted, 114 were certified as those of registered Blaine voters, four above the 110 needed. Blaine city council is now required to set the election date, which is on the agenda for their July 16 meeting.
Jim Anderson, chairman of the We Love Blaine committee which is championing the change of government, said they have gotten positive community feedback since they submitted the petition. They dont believe things are being handled properly right now, he said. They have no leadership to get us going in the right direction.
Anderson said the primary reason a change is needed is citizen representation. It isnt fair that the chief decision maker in our community is not directly accountable to us, he said. He also said an elected mayor would present a more favorable business climate. Look at Ferndale its thriving. We need more dollars circulating in this community and coming into this community. Voters interested in working with the committee can reach Anderson at 332-1062 or visit www.weloveblaine.com.
Should voters approve the proposed change of government, all city council positions would be up for election in November, and voters would also choose their mayor. Anderson said he intends to run for council in ward 2 whether the measure is successful or not, and others are also ready to announce their candidacy should it pass. The cream is going to come to the top, he said.
Blaine mayor Dieter Schugt only has the title as chairman of city council. He thinks the cream of the crop is already running city hall, and changing the form of government would mean a costly disruption with only a cosmetic benefit to Blaines citizens.
We have an excellent staff and an excellent city manager doing a real team effort and getting things done, taking important steps, he said. An elected mayor can be quite dictatorial, Schugt said. For four years someone can drive the city into the ground before you can do anything about it. A city manager needs the backing of city council, who can terminate him anytime.
The Know the Best for Blaine committee, through which community members rallied and successfully defeated an identical ballot measure to change the citys form of government in 1999, is being reactivated to fight this latest challenge to the existing council/city manager form of government. John Choulochas, one of the committees organizers, can be reached at 371-7631.