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Who’s Funding Who in Skagit County Races? Follow the Money

As we open our ballots and ponder who should get our valuable vote we should spend a bit of time exploring a free resource at our fingertips, the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) website https://www.pdc.wa.gov/. The PDC is a state agency that houses the information candidates and political committees are required to report about donations to their campaigns and how they have spent the funds.

What does affordable housing mean in Skagit? And will more market-rate, single-family homes meet the need?

Clearly, everyone has to be able to “afford” a house or apartment in order to buy or rent housing. However, obtaining housing is not a problem for everyone. When your wealth or income is high enough, the amount you spend on housing is a matter of choice. It is unlikely that there is a house in Skagit County that Bill Gates can’t afford, for example.

Public Records Requests to Skagit County yield blackout and then deluge of irrelevant data

In 2019, Home Rule Skagit, a local organization working for transparency, accountability, and broader representation in Skagit County government made Public Records Requests to look at particular County records related to the campaign they had conducted in 2018. In response to their first request, the 732 documents received from Skagit County Public Information Officer Cori Russell were almost completely blacked out, sometimes including the dates. In response to a second request, 7.128 gigabytes of information were turned over having little to do with the materials requested. What is going on?

A Missed Opportunity

When elected leaders choose to avoid transparency and deny citizen involvement, we need to ask why. An important recent example illustrates this too familiar pattern in Skagit County government. This year, the crucial job of County Administrator was filled without the opportunity for residents to hear from the candidates, learn about them, or share with our County Commissioners ideas about a position that affects us all. We’re once again left with the impression that the Commissioners prefer the people of Skagit County just quietly pay their county taxes and then show no interest in government. Why is the County Administrator position important to all Skagit residents? Read on.