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?

Candidate Eligibility – who is watching?

A recent problem with the Mount Vernon mayoral race has raised an important issue regarding how candidates file for office and who verifies their eligibility for that office. The issue is larger than this one election and we should all be informed.

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.

Consistent Governance 101

Recently, the Avalon Golf Course owners under the name, Skagit Partners, LLC, withdrew their proposal for a 1,000-unit residential development adjacent to the golf course. This is the third year in row that they have tried to propose this project. It was turned down in the first two years.

Why has Skagit County contracted out health services at its new jail to a for-profit company with a terrible track record?

In January 2018 Skagit County Commissioners signed an agreement with an outfit called Naphcare. Naphcare’s job, as laid out in a thirty-four page contract, is to provide comprehensive health care at the new jail. However, in a field known for bad actors – companies who provide for-profit medical care to correctional facilities – Naphcare stands out as one of the worst.

First Ever Public Report from a County Lobbyist

On May 30, 2019, for the first time in county history, a lobbyist contracted with Skagit County gave an on-camera report to the Board of Commissioners and members of the public about their lobbying efforts during the Washington State legislative session. How did this come about?