Proving once again, that the future belongs to those who show up, over 600 angry residents confronted King County’s Health Department staff at the final of four public hearings scheduled in the rural part of King County. This final hearing was organized in Fall City. The Citizens Alliance for Property Rights had reached out to many local members and rural residents who attended with a purpose. King County formally announced the county was dumping the Turd Tax for now (also called a “Septic Fee”). King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert also indicated that they were planning to lobby the Washington State Legislature to change the poorly written laws that created the excuse for King County staff to invent this Turd Tax in the first place.
After experiencing standing room only crowds at every previous hearing on this subject, King County wisely changed venues to the Snoqualmie Valley Alliance Church just outside Fall City. Despite being one of the largest venues in the area, overflow crowds packed the church with at least 500 people in the main room, a packed balcony, a filled hallway, and people crowding into every place they could fit. Speakers were turned on in the lobby so that those unable to enter the main room could still listen.
Attendees were parking along streets for a quarter mile in all directions and were trickling into the church for the first 30 minutes of the hearing. A major car accident on one of the main local roads also delayed or prevented people from reaching the public hearing.
The crowd was overwhelmingly opposed to the Turd Tax, and they were respectful but a little rowdy under the surface. Even in the tax paradise of King County, a Turd Tax clearly had riled up resentment by the largely rural population still using some of the 85,000 septic systems in the county. It was clearly not a go along to get along crowd.
Residents use public comment time to criticize King County anyway, which was fun
Which is probably why Kathy Lambert was so happy to announce the fact that King County had dumped the Turd Tax idea. This generated a lot of good will (towards her, but not so much the King County bureaucracy, judging from the later comments) and a resounding ovation in the church. While some people started to trickle home after this announcement, in order to enjoy the sunny evening – many people stayed to give their public testimony regardless. The air conditioning was clearly overloaded with the volume of people in the building, but many attendees used the opportunity to tell their fellow neighbors about how incompetent King County was and how angry they were at King County government.
These comments included gems like the fact King County habitually lied to residents about all kinds of things and that code enforcement was abusive. Repeated references to massive sewage leaks from wastewater treatment facilities in the Seattle metro area were discussed as scandals covered up by King County in order to grab more cash through the proposed “Turd Tax.” Repeatedly people told the audience that they should not trust King County and that ordinances like the Critical Areas Ordinance and other abusive regulations were being used to harass rural residents. King County was accused, repeatedly, of wasting the money they already get. King County also was accused of ignoring science, failing to read the law, using bad math (or no math), failing to answer simple questions, and lots of specific examples were reiterated of costly demands imposed by out-of-control bureaucrats.
Representative Chad Magendanz (currently running for the State Senate in the 5th District) was in the audience and also testified about how a lot of abusive state laws like the one used to justify the Turd Tax had been passed by the Democratic Majority when they controlled all branches of government, and that removing them is a priority. Most of these laws were giveaways to special interests (including local governments), but many of them passed under the radar. He pledged to help lead the fight. He had also helped organize a similar sized citizen town hall the week before in Ravensdale (where King County staff were given 2 minutes to speak for a change)
This was a victory for freedom and citizen engagement, but as many people stated, King County can’t be trusted. Citizens must take point on holding the bureaucrats accountable. We must support groups like the Citizens Alliance for Property Rights (CAPR) which has a full time citizen lobbyist to fight on these issues in Olympia.
One of my favorite quotes was from local Fall City resident Lance Keizer who was discussing how microbes work to break down waste and pollution:
“I don’t think we need more bureaucrats, but I think we do need more microbes…”
This generated applause and laughter. Here is what you can do to make a difference on this issue:
- Join Citizens Alliance for Property Rights. Click here to learn how to join. Click here to see their website (I am the Executive Director, so I am biased, however, I challenge anyone to find another group confronting government on these issues locally and in the state legislature like CAPR, and we are only growing). We are stronger organized in groups when we must confront abusive government than we can be on our own.
- Contact Kathy Lambert‘s office and thank her for opposing the Turd Tax, even when it seemed lonely to do so. Also contact Representative Chad Magendanz, and Senator Pam Roach and thank them for their help as well.
- If you live in King County – it still doesn’t hurt to send them more emails about how stupid the “Turd Tax” is. Go here for good measure and keep piling it on.
- If you don’t live in King County – contact your local county government and tell them you don’t want them to consider a Turd Tax either. If you live in Thurston County – contact them here and tell them their “Crap Tax” idea should be dumped as well.
- Never forget – the future is for those who show up. The ones who give up achieve nothing.
Thank you to everyone who showed up at these hearings over the last few weeks. You made the difference.
Our Constitution begins with the phrase “we the people.” It was the founder’s intent that government be created by the people, to serve the people. It wasn’t their intention for the people to serve the government. It was always intended that government which failed to serve the people should be “altered or abolished.” Until we return to the founder’s intent, we remain We the Governed…