Here’s a response to the Puyallup Herald’s editorial on how Puyallup selects its’ mayor and its’ current Mayor. The editorial’s text is left in normal font, the rebuttal comments are bolded, italicized and in quotes.
“Puyallup residents should have power to elect mayor”
For anyone out there who follows Puyallup City Council politics, you’re probably well aware that Councilmember Rick Hansen was appointed Puyallup City Mayor by Councilmember John Knutsen.
“Whoa, first of all: Whoever wrote this editorial clearly does not follow Puyallup politics, nor do they know the city council’s rules for selecting the mayor although they were explained clearly at the meeting. The mayor is not appointed by another councilmember, it goes to the councilmember who has the most continuous years of service without being mayor. If that councilmember declines, it goes to the next councilmember that fits that criteria. John Knutsen was next in line, he declined. Rick Hansen was next, he accepted. The council then voted to “approve” Rick Hansen as mayor, which passed 6-0, with Kent Boyle abstaining for some reason. So, no, John Knutsen did not appoint Rick Hansen.”
And then mere seconds later, Councilmember John Hopkins made the motion to appoint Knutsen as Deputy Mayor.
“True. But what’s wrong with that? The Deputy Mayor position is open to any councilmember. It makes logical sense to elect someone who has experience on the council, leaving Knutsen or Boyle as logical options. Knutsen has been on the council for two more years than Boyle, so we don’t see the harm in picking Knutsen. Boyle would have been fine, too.”
Within the first 10 minutes of the Jan. 3 council meeting, the stage was set and the stars of the show were Hansen and Knutsen.
“Or, instead of the “stars of the show” they are the Mayor and Deputy Mayor. Seems like the Herald is upset that these two are in those positions.”
The whole process of appointing Hansen and Knutsen appeared very forced and obviously scripted. Suffice to say, it was a highly stylized production from beginning to end.
“Well, I’m sure Hansen was well aware that Knutsen was going to turn down the position, but he needed to be aware because he had to decide if he wanted to accept the position. And, of course it was forced!!! The council rules require that it be forced, they spell out the process very clearly!”
The best part of the meeting came at the end when Councilmembers Kent Boyle and Tom Swanson agreed that new direction should be taken on how to elect future mayors. They believe, as does The Herald, that future mayors should be elected by the people for the people.
“Why? The mayor for the City of Puyallup is a ceremonial position. The Mayor runs the council meetings, represents the City at various events, and helps the City Manager set the council agendas. The Mayor does not hold anymore power than any other councilmember. If, someday it was to become a position elected by the people that opens up a box of questions. Does the mayor become a strong mayor, therefore eliminating the city manager position? Which council seat would be chosen to be the mayor’s seat? What happens if the elected mayor passes away? Do we appoint a new mayor who has all this power, but would then never be elected by the people?”
In this way, politically driven motives will be removed from the table.
“Once again, this process is driven by the council rules. There are no political moves to make here. If the Herald listened closely to Mr. Yamamoto’s explanation of the rules this editorial would have never been written”