Trying to help local businesses leads to a lesson in government apathy.
Last night my wife and I attended a City Council meeting. A small group of us are trying to get the council to do something to save our businesses. What follows is my synopsis of the whole process from beginning to end. It is just a snapshot of one small city and it’s process. But I believe it paints a big picture as to the problems we all face in this country. I hope it helps you in your journeys wherever you are. If this picture is similar in your community then the mountain we have to climb to restore this Republic is greater than we could have imagined. That being said we know that through faith all things are possible.
Ferry County is 2,257 square miles of mountainous highlands, located on the Canadian border in the Eastern part of Washington State. In the 2010 Census the population was 7,551. The Southern half of the county is the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation ,and this comprises about half of the counties population. The county seat is Republic, which had a population of 1073, in the 2010 Census.
Like many rural communities, in Democratic controlled states, our area has greatly suffered over the past decade, due to restrictive legislation. The representatives from liberal cities, who have no consideration or understanding of the reality in rural areas, dominate the government. Their oppressive laws have strangled our communities. Over the past decade the mines have closed, the mill has closed, timber harvesting has dramatically decreased, and there is no major industry left to support the once economically thriving area. Tourism had supported the remaining local small businesses. After the events of this year, the local economic reality is dire.
The Pamphlet is distributed freely to some local businesses that support liberty and that choose to support a historical publication about our Nations History. I speak to the owners often and have watched as their situation has grown more dire. Governor Jay Inslee passed mandate after mandate without consideration to the social and economic impact that they would have. Many of the business owners do not think they are going to make it through the winter, especially now that another round of edicts have come from the governors mansion. The increased restrictions on our county are applied unilaterally throughout the state and have no bearing of the reality on the ground here.
Historically, the county votes about 70% Republican to 30% Democrat. That can fluctuate by around 5% depending on voter turn out. Like most communities, the left leaning individuals tend to live within city limits and the independent and right leaning voters tend to live outside the jurisdiction of the city. The County has made some improvements on posting their meeting agendas and minutes after the fact, but still has a long way to go to post meetings in a reasonable time frame. This would allow concerned citizens time to alter their schedules to attend on important subjects. The City of Republic however, does not post their meetings in advance on their website and there is no public calendar to show any such events or minutes, that I could find. Their lack of transparency to the general public and lack of meeting notification, does little to encourage turnout.
City Council Meeting
Last week I learned that the City of Mossyrock, in Lewis County, had passed an ordinance to uphold their unalienable rights. They cite the Declaration of Independence, United States Constitution, and Washington State Constitution. The ordinance nullified the governors mandates within the city limits, and allowed their businesses to operate. A colleague of mine who helps to promote the ideas that we talk about in The Pamphlet, and is a valiant supporter of the publication, came to me shortly afterwards with the idea that we approach the Republic City Council with the opportunity to pass a similar resolution. We both knew the situation of the businesses in town, and saw this as an opportunity to provide a lifeline to them.
He utilized his contacts in the City Council to pitch the idea. The one member that had been supportive of 2nd Amendment rights in the past, was not willing to openly support the idea, due to her being outnumbered by those who lean to the left, that are on the council. My colleague decided that he would introduce the resolution by himself, as a city resident, and asked me to speak on his behalf. Typically, the council does not listen to those who do not reside within the city, so I was not sure that they would allow me to speak, as they did not allow me to speak previously in the year.
We received notification on Saturday the 5th, that there would be a council meeting on the 7th. We were also informed that this would not be on the agenda, and that if they had time they would talk to us. I created a flier and had them distributed to the local business and in online social media communities. Notably ,a group moderator, banned The Pamphlet from posting anything further, declaring that we were stirring things up about mask mandates. Note ,nothing in our flier address mask mandates. The action was simply to ensure that local control of any decisions during this economic emergency was instituted. We simply wanted to save our remaining businesses. Haters of liberty are everywhere now, people hear what they want to hear.
Our colleague lobbied the city council repeatedly, and managed to get a time slot where we would be able to address the council. He emailed the Mossyrock documents to the city council, which included supporting documents that they used to make their decision. When we arrived outside the City Hall, we were informed by other business owners waiting outside, that the council were not allowing anyone in due to “covid restrictions”. We read a sign on the door that stated that if you were not on the agenda, you would not be heard, and noticed that our names were not on the agenda. A waiting business owner informed us that they had come out earlier and taken names of some business owners who wanted to speak.
About that time, our colleague showed up and informed us that he had secured time for us earlier. Some of the citizens who had showed up, noticed that they would not be able to participate and they left out of frustration. Some of the business owners decided to leave as well. It was in the mid 20’s outside, and some business owners and citizens were not prepared to wait outside. After a while we were called in and my colleague read his letter and proposed his resolution. He then deferred to me and I read my letter. One of the councilmen then asked me some questions. We had a fairly engaging dialogue back and forth. Another councilwoman asked a question herself, the others were disengaged and seemed to have no interest in the discussion.
The way it sounded to me, they did not want do anything and give businesses a false sense of security. The main concern seemed to stem from fear, that Federal powers were going to intervene and force the issue of compliance. I informed the council that this was a state issue and that there was precedent in declaring an economic emergency within the city. This should allow some leeway in dealing with the competing health and economic emergencies. The council shifted back to giving businesses a false sense of security. I told them that they should be clear in what their action does and does not do. They then stated, they could not do anything without the permission of their attorney. The one councilmen that was engaging kept saying that he was pro business, yet would not commit to actually take action to support local business. We could see out the window that more cars were leaving, I ended my discussion with the council in order to attempt to stop the bleeding, so to speak. The council agreed to hear from three business owners, so that “they would not have to be there all night”.
I left the meeting to find that most people were gone. I sent the first business owner in that was available and got on the phone to recall others that were close by, but had already left. We located a call in number to the meeting on the bottom of the notice on the door, and dialed in. The conference call was terrible. There was a cordless phone on speaker, on the table, by the clerk. She kept stating, “oops we lost the connection”, and then would hang up the phone. This was extremely discouraging to those who wanted to stay on the call. By the time we were on the phone, there was only one other person who was on the conference call. I cannot say if this was a result of the pink haired clerk ‘disconnecting’ the phone or not. The disconnects continued every five to ten minutes throughout the meeting. When we were connected, we could occasionally hear the council and some of what individuals were saying, but we could clearly hear the clerk making disparaging comments and heavy sighs,towards citizens who were speaking.
Many of the business owners were clearly passionate about their position and the position of the country as a whole. They spoke of liberty and freedom, loosing their livelihoods, and struggles that many other Americans are facing. A couple of them let the council know that the people are tired of the oppression, and if their government does not do something to represent them, then the time will come when they are going to rebel. When one of these individuals left, as soon as the door closed the clerk sarcastically said, “What? People are going to rebel when they can’t eat at a restaurant?” She then snickered, as the next person came in. This was not at all the professional demeanor I expected at a city council meeting.
Regardless of what the council thought, it was blatantly apparent, that the person that should be posting a calendar on the website, notifications well in advance of meetings, putting agenda’s out, and supporting constituents in being represented by their council; had a bad attitude that does not reflect good on the city. Such individuals, in my experience act as gate keepers to good government, and have a negative impact on relations in the community they are supposed to serve. In full disclosure, I do not know this person other than seeing them as a counter protester to some freedom demonstrations around town. In either event, I hope that she is talked to about how critical her role is in supporting the community and maintaining neutrality in city business.
I am not aware if the local newspaper was on the phone at some point, but I believe, they should be advised in advance so that they can get a notification out to inform residents of meetings, as well as agenda’s. I hope that they lobby for transparency and access to meetings on the city and county level. The council also must do much more to put meeting times, dates, agenda’s, and minutes out to encourage community involvement, not discourage it.
The council came across as weak and feckless. They stated, that they had the Mayor proclaim “Small Business Saturday”, and one of the members continually said he was pro business. This does nothing, if those businesses cannot regularly operate on a level that allows for profitability. It also shows that they are not focused, or not aware of business fundamentals, specifically, what a city council must do to so save the lifeblood, of commerce during an economic emergency.
It remains to be said what the council will do, if anything, to address the growing problems that the town is having on this or any level. They seemed afraid to do anything, because they might be sued and they don’t have money for that. Their fear seems to drive their decisions. If government is acting, or not acting, out of fear of other government, then we have truly crossed the Rubicon into despotism.
One of the critical things I noticed, was lack of involvement by average citizens. This is something that must change going forward, if we are going to make our government accountable to the people again. If you are not calling the city council and expressing your concern about things that impact you in your community, then you are part of the problem. This is not only a statement to people here in our local community. It is a statement to everyone across the country who does not understand what their critical role is in their government, on a local, state, and national level. Your views, whatever they may be, are important. If you don’t care about local business then you should be there saying it. If you can’t live without your local restaurant, market, drugstore, barber, or whatever the business is, then, you had best do your duty to support them, by showing up on the phone, or in person. If the clerk, office assistant, mayor, or whoever does not tell you when their meeting is, and what was said in it, then get on them about transparency. Don’t quit and don’t let up.
If we do not act on our local government and get them to support the people they are here to serve, then things will get worse. If local businesses close, there will be no jobs. If there are no jobs, people will have no money. When they have no money, they cannot afford to take care of their families. When that happens, they get desperate. So in the answer to the pink haired lady, who asked the question, are people going to rise up when they can’t eat at the restaurants in town. Yes, yes they will when they get desperate and have no other choice, because the government that was supposed to support them, instead, did nothing.
I hope this has been as eye opening to you as it has been to me. I learned that my assumptions, that other people were doing their part, was wrong. I also learned that even on a local level, you cannot trust government to do the right thing on their own. I never knew, that trying to do something as simple, as supporting your local small businesses, would be so difficult and controversial. I hope that you have better luck where you live. As for us, we have quite a fight to do our part, and encourage others, to take our country back from apathy and socialism.
Wade John Taylor
Below you will find the address that gave to the Republic City Council prior to the dialogue.