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Opinion

Correcting the record on Cedar County

Cedar County The recent letter [Valley View, April 14, 1996] from a Carnation resident expressing concerns about Cedar County simply was not based on fact.
   No member of the Cedar County Committee has made "promises to all the land-owners ... to do as they please with their property," and we certainly have never opposed the purchase of open space lands nor the protection of legitimate wetlands.
   As chairperson of the committee to form Cedar County, I'd like to provide information to avoid further misconception.
   First, the Cedar County Committee:
   We are currently 11 volunteer members meeting most Tuesdays at the Hobart Church. The public is welcome. No member will run for elected office in Cedar County. The committee sets no policy for Cedar County.
   We are nonpartisan and endorse no candidates, initiatives, or political causes.
   Our financial records are on file with Public Disclosure Commission. There have been no "special interest" donations.
   And about Cedar County:
   Our state constitution says that a new county in Washington is created by signing a petition. This was not a committee decision.
   Cedar County will be a local government with officials elected from our rural neighborhoods (not from Seattle and suburban areas, as is the majority on the King County Council).
   It will cover over 1,500 rural square miles with a population of around 150,000.
   Cities included will be Duvall, Carnation, Snoqualmie, North Bend, Black Diamond, Enumclaw, and the unincorporated areas of Fall City and Maple Valley.
   There will be three commissioners, each elected by all the voters (as opposed to our only voting for one member of the 13-member Metro/King County Council).
   The Sheriff will be elected, and not be a political appointee, as we now have in King County.
   Our brochure states plainly, and we stress at every meeting, that Cedar County will be subject to the State Growth Management Act. This requires the Cedar County commissioners to establish a comprehensive plan. (Thus, the extremes set forth by the letter writer could not happen.)
   Cedar County starts with all the rules and regulations of King County. These are subject to review and modification by the new Cedar County Commissioners.
   Studies show Cedar County is economically viable. (We will have the income of Spokane County but less than half their population.)
   A new county will not change fire, water, school, library, or other independent districts. They are funded through their separate taxing districts, which remain intact.
   County roads, parks, and other county facilities become the property of Cedar County and will be maintained with our tax dollars and equipment received in the division of assets.
   Most people recognize that a small local government empowers the citizenry. This allows our concerns to be considered when decisions are made which affect our rural lifestyle, land use, taxes, etc. Under King County, we are dictated to by council members that we did not elect (and can't vote out of office).
   This is what creating Cedar County is about, not destroying our beautiful countryside, as the letter writer from Carnation would have you believe.
   If you have questions about Cedar County, please call 836-0271. Don't rely on misinformation.

Lois Gustafson, President, Cedar Committee