Resolved: Banish Racism, Hate and Discrimination From Local Governance

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4 mins read

Photo by Jonathan Miske via Wikimedia

The town of Sequim is located in the shadow of the Olympics. Within the city limits there are 7,481 residents, but the school district serves the Sequim Dungeness area which brings the population up to 27,528.

In July 2019, politician Jodi Wilke (who lived in the neighboring county of Jefferson) tapped into the undercurrent of racism against the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe to create a wedge issue for her political career. Targeting the population of white retirees, she convinced them that the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe was a mighty beast, the Goliath to their David. You can read more about that here https://writingshed.me/2020/03/22/whats-the-use/.

Jodi Wilke’s efforts laid the foundation for the City Council to be taken over by a coalition of far-right politicians, including those who are QAnon followers, in the 2019 election. Two of the seven were appointed earlier this year when one council member resigned, and another died. Here’s a link to the current City Council: https://www.sequimwa.gov/67/City-Council.

The murder of George Floyd woke the sleeping giant of those who oppose racism. As many as 400 participated in each of three different protests in the town of Sequim. The City Council ignored those protests and decided not to have community engagements to bring racism to the forefront, waiting to let the dust settle.

A local citizen started a petition, another wrote a resolution entitled “Resolution Condemning Racism and Discrimination.” In the wake of 2200 signatures, the resolution was put on the City Council agenda for the next meeting.

I phoned the three council members whose votes for the resolution concerned me. None thought systemic racism existed.

Mike Pence (yes, that’s his name) was an appointee to the council. He kept referring to “The Blacks” and said they just need to get over it. He also seemed to think that if “The Blacks” were better behaved they wouldn’t get stopped by police.

Sarah Kincaid — when I pointed out that people who opposed the Tribe were posting things like “Time for cowboys and Indians” again on social media — said that she played cowboys and Indians when she was a kid. She claimed Cherokee heritage. She also said there were two sides to the Trail of Tears but would not elaborate.

Troy Tenneson, who ran unopposed, said that the Tribe gets preferential treatment, citing it as reverse racism. His claim to racism aimed at him was people making fun of him in high school for his red hair and fair skin. “Who made fun of him?” I asked. People with darker skin than he has.

Troy abstained from voting on the resolution; both Mike Pence and Sarah Kincaid voted for it after reference to hate speech was removed from it. The resolution passed.  

Actions need to match their votes. Will they?

Four of the seven council members, including Mike Pence and Sarah Kincaid, are up for reelection next year. Get ready to run or find good candidates. In the meantime, do all that you can to thwart this council’s agenda.



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