EDITORIAL: Coupeville leads by non-example

The town of Coupeville has set something of a non-example for other governments this summer by twice canceling scheduled town meetings due to “lack of agenda items.”

Imagine that. A government body that decides not to meet because there’s nothing to discuss. The council never had to talk about inconsequential issues, and reporters never had to tell the public that nothing happened. Last week, a Coupeville Planning Commission meeting was canceled, also due to “lack of agenda items.”

The Coupeville public has not been able to attend these non-meetings to say whether they like the idea, but who could dispute that a government that meets less, governs best?

While Coupeville had nothing worth discussing, the Oak Harbor City Council was looking at a meeting with 24 agenda items on a warm August night, among them “inter-local agreement,” “consultant contract,” “auctioneer services” and “contract addendum.” Oak Harbor council members sitting through long hours of such fascinating discussion items must be wondering what their Coupeville counterparts are doing. Watching a Mariners game? Strolling the shores of Penn Cove? Sipping a daiquiri? Swilling mussels at Toby’s? Oak Harbor should discuss consulting with Coupeville to find out what really needs to be talked about at council meetings. Maybe they can get on the agenda sometime, if there is one.

The Island County Commissioners established their 2003 budget last week, and admirable job of looking ahead. So why bother meeting the rest of the year? Follow Coupeville’s example and stick a sign saying “lack of agenda items” on the door. The department heads can run the county while the commissioners get real jobs that contribute to the economy. See you in January.

Ultimately, the Washington State Legislature could be infected by Coupeville’s common sense and realize they don’t need to meet nearly so often. All they do is make more laws for special interests, resulting in higher taxes and fewer freedoms. Give the public a break and cancel the next session.

If the trend catches on, Coupeville could become known as the birthplace of the lesser government movement that saved America. Inscribed on the entrance sign to town should be those immortal words: “Lack of agenda items.”

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