You are on page 1of 3

[Commissioner] Application from Walter R. Jorgensen for Upcoming ...

Subject: [Commissioner] Application from Walter R. Jorgensen for Upcoming Commission Vacancy
From: Walt Jorgensen <>
Date: Mon, 01 Dec 2008 23:33:04 -0800
To: TC Demo Central Committee <>

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thurston County Democratic Central Committee
PO Box 164
Olympia, WA 98507

Subject: Application to be Appointed to the Board of County Commissioners

Chair Cusick and Precinct Committee Officers:

My name is Walter Jorgensen and I am applying for the position that will become vacant on January 1, 2009.

Following your format, here are my answers to your questions.

(1) why I want to serve as county commissioner

I want to be part of an historic restoration that will give people back the kind of democracy that they thought they
had all along. During the waning days of the campaign I displayed a placard with the names Obama, Gregoire and
Romero and a slogan asking for a "hat trick," i.e., to prevail in three political contests, all crucial to the people in
Thurston County.

That happened.

Now I have been presented with a chance to further that reclamation of democracy by asking to be appointed as the
successor to a retiring Commissioner.

Being smart and experienced enough for this job isn't enough. I want to show people that I can really represent
them. Nothing else matters unless you can do that. I want to prove that democracy actually works. (Calling it a
republic is usually a lame excuse to not have to be accountable between elections.)

We have to make sure that the renewal at the state and federal levels is mirrored here on the local level because if
people don't see democracy working at close quarters, they won't believe it's really working anywhere.

(2) what I believe makes me uniquely qualified to fill this vacancy

Fortunately, I don't think anyone in our County is uniquely
qualified for this job. I know a score of people who could discharge the duties of the office competently and
creatively. All of them are currently busy doing something else. I hope some of them have applied.

I think I am among those qualified.

I have encountered government from both sides, standing at the lectern and sitting on the dais. I have been referred
to as a community activist, which can sound a bit radical. I prefer to contrast it with a community passivist and find
myself proud to be the former. I have served on a city council, chaired standing committees, substituted for the
mayor as meeting convener and ceremonial lead, spoken to civic groups, organized public forums, and formulated
my own proposals for action outside the scope of the "meeting packet."

I've been a property owner and landlord for 30 years, acquiring the necessary business and interpersonal skills

1 of 3 12/2/2008 7:19 AM
[Commissioner] Application from Walter R. Jorgensen for Upcoming ...

necessary to be successful.

I have a B.A. with some graduate work. I am a retired computer management professional. I used to run marathons
to compete; now I run two miles to keep fit. I have recently traveled to Australia, Turkey, and Brazil as a member of
the Friendship Force. I drive an electric car (when it's running).

I trust my own judgment and I know I get the best results when I invite candid criticism, allowing my own thoughts
to be liberally embellished by others.

I make decisions at the right time. Recently, I have experienced a new sense of when to act and when to continue

Top policy makers are only accidental experts at something. They cannot begin to understand the operational details
of the many disciplines they must create policy for. They have to gain an appreciation for the essence of each one
know who to trust for accurate information and unbiased advice. Knowing where I fit in the decision/management
process makes me effective in my role.

(3) how I am prepared to stand for election in 2009 and then again in 2010.

I won't expect to do much standing for election in 2009. I will expect to be running from the moment I take the oath
of office. With an appointment sometime in January or February, there are but 6-7 months left to immediately vie for
the office again in a primary election, this time with the full electorate of the 3rd District. And then, my reward for
winning the office in November is the opportunity to do it all over again in 2010. This will not be easy. A superior
campaign organization is imperative. As demanding as the campaigning will be, functioning as a full-time
Commissioner must take precedence. In addition, as the fledgling member of the board, there is much to learn about
procedure, authorities, relationships, fiscal and other perennial issues, and inter-jurisdictional commitments, to name
but a few.

I have run for public office three times. I served on the Tumwater City Council for nearly six years, resigning in
1999 to raise my two nephews. I have volunteered in both technical and policy positions on innumerable campaign
committees to help other candidates get elected.

I am well-known in the community and have support from many well-established and grass-roots organizations. I
can coalesce a campaign committee of seasoned political individuals very quickly, including many former elected
officials. I understand the division of labor between candidate and committee necessary to win an election.

(4) what I intend to accomplish during my term as county commissioner

Like anyone who has spent time opining about public issues, I have my favorites and I have my considered
positions. With the first term lasting but 9-10 months, the budget will loom large very soon. Along with nearly
every other business and government entity, the County needs to increase its revenues. The most obvious
low-hanging fruit that has been ignored since the passage of the Growth Management Act (GMA) is impact fees.
Working for a campaign for County Commissioner in 2000, I determined that the County had left $220,000,000 in
impact fees on the table. By now that number will have doubled. Not collecting its own impact fees is bad enough,
but refusing to collect them for the school districts is unconscionable.

I will better implement the spirit of the GMA by striving to reduce zoning densities in the rural areas. I will work
with the cities and towns to encourage growth in urban areas by establishing bright line Urban Growth Area
boundaries and not supporting the extension of urban utilities to developer-spawned mini-villages outside the
incorporated areas.

Land on the periphery of a city’s boundaries is potentially trans itional, rural this decade, urban the next. But I
think the transitional nature is misunderstood.
Gradually increasing the density without the guidance of a longer range vision does not properly prepare rural
land for urban use.

2 of 3 12/2/2008 7:19 AM
[Commissioner] Application from Walter R. Jorgensen for Upcoming ...

1-in-5 allows upwards of 128 structures per square mile with little control over how they are located relative the
each other.
By the time you wind your way around critical areas and other nat ural landscape features and the political
constraints of things like easements and setbacks, the buildings and especially the roads connecting them, will
not lay the groundwork for a street grid or even a reasonable cul-de-sac configuration.

Although we can't undo years of mounting distrust overnight, I will reaffirm the citizens' access to and authority
over the government structure they have created. When I served in Tumwater, I had conversations with a lot of
people. I want to know what my constituents want, both in terms of specific ideas and general governance
policy. They are not stakeholders in an elaborate economic game for profit and entertainment. They are
stockholders in a municipal corporation that has serious consequences for their lives. I plan to treat them with
the respect they deserve.


Thank you for accepting and considering my application.

Walter R. Jorgensen
3439 14th Ave NW
Olympia, WA 98502-4023
360-867-0142 (home & ans mach)
360-867-0138 (voice mail)
360-250-0838 (cell)
360-567-6971 (portable)

Commissioner mailing list
Content-Type: text/plain
Part 1.2
Content-Encoding: 7bit

3 of 3 12/2/2008 7:19 AM