You’ve probably heard the nonsense about California schools allowing kids to act on whatever gender they identify with … at any age … without doctor or therapist input.  This means that boys can use girls’ bathrooms, play on girls’ sports teams, and visa versa … and schools have to cooperate.

I’ve read this … was bothered … thought, “Aw, that’s California for you” …  and then forgot about it.  It’s too far away … not my state.

You’ve probably heard about the uproar in Houston the last few weeks when the mayor subpoenaed pastors for their sermons.  At the heart of the problem is a city passed bill that essentially does the same thing as the California laws, only this time people grew more vocally upset.  They were especially mad that they didn’t get to vote about it.  In the ensuing battle, the mayor went after churches opposed to the bill, even though the five churches weren’t part of the lawsuit against the bill.

After being relieved that the mayor has recently dropped the subpoena (as she should … she is trouncing on first amendment rights), I sighed and thought, “Aw, that’s Houston for you” … and then put it aside.  It’s too far away … not my state.

Last night I sat down to vote.  (Am I the only one who misses having to go to voting booths?)  The two gun rights bills have gotten enough air time, that I knew long ago I wasn’t going to let this election pass me by.  So much money is being poured in by special interest groups outside the state that I want to at least have my voice.  (Which I hope I really do get to have … why do the ballots allow for people to vote in pencil?! … And yes, I chose pen).

What I didn’t know would be on the ballot are 12 Charter Changes for the city of Tacoma.  What they boil down to is more power for local politicians with less voter input … hhhhmmmm.

But here’s the interesting one for me … Charter No. 3.

Here’s what it says: The Tacoma City Council adopted Resolution No. 38950 to amend the City Charter. This proposition would amend Charter Section 6,7 to add color, ancestry, gender-identity, sexual orientation, familial statues, honorably discharged veteran, and military status to the list of classes protected from discrimination in City employment, all as provided in Resolution No. 38950.

I am all for NOT discriminating against ANYONE, but what doors are we opening here?  Gender-identity?  This has to do with city employees … for now … but where do we go from here when it comes to our public restrooms and eventually our schools?  There are safety issues at stake here besides common sense, not to mention that our current discrimination  laws offer protection for ALL citizens.  How many caveats are we going to add?  It’s a slippery slope, friends.

Another proposed Charter change is Amendment No. 2 which removes “obsolete” language.  This change uses taxpayer money to change official documents to make all language gender neutral.  Bye-bye “Chairman”, “Councilmen,” and “he”.   Voters approved gender equality 22 years ago.  Washington cities scream regularly how strapped they are for cash … how is this amendment a good use of taxpayer money in hard times?

The Pierce County Voters’ Pamphlet outlines all the charter changes with arguments for and against.  (Interestingly, there is no opposition to Charter No. 3 so I am certainly odd man out — oops there goes my outdated gender speech.) This year, I added a new resource to my investigation of issues ... The Progressive Voters Pamphlet.  My work was made easy because most of the endorsements are made by The Stranger.  I have kept an eye on Dan Savage’s point of view for years.  Have agreed with him on almost NOTHING, so found it easy to confirm my views on the charters, politicians, and other bills on the ballot by voting opposite of almost everything in that particular pamphlet.

Please research.  Please vote.  Even if you don’t live in Tacoma, there are important state-wide issues.  Besides, have you looked at what your own city/local is trying to pass on a midterm election?

Please ask your friends if they’ve voted.  Don’t be put off by people who say you shouldn’t bring up politics.  They are the very ones who will yell loudest when they realize their freedoms, and their voice, have been slowly, strategically stripped away.

You have until next Tuesday … and you have an extra hour this week end. (Don’t forget to turn your clocks back on Saturday night.)  Voting is a great way to use that hour because this time … it IS your state.

Let’s vote, Washington.