KIT News Yakima

The Yakima City Council's next virtual meeting is set for 5:30 Tuesday night. (4/21)

On the agenda is consideration of some kind of censure for District 2 Councilman Jason White.  You won't be able to attend the meeting or share your thoughts on that because Governor Jay Inslee's “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order temporarily suspends some of the requirements of the state’s Open Public Meetings Act.

 

White has said controversial things in the past but this time his comments have crossed an ethical line as far as his council mates are concerned and a unanimous vote triggered staff to draft a resolution to censure .

The complaints against White are basically that he was abusive toward the LGBTQ community in statements posted on his facebook page and he called on residents to take actions counter to the requests of health officials during the Coronavirus Pandemic. In one instance he urged people to take off their masks and get back to work .

The Yakima Hearld Republic reports, "The Council’s resolution, which calls for White’s public censure, notes the following transgressions:

  • White called the leader of the nonprofit Yakima Pride “an idiot” and stated on his public Facebook page that the leader of Yakima Pride “is an idiot and is making the entire LGBTQ community look irrational”
  • White made statements on his Facebook page indicating that those persons who are healthy should go back to work and avoid the precautions outlined by health officials and experts. The resolution provides details on two comments in that regard.

Mayor Patricia Byers, at the April 7 meeting, noted that information White shared in the posts was “reckless, frightening and dangerous.”

Local attorney and former council candidate Liz Hallock is handling the legal side of the District 2 recall process and she appeared on KIT's Morning News to talk about the process and what happens next.

Recall by voters is separate and different from the Council's censure.  Recall proponents are seeking special approval for online signature gathering to keep with social distancing.  The number of valid legal signatures needed to put the recall on the ballot is equal to at least 25% of the vote total from the District's last general election.

White has two years left in his current term and he has his share of supporters too. They see an attempt at censure as an act of censorship. They say they plan a protest outside City Hall on Tuesday night.

The meeting will air live at 5:30 p.m. on YPAC, Charter Spectrum 194, and will also be livestreamed at https://www.yakimawa.gov/council/live-stream.