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Charter petition gets Feb. 3 election

By Dennis Box-The Courier-Herald

A resolution to change Bonney Lake’s form of government from a code to a charter-code city appears to be headed to a Feb. 3 special election.

Councilman Dan Decker is the sponsor of the proposition and collected the signatures for the petition.

The Washington community of Kelso made the change from a code to a charter-code city in 1992 and there were some unexpected twists and turns before the measure passed.

According to Don Gregory, Kelso’s mayor during the change to a charter-code government, the process started because a strip club was trying to locate in the town and there were no ordinances prohibiting it.

“The guy kept quiet about what it was going to be,” Gregory said during a phone interview in May. “But it slipped out and this group became outraged and they were going to have everyone’s head.”

The proposed strip club caused such an uproar in the town some of the people fighting it got in touch with a national religious organization.

“It wasn’t our fault, but we (the City Council) still got blamed,” Gregory said. “We got pegged as doing nothing, but the code had not been updated.”

Gregory said the group fighting the strip club, “disagreed how the city was run and they were going to put another person in as mayor.”

Kelso has a council-manager form of government, where the City Council members select the mayor and a manager is hired to handle the daily operation of the city. Bonney Lake has a strong mayor form where the mayor is elected by voters.

Gregory said after many meetings lasting far into the night, the city, council and the group fighting the strip club, “ended up writing an ordinance that zoned them (the strip club) into an industrial (area).”

Bill McCown, who became a City Council member during that period of time, worked

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