All Politics is Local

Quiring ruffled by county proclamation on Community Development Block Grants

Clark County Councilor Eileen Quiring learned a lesson this week about reading something before signing it.

Before the beginning of its Tuesday hearings the county council commonly makes proclamations on the most uncontroversial topics possible (recently the council had proclamations on awareness of autism, child abuse, invasive species, as well as others on the importance of prayer and county government itself). These proclamations, which are purely symbolic, are pretty much always signed by the entire council.

On Tuesday, the council issued a proclamation in support of Community Development Block Grants, a federal program that provides funding for housing and neighborhood projects.

But at the council’s board time meeting on Wednesday there was this exchange:

“I’d like to know who was the author of the recent proclamation that we had on Tuesday morning,” said a testy Quiring.

“I don’t know,” responded Council Chair Marc Boldt, who added that it was likely someone from Clark County Department of Community Services.

“Can we find out?” said Quiring.

“Do you have a problem with it?” asked Councilor Julie Olson.

“Yes, I do,” said Quiring, who continued, “I have a problem with slamming our president is what I have a problem with.”

“Ok, we’ll find that out,” said Boldt.

“I’m not sure what the point is of finding out who the staff member who wrote it was at this point,” interjected Councilor John Blom. “I mean if there was an issue it should have been addressed before…”

“I didn’t see it before,” Quiring said.

At that point other members of the council pointed out that she signed the proclamation.

“It is my prerogative,” she said to Blom. “I don’t care whether you think that it’s appropriate to ask what staff person wrote it because I want to find out who directed them to write it and where it came from.”

Did the proclamation “slam” the president? Has the Republican-dominated council taken a left turn? I looked up the proclamation. The only mention of President Donald Trump in the proclamation is how his budget has targeted the program for elimination and how that would negatively affect the county.

I called up Quiring for an explanation.

“I signed it, but apparently I didn’t read it carefully enough,” Quiring told me. “It’s taught me a lesson.”

Quiring said she supports the grants from the program. But she also said she supports Trump’s efforts to trim federal spending, which she said means tough choices. She said that the proclamation didn’t “slam” the president, but she said it unnecessarily called him out at a time when he’s already being intensely criticized.

Quiring said she did find out who drafted the proclamation. While she wouldn’t name names she said she’s in a department that’s funded by the grants.

In the meantime, she said she’ll be reviewing proclamations more carefully.

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