Quiring and Stewart offer explanations (sort of) for Every 28 Days proclamation

After Tuesday’s Clark County Council meeting, Councilor Jeanne Stewart pulled me aside to express her displeasure with Facebook, a former mayor of Washougal and this reporter.

“Shame on you,” she said, scolding me outside of council chambers.

The source of this shaming was a blog post  I wrote last week pointing out that both Stewart and Councilor Eileen Quiring didn’t sign a council proclamation last month recognizing the work of Every 28 Days, a group of volunteers that collects feminine hygiene products for homeless and low-income women.

I explained to Stewart that I reached out to both her and Quiring to get an explanation, which I would have included in the blog. But neither bothered to get in touch with me to offer an explanation.

My blog prompted two people to show up to the council meeting and use the public comment period to criticize the two councilors for not signing what seemed like a no-brainer proclamation.

The two councilors offered explanations. But unfortunately, the explanations are unsatisfying.

“I do support the Every 28 Days effort,” said Quiring. “I have in the past and I did this year.

“The process was an entirely different matter. I think that the communication between the council members broke down and I regret that happened between the members of the council. Frankly, I did not know my name had been removed until 15 minutes before the proclamation was made. I had hoped there would be discussions between the council members prior to this proclamation being public.”

Quiring’s statement just raises more questions. How and why did her name get removed from the proclamation if she supports the effort? How did communication break down on such what seems like a non-controversial proclamation? (Quiring has had trouble with proclamations previously).

Speaking at the council meeting, Stewart said she received a copy of the proclamation late Thursday afternoon to sign it. She said she supports assisting women with personal hygiene products.

“I’ve done work in the past that nobody in here even knows about on behalf of women for years and years before I was elected,” said Stewart.

Stewart said that she wanted the proclamation to be broadened to not just focus on the efforts of Every 28 Days, but to the spectrum of personal hygiene products that are needed at shelters. She also said that the proclamation originated from the city of Battle Ground and not Clark County, which she didn’t like.

Anyways, Stewart was not happy with me and said it was “nonsense” that the matter had turned into a “big brouhaha.” She did not like that my blog was based on something from Facebook, which she called “manipulated, abusive and made up.” (I pointed out to her that, unfortunately, this is where many community conversations now take place.) In particular, she did not like that my blog referenced a Facebook post made by former Washougal Mayor Sean Guard that called out the two councilors for not signing the proclamation.

“He is a doofus,” said Stewart of Guard. “He doesn’t know anything.”

Stewart also said Guard is “no champion of women.” She took issue with the characterization that she didn’t sign on because she was uncomfortable with the subject matter. “It’s a normal function of the body,” she said.

She also reiterated that the proclamation should have been broader and shouldn’t have been based on the city of Battle Ground’s.

I asked why not just sign it? Stewart said that it is a communication with the public.

Does this make any sense to you? It doesn’t to me.

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