QAnon Mayor terminates popular Sequim, Washington state City Manager
The City of Sequim Civic Center. The city's mayor has connections to QAnon, say many of its residents, that led him to push the firing of City Manager Charlie Bush. | Photo courtesy of City of Sequim Government/Facebook

SEQUIM, WA—Despite overwhelming support for Sequim City Manager, Charlie Bush, the town’s Mayor, William Armacost, a QAnon cultist, forged ahead last week to fire Bush.

More than 100 Sequim residents wearing masks and socially distant, stood in a picket line as a sharply divided City Council carried out its hate-driven termination of Bush. “We Support Charlie Bush” and “No QAnon Coup….” read picketers’ signs along Washington Ave. The crowd was a cross-section of the people of Sequim, a town of 7,000 in the rain shadow of the snowcapped Olympic Mountains. Some wore woven cedar hats, emblem of the Jamestown S’Klallam tribe for whom Clallam County is named.

Two of the five members of the City Council, Brandon Janisse and Deputy Mayor, Tom Ferrell, voted against the motion to force Bush’s resignation. Every one of the councilmembers who voted to terminate Bush, except Armacost himself, is an appointee, not elected by voters in Sequim.

Armacost, selected by fellow councilmembers and not by the people of Sequim, fired Bush even though 1,787 people signed a petition, “Sequim City Council, Retain  Charlie Bush.”

Armacost, the petition states, has not offered a single credible justification for firing Bush who has served Sequim without fault for over five years. Bush even returned at the city’s request after he resigned a year ago, to help Sequim fight COVID-19. The only explanation Armacost gives for his vendetta is “philosophical differences” between himself and Bush.

In a “Coffee With the Mayor” Armacost called QAnon a “truth movement” and advised listeners to view a QAnon video poisonous with anti-Semitism and racism. He told a CNN interviewer that charges that QAnon led the storming of the U.S. Capitol, Jan 6, are unproven despite photographic and video proof that QAnon spearheaded the attempted coup d’etat.

A few days ago, Shenna Younger put out an appeal for Sequim residents to join a ZOOM meeting to defend Bush. A capacity 100 people signed on and another 100 tried but could not, a response so strong the attendees voted to form the “Sequim Good Governance League” (SGGL). Their goals are to defend Bush and to elect city council members committed to democracy, racial equality, and plain decency.

Last summer, Younger and Vicki Lowe, a descendant of the Jamestown S’Klallam tribe, pushed an anti-racist resolution through the Sequim City Council, prompted by the hate-mongering against the S’Klallam tribe and the opioid opioid “Healing Campus”  they are building on the west side of Sequim..

Younger read the resolution aloud to an open, public meeting of the City Council while Vicki Lowe held up placards with enlarged direct quotations of the racist statements from the Facebook page of a Republican-dominated outfit, “Save Our Sequim” also known as “S. O.S.” The Council voted for the resolution with one abstention by Troy Tenneson chair of the Clallam Young Republicans who has since resigned.

Many in SGGL are retirees attracted by the serene beauty of Clallam County, its expanse of open farmland, the mountains, rivers, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Until Mayor Armacost and his Republican handlers took control, Sequim was also noted for its moderate, tolerant, non-partisan politics. Every precinct in Sequim voted in a majority for Biden-Harris last November as did most of the precincts surrounding Sequim. Clallam County has been a “bellwether” since 1980, voting in a majority for the Republican or Democratic presidential candidate who wins. Last year, starting in July, between 20 and 50 people stood at the main intersections in Sequim and Port Angeles every weekend holding signs supporting Joe Biden and Kamala Harris who carried the county by 659 votes.

Tim Wheeler | People’s World

The main weapon of the Republican right is white supremacy, much of it aimed at the Jamestown S’Klallam tribe. The tribe operates the Jamestown Family Health Center that provides health care for 17,000 people, a majority of whom are white. The tribe has also taken the lead through the Jamestown clinic in providing COVID-19 vaccinations at the Carrie Blake Park on the east side of town. Thousands have waited in line to get the vaccination.

Yet Armacost harbors furious anger against the tribe for also taking the lead in building an opioid clinic to provide treatment for the hundreds of victims of addiction to oxycodone painkillers here. Clallam County suffered the highest opioid addiction rate in Washington State as Big Pharma flooded the county with oxycodone which they falsely advertised as “non-addictive.”

Armacost is the chosen stooge of a Republican dominated group “Save Our Sequim” or “S.O.S.” that has filled their Facebook page with hate-mongering, fear, and outright falsehoods against the opioid clinic and the Jamestown S’Klallam tribe. They falsely claimed that Seattle and Tacoma will ship busloads of opioid addicts to Sequim, filling the streets with homeless panhandlers, violent criminals, and burglars. They rave that real estate values will plummet. In fact, the clinic will serve 250 patients, all from either Jefferson or Clallam County.

The tribe has followed the letter of the law, obtaining permits and clearance at every level of government. The State Legislature appropriated $7.2 million to construct the facility that is strongly endorsed by the Olympic Medical Center, the Public Health Directors of Clallam County and Jefferson County. County Sheriff, Bill Benedict has testified that the clinic will assist in law enforcement. None of this clear evidence has swayed the racist minority. The firing of Bush is their last gasp gambit to stop the clinic.


CONTRIBUTOR

Tim Wheeler
Tim Wheeler

Tim Wheeler estimates he has written 10,000 news reports, exposés, op-eds, and commentaries in his half-century as a journalist for the Worker, Daily World and People’s World. Tim also served as editor of the People’s Weekly World newspaper. He lives in Sequim, Wash., in the home he shared with his beloved late wife Joyce Wheeler. His book News for the 99% is a selection of his writings over the last 50 years representing a kind of history of the nation and the world from a working-class point of view.

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