King County voters approve first Home Rule Charter on November 5, 1968.

  • By Walt Crowley
  • Posted 1/01/2000
  • Essay 1992
On November 5, 1968, voters approve King County's first Home Rule Charter. The new Charter replaces the old three-member County Commission with a nine-member County Council and creates the new post of King County Executive.

The structure of King County's government had changed little since its establishment in 1852. Voters rejected the first proposed "Home Rule" charter in 1952, but they authorized freeholders to prepare a new proposal in 1967. The first Executive, John Spellman, and first members of the new Council were elected in 1969.

The County Council was expanded to 13 members in 1992 and changed its name to the Metropolitan King County Council, reflecting the absorption of water quality and transit responsibilities formerly vested in Metro (the Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle).

Sources: Walt Crowley, Rites of Passage: A Memoir of the Sixties in Seattle (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1995); Routes: An Interpretive History of Public Transportation in Metropolitan Seattle (Seattle: Metro Transit, 1993).
Note: This essay was corrected on September 16, 2006, to correctly state that voters rejected the first proposed "Home Rule" charter in 1952.

Related Topics:   Government & Politics | Law

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