Confessions of a Kool-aid Drinker

tomI have to do my own mia culpa today. This city of Montesano waterfront sale is a hot issue, with for the second time in a row front page, above the fold in our local Vidette newspaper. We are posting here at Montesano Today more than normal on the issue as well as new documents come to light. Rather than repeat everything here SEE WATERFRONT POSTINGS for background.

Late last spring when both this waterfront issue as well as the mess with all the city investigations were going on, I back burnered the waterfront issue. I did so as I didn’t want to cause the city more problems as they had their hands full with all the employee issues.  I even told the city I was keeping low on it for this reason.

I bought into it hook, line, and sinker. Taking the city at its word that the city departments were out of control and all the investigations and firings were “needing to be done.” I pooh poohed the hundreds of people showing up and stamping their feet at the city council meetings as well. “Must be friends and relatives”….I said to myself.

“That city employee they fired probably had it coming, been there too long”…I told myself. The city knows what is best. Right?

Well, maybe not. It took the recent revelations by the Vidette of my suspicions to clarify that to me. All the while for two years as one document after another came to light concerning the waterfront, I was told one thing, when in reality….the truth was quite different.  And keep in mind I was constantly writing articles about the waterfront, making phone calls, writing emails.  They knew I, as well as the Vidette, were looking into that sale and were not going to let go.  Still I bought into what they were telling me.  Little did I realize that the city looked at my specific questions as not even worth the effort to check the paperwork.  It just never crossed my mind that I was being shined on until I went away.

I was wrong.

What this waterfront situation brings to light is a core problem we have in this town. Pretty much anyone who wants to be on the city council can, it isn’t hard to do. Mayors as well. It is a constant turnstile of new faces.

What saves the city from these rogue sales and other situations is our long term city employees. They are there when the new people come in and there when they get tired of playing small town and leave.

Was that employee the city spent so much time and money getting rid of really as bad as the people who got rid of him? Well, common sense of comparing a $300 paint sprayer and waterfront property potentially worth millions if developed – sort of clarifies my thinking.

My point here is I have been pretty anti-union when it comes to the city. For a variety of reasons. Mostly because it is so hard to get rid of them. But maybe….that is important. Not for the individual, but to keep in place Monte residents that are more connected to the town than quicker than the eye detached politicians.

Anyway you want to cut it, the city administrator, the mayor, the city council, the city attorney….none of them did their job on this waterfront.  Just wasn’t important enough to care about apparently.

I was wrong to jump to such a quick conclusion on the city employee situation. I was wrong to take the word of the city concerning the waterfront sale assuming what they were telling me was the truth.  I was wrong to think this Trimble kid (sorry Tyler….but anybody under 30 is looking pretty young to me these days) would be just another going along to get along good ole boy up at the city.  Boy was I wrong about that one!

It had been a long time since I have been so wrong about so many things.

4 thoughts on “Confessions of a Kool-aid Drinker

  1. Tom, Tom, Tom,
    Someone obviously spiked your cool aid with 100 proof Vodka, if you believe the firing was a bad thing, and the unopposed selection of Trimble as a city councilman was a good thing for the city. The city,
    In my opinion, had no choice with the investigations with a smoking gun requiring the city to take the action they took in this case.

  2. Emrey, you are one of the smartest guys I know, I do not like to argue with you. On this one, I was trying to convey that sometimes things are murky that seem so clear at first glance. Maybe he deserved to be let go, maybe not. I jumped to conclusion based on blindly trusting the city. I am not so sure this was all so black and white. My trust in the city is at a very low point right now. It is unfair of me to take their position as gospel. That is all I am saying. None of us know what happened. If recently made allegations are true about a culture of fear among the city employees, I think that should be considered. I just don’t know and I am not taking anyone’s word for anything anymore around here. Fool me once…….

  3. Emery,
    Please tell us all what that smoking gun is.. Because for the life of me I still haven’t heard or seen this smoking gun.. Russ Burke is a great man and for him to go through this is a dam shame.. I wouldn’t wish what happened to him on my worst enemy.. but time will tell when this hits the court and the truth comes out.. til then why don’t u keep your comments to yourself and let things work their selves out.

  4. Ok, I let one comment through from both sides but I am turning off the comments. I don’t want this to turn into a name calling shouting match. I realize there is passion on both sides, well many sides of this issue. I suggest formal letters to the editor for that type of thing.

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