Now is the time of year that faithful devotees write in with gushing praise for their council candidate friends. Having just sat through two hours of a neighborhood forum, I’d like to share some impartial observations.
Expect council sessions to overrun if Phillip Yin, Jared Nieuwenhaus, Steven Fricke or Karol Brown get elected. They do love the sound of their own voices. It’s not enough to tell us how they’d do a better job of resolving [insert NIMBY cause] than the staff who’ve been working on it for years. They need to understand what city and local government does, and have been doing in recent years. None convinced me that they do.
Not once was the city’s Comprehensive Plan referenced. Only once was the budget mentioned — by Conrad Lee — who has been approving it for 30 years. His challenger Randy Grein was unable to find anything in that 30 years to single him out as a credible successor.
Both Robinson and Zahn showed the knowledge and composure that several years in public service teaches, in the face of some provocative taunting from both questions and challengers. They have a head start, but at least they both get it.
Not that this matters. Folks vote on pretty signs, long lists of endorsements and who looks the least weird in the election booklet. As much as I respect the candidates’ decision to contest, and the effort it entails, it’s hard not to be disappointed that at least one of the positions will be filled by someone currently unsuitable for the role.