July 3, 2008 · Updated 1:28 PM
"I've come to the conclusion after nine months as editor of this paper that it's OK to tick people off. It might even be a good thing.That's what we've obviously done by having a known Whidbey Island Republican, Paul Newman, write a weekly political column for the News-Times. (Paul's A Grain of Salt runs in our Saturday edition.) We've had one Oak Harbor Democrat cancel his subscription, several letters to the editor on the subject (with more today), and I've been fielding calls from Whidbey Island Democrats who have developed conspiracy theories about the editorial direction of this newspaper.No one points to the content of Mr. Newman's column when making these complaints. That's because Paul is an intelligent, broad-minded person with a political background that's unique to the island. He's worked on campaigns - ranging from president to city council - as a political consultant and the founder of an elections data firm. Sure, he's a Republican, but so what? He's not an offensive ideologue, and he's a fine writer.The mere fact that his column has stirred up our readership is a good sign. I'd be a lot more worried if y'all didn't give a rip about the content of this newspaper.Having said all that, a letter from ever-faithful local Democrat Ann Adams in today's paper raises a fair point: Wouldn't it be nice to have someone of a more liberal persuasion to share column space with Mr. Newman? Then we could stir up people of all political stripes.We talked about that possibility here at the paper when Paul was signed on. And we're open to it. Perhaps we could run the Democrat in our Wednesday paper, the Republican in Saturday's edition.However, we're not interested in a one-trick donkey taking pot-shots from the left. It better be a Democrat who can write and think, and who's broad-minded enough to see things from different points of view. If there isn't a North or Central Whidbey resident like that out there, then Paul Newman will continue his stint as our only political columnist.You may have heard this week that a truck driver clipped the historic iron and glass pergola in Seattle's Pioneer Square, smashing the national historic landmark into pieces.Who would have thought a landmark could be destroyed so swiftly? In this case, it's unfortunate that the structure removed was one of the more aesthetically pleasing pieces of architecture in Seattle. But it occurred to me that this truck driver has a magic touch, and he might need a job after this incident. We could hire him here on Whidbey Island.Perhaps you have some ideas about an unattractive local landmark you would like to see brought down in an instant. I do, and it's actually on Fidalgo Island.I would invite our truck driver to visit us via the Burlington turnoff and Highway 20. As he neared Anacortes, I would encourage him to angle his truck at high speeds so that he clips the hideous billboard on the right hand side of the highway which advertises Oak Harbor. Certainly we can come up with something more attractive than that faded pink and green monstrosity. "