Opinion

Editorial: Council needs scruffy person

The Oak Harbor City Council has an opportunity to improve its diversity in the wake of Sheilah Crider’s resignation to become Island County Auditor.

As it now stands, the council is refreshing in that several members are new, having taken office in January. But the fact remains that the thinking is structured. Although council positions are non-partisan, they are almost exclusively held by older conservatives who faithfully attend their Rotary and Yacht Club meetings when not doing the city’s business. The exception may be Eric Gerber, the youngest council member, but he generally keeps his political leanings hidden. So what we have is a pro-business, pro-development council, whose philosophy tends to run the gamut from promoting growth to promoting more growth.

What the council needs is someone scruffy. Not necessarily in the physical sense of the word, but in the non-conformist sense. Someone to speak up for the environment, for Whidbey Island values so cherished outside the city limits, for making Oak Harbor better as it grows, not just bigger. He or she might be on the short-end of most votes, but their arguments should be heard. Who knows, they might even ignite some latent tree-hugging tendencies among the older conservatives who did, after all, grow up in the ’60s.

Such free-thinkers do exist in Oak Harbor and their numbers may be growing. The caucuses on Saturday included a large number of young, independent-thinking people in both parties. All they have to do is throw their hats in the proverbial ring for the City Council appointment.

Check the city’s Web site at www.oakharbor.org for information on how to apply. Serving in city government is one way to make a real difference, particularly if you’re different.

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