Editorial: A chance for progress
July 3, 2008 · Updated 11:01 PM
Oak Harbor will have a fresh start come January thanks to last Tuesdays election results.
The battle for mayor was hard-fought, but Jim Slowik rather handily defeated Paul Brewer by garnering 57 percent of the vote. None of the three council contests were particularly close either, with Rick Almberg, Beth Munns and Jim Palmer all winning easily.
Still, the results show that over 40 percent of Oak Harbor voters would have rather had Brewer for mayor, and 30 percent or more preferred other council candidates who arent as much a part of the citys establishment.
In a viable democracy, however, once the results are in everyone should be pulling for the winners. This is not the time to criticize or lament defeats at the polls. The three new council members should be allowed to breathe new life into a City Council that wasnt known for its effectiveness. Its collective inability to make a decision was evident at last weeks meeting, when a common-sense proposal to videotape and televise monthly council workshop sessions was tabled.
This started as a simple idea, but over the months the council decided to look at all other committee meetings and whether they should be televised, and charged staff with adding up all the costs and then making recommendations. And then the thought arose that maybe the meetings should also be streamed onto the Internet. But even with all the information in front of them, the council threw up its arms and did nothing. The issue will wait until January when the new council members are sworn in.
The new council members and mayor can prove their effectiveness early simply by deciding to televise the councils workshops. All candidates are on record as favoring the idea, so get it done the first time you meet. Show the public the new council can implement a good idea without beating it to death first. This would indeed be progress.