OPINION: Let’s work together for a better Montesano
• Thu Oct 12th, 2017 1:30am OPINION The Vidette
The choice for every political candidate and elected official is simple: build your community up or tear it down.
Tearing things down is the easy path—it’s easy to complain, spread falsehoods, create drama and try to rile people up. It makes for great reality TV, but it doesn’t get things done for the citizens and taxpayers. It’s not good government.
Building your community up takes hard work and compromise. When I make key decisions for the city, I remember the lessons I teach young children in Sunday school and in the four-part test Rotarians use:
• Is it the truth?
• Is it fair to all concerned?
• Will it build good will and better friendships?
• Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
So, we need to correct the record after a lot of misinformation from former mayors Ken Estes and Doug Iverson. Because facts do matter.
The city is working again: the budget is in the black instead of the red, the city council is getting things done and Seattle TV trucks aren’t constantly parked outside city hall.
If you want to return to the Estes administration then do as Ken and Doug suggest and “vote out all the incumbents.” Except that advice is misleading. There are only two challengers on the ballot and one isn’t actively campaigning. The only challenger running a real campaign is Doug’s son, Barry.
I’d rather hear positive information from Barry on what he’d like to accomplish for the citizens than more overheated rhetoric from his father and Ken Estes.
The two current council members with challengers on the ballot—Ian Cope and Tyler Trimble—offer a positive vision. They’re heavily involved in the city and community and have worked hard to balance the city budget, improve parks, create ballfields and build relationships that help move the city forward.
They don’t grandstand or complain. Ian and Tyler just get things done. If that’s the kind of council member you want, please vote for Ian and Tyler.
One of the things we’re blessed with the chance to finally get done is dealing with the entrance to town. Through hard work and the help of local lawmakers like Rep. Brian Blake and Sen. Dean Takko, we secured $550,000 in state funding for a traffic revision at the intersection of Highway 12 and Highway 107.
Doug and Estes try to confuse people by asking where the money is coming from, as if it’s a mystery. They know exactly where. They traveled to Olympia to tell lawmakers not to give Montesano those funds. Maybe they forgot those meetings.
In terms of transparency, there have been multiple meetings, emails to Doug specifically, public comments, newspaper stories and votes about this. The city council voted to accept state funding. The House of Representatives voted for the Montesano project in the Transportation budget, as did the Senate, and the governor signed that budget.
And I was explicit, when running for mayor, about this very issue. My big signs had a large text on five specific goals, including fixing streets and the main entrance to town. Doug and Ken know this. But maybe they forgot.
Montesano received almost $1 million in funds to fix the sidewalks and roads on Pioneer because we’ve spent countless hours building strong relationships. The Friends of Schafer and Lake Sylvia raised $200,000 to help get state funds in the capital budget for a multi-season pavilion, and that project made it into the budget with help from local lawmakers.
But all that funding only happens when people work together. It won’t when candidates and politicians are busy lobbing rhetorical bombs and spreading misinformation.
Doug and Ken know this. They know it hurts our city’s chances to get funding for other projects.
I find that sort of politics self-defeating and harmful—to taxpayers and the community.
In the past 18 months, I’ve held my peace and continued to ask Doug and Ken what issues they want to work on, because I’ll listen to anyone who wants to do something positive for our city. There have been many people who have taken me up on this with improving sports fields, the Saturday Morning Markets, free Wi-Fi, the Full Monte Musical Festival, and Fish & Brew Fest.
Doug and Ken have never given me an answer. That’s too bad. Both men have a lot of experience and could get things done instead of spreading misinformation. But it’s their right to choose differently.
And it’s your right, as a citizen, to know the truth about your tax dollars and the direction your city should take.
So, I hope you take your ballot when it comes in the mail and open it. Don’t skip this election. It matters.
And if you care about the main entrance to Montesano, please show up at City Hall at 7 p.m. on Oct. 30 to listen to options and tell the Department of Transportation what you want. You can hear from the civil engineers from SCJ Alliance who worked on the project. Ask the engineers and experts why they recommend for certain options and against others.
The final decision will be up to the Department of Transportation’s experts (dedicated turn lanes, a compact roundabout or something else) because the way the money was secured was through the transportation budget. They will listen to us before coming up with the best outcome for them and for us. It’ll be a compromise because it must meet the location’s various needs.
Getting this right could strengthen the heart of downtown and give us a more secure economy. Because this is one piece of the larger goal to get some of the 10 million people who drive past to stop and turn right into our beautiful city for the great fishing, hiking and mountain biking we have here in Montesano and at Lake Sylvia.
All of us have a choice—to build or to tear down. Let’s work together to build up our town towards a better and brighter future.
Vini Samuel is the mayor of Montesano and a practicing attorney who owns her own law firm in downtown Montesano.