City Hall Y’All

Submitted By: – Click to email about this post
Posting on behalf of Kim Rosenberg.
City Hall Y’All
I haven’t written about the Manzanita City Hall deal because I don’t have much of an opinion about it but just about everyone else I know does. I went to a couple of the Pine Grove presentations and listening sessions but I found myself in groups where folks had already decided what they wanted and there was no room for a conversation or even questions. So, the two most opinionated people at the table took over the discussion and it was their views that were presented to the larger group. That’s pretty common in any group setting. The stakes would’ve had to be higher to get people to speak up. Nobody wants to argue with people they don’t know over site plans for a building that may or may not be built.
Mention city hall and you’ll end up hearing about the sale of the Underhill property and a failed bond measure and theories so convoluted they’ll make your head spin and pretty soon you’re going to wish you’d stuck to talking about the weather.
I am not the person to talk to about whether it’s better to remodel an old building or build new because I have an extremely low bar when it comes to what’s livable. I’m that girl who lived in a pink school bus, a teepee, an off the grid cabin in the Humboldt with no running water or electricity. I lived in two different walk in closets during a rough patch in the late 70’s, a barn’s hayloft one summer and a countless bunch of crappy apartments with holes punched through the sheetrock, black mold, dry rot and no working heaters. I’ve lived on farms where a sagging singlewide mobile home was part of the wages and the smell of cow manure was just the smell of your paycheck.
There are all kinds of ideas about city hall and ways to use the parcel of land at Underhill. Dog parks and a permanent farmer’s market space and workforce housing and an emergency gathering spot have all been discussed along with a bunch of iterations of the city hall building.
Pretty soon the council will vote on how to proceed. We have a mostly new council and this will be a big deal. Maybe the biggest deal this council will ever have to vote on and no matter how they vote, there will be people who won’t agree with their decision.
The councilors volunteer to represent us. We vote for them, or not, and the five folks elected become the people who decide on things like city hall. Five votes, five opinions, five people doing their best to not F things up.
Maybe you felt like me and you didn’t really say what matters most to you about the city hall at the meetings or there wasn’t room on the survey. Maybe you have some thoughts about how we can move forward on something as expensive and divisive as this that nobody’s heard yet.
If that’s the case, I urge you to email your five representatives and tell them what you think before they cast their votes so they can truly be representing.
Kim Rosenberg.
Collages by Kim Rosenberg