I’m responding to the november 18 editorial by Cara Mico in the online Tillamook County Pioneer.
i’m wondering where she got her information and who fact-checked it?
i think this article is lacking and/or misconstruing facts. it follows that it is damaging to the people working for manzanita—the city manager and the council.
also, there are several confusing sentences that made me go “hunh? what is she trying to say?” each of those confusing sentences boggles my understanding of english language grammar!
as a nehalem resident who can’t vote in manzanita, i have nevertheless been following manzanita politics for about a year and a half.
words in CAPITAL LETTERS are my comments/questions.
i am disappointed in the TCP for allowing publication of this article as written.
i know i’ve been pretty blunt, but i have the dual lifelong ingrained habits of being a nitpicker of grammatical usage and of being a stickler for the truth.
See article and my COMMENTS below.
om peace namaste
Manzanita’s City Hall Project Brings Community Disagreement to a Head
Posted on November 18, 2023 by Cara Mico, Assistant Editor
Manzanita’s ambitious City Hall project has become a focal point of contention, reflecting deep divides within the community and its leadership. The project, aimed at modernizing city infrastructure, has been met with both staunch opposition and fervent support, laying bare the challenges of balancing progress with fiscal prudence.
But the project comes at a time when all of the city’s infrastructure is aging out of its life cycle and when new water rates, which had been stable for years following the vote to increase them, are now being implemented with many homeowners left unable to pay them. AFTER NOT HAVING BEEN RAISED FOR TEN YEARS, THE WATER RATES JUST SWITCHED TO A MONTHLY BILL IN OCTOBER, SO IT SEEMS A LITTLE SOON TO KNOW JUST WHO ARE THE FOLKS WHO ARE FINANCIALLY STRESSED TO PAY THEIR BILL.
Vocal opponents criticize the project’s estimated $5 million bond (IT IS NOT A BOND. THE CITY COUNCIL VOTED TO BORROW MONEY RATHER THAN PRESENT A BOND TO THE VOTERS) as excessive, spotlighting concerns over the city manager’s spending without considering public opinion, which had voted the project down previously. IT’S NOT THE CITY MANAGER’S SPENDING DECISION! IT’S THE COUNCIL THAT MADE THE DECISION. THIS IS EGREGIOUSLY INCORRECT. The current plan drew significant public scrutiny, so much so that a petition received over 120 signatures to bring the question to a vote. When the petition was presented to the Mayor nothing but the Council chose to move forward with the second phase of the project anyway.
Proponents argue the existing buildings, deemed outdated and unsafe over three decades ago, necessitate this overhaul. They highlight the long-term savings from consolidating city administration and emergency management facilities as well as creating a public meeting space for regular meetings and disaster readiness.
The project caused rifts in the city council and staff, with resignations potentially influenced by these internal tensions. NOT SO. THE RIFTS WERE BETWEEN THE MAYOR AND CITY STAFF, AND THERE WAS LACK OF COMMUNICATION BETWEEN THE MAYOR AND THE COUNCILORS. The Mayor’s recent resignation and two vacant board positions signal a governance system under strain. Amidst these resignations, the city manager has also brought a lawsuit to the city for a hostile work environment. MY UNDERSTANDING IS THAT THERE IS NO LAW SUIT. THERE’S AN INVESTIGATION INTO AN EMPLOYEE COMPLAINT. THE CITY’S LAWYER AND INSURANCE COMPANY ASKED FOR AN INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION. At the moment there is the potential for three appointed positions, the only way to change that would be to change the City Charter, which would require a public vote. THERE IS NOT POTENTIAL FOR THREE APPOINTED POSITIONS—TWO HAVE ALREADY BEEN FILLED. THERE IS POTENTIAL FOR ONE APPOINTED POSITION, THE MAYOR’S SEAT. THE FIRST COUNCILOR WHO RESIGNED WAS THE ONLY ONE YOUNG ENOUGH TO STILL BE WORKING FULL TIME, AND SHE FOUND THE WORK LOAD TOO MUCH. THE SECOND OF THOSE TWO COUNCILORS RESIGNED BECAUSE HE MOVED AWAY (FAR AWAY). ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH “A GOVERNANCE SYSTEM UNDER STRAIN.” THE TCP MIGHT CHOOSE TO INTERVIEW THESE TWO AND LEARN “FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH” THEIR REASONS FOR RESIGNING/MOVING.
With Manzanita grappling with leadership gaps and a community divided, the path forward for the City Hall project remains uncertain. I DON’T THINK THE CITY IS “GRAPPLING WITH “LEADERSHIP GAPS.” THEY STILL HAVE THE CALM, CONSIDERED VOICES OF LINDA KOZLOWSKI AND JERRY SPEGMAN. THEY HAVE THE TWO NEW COUNCILORS KATHRYN STOCK AND BRAD HART, WHO EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE NEW TO THE COUNCIL, YET THEY ARE EXPERIENCED, INTELLIGENT, THOUGHTFUL PEOPLE. As the city confronts these challenges, the need for unified vision and collaborative problem-solving has never been more critical. Check back for a more in-depth discussion with the former mayor and other residents. RATHER THAN WRITE NEGATIVE “IN-DEPTH DISCUSSION WITH THE FORMER MAYOR,” WHY NOT INTERVIEW THE PRESENT AND RECENTLY-RESIGNED CITY COUNCILORS?
HOW ABOUT CREATING POSITIVE SUPPORT FOR BOTH EXPERIENCED AND NEW MANZANITA CITY COUNCILORS?