OPINION: Mayor’s letter, policies miss the mark

I am writing this in response to Mayor Vini Samuel’s letter to the editor in The Vidette published on Oct. 11, 2017.

Mayor Samuel has had her say, now allow me to interpret what she really said.

When she talks about “complain, tear down and pass falsehoods” she means “disagrees with her ideas.”

She talks about her big sign with five goals she wanted to promote as though it is a mandate for everyone to follow. I don’t recall anything about a roundabout or rest area on those signs — where did that come from?

Let’s face the fact that her goals and what is good for the City are not necessarily the same. She goes on to list the Rotarian Guidelines. Come on, give me a break. She won’t even face the public to discuss her “ideas” let alone address any of the four guidelines listed. Her litmus test appears to be, “Does it please me?”

Are you happy with the direction that the city is going?

Do you think it is reasonable to hire two new employees, one a department head and the other a chief financial officer at over $100,000 annually, before benefits?

Do you think it is reasonable to introduce some major changes to the city, namely a roundabout and rest area, without ever holding a public meeting to discuss them?

What about the Wi-Fi project that has never had any real evaluation to determine if it is beneficial. It was marketed as a way to draw people off the freeway and into town. Has it? Is there enough revenue produced to even cover the expenses?

The rest area is marketed in the same way and is absolutely a losing proposition. This “build it and they will come” idea is unrealistic. Do the math and there is no way that it would create enough revenue to even cover the maintenance costs. You don’t base economic recovery on increased sales tax, especially when it involves a $2 million capital outlay. Oh, and most of all…rest areas are not a good idea, period.

She says I have never suggested any alternative ideas, but that is not true. I suggested that she put the property for sale so it could be put back on the tax roles and allow a businessperson to develop it. There is no risk to the city and revenue would be generated.

It was also suggested that she put up signage to direct the public to the new restrooms going into Fleet Park. That makes far more sense than spending $2 million of taxpayer money. (Yes, grant money is still taxpayer money.) However, in her world, “it’s my way or the highway.”

Of course Vini would like to keep Tyler Trimble and Ian Cope on the city council. They do everything she wants them to do. Wouldn’t it be nice to have some independent thinkers on the council? A real city council has diversity and people that represent their constituents, not the mayor. Wouldn’t that be a breath of fresh air? And since when does a Mayor endorse any candidates? Very tacky. Sounds like she fears her style of governing may be threatened if her candidates don’t get the nod.

In another tacky move, Mayor Samuel attacks my son. She would like to hear more positive rhetoric from him. That means listen to her ideas and agree with everything. I really don’t think that that would happen. He will represent his constituents and ask the difficult questions. For example, is the Wi-Fi debacle paying for itself? Is it achieving the original goal? It is interesting that these questions have never been brought up by the current city council.

If you are happy with the direction of the city and Mayor Samuel’s style of governing, then stay the course. If not, let’s get some new faces on the council. I recommend voting for Barry Iverson, Robert Hatley and Ray Meyer. (I know that Meyer has dropped out, but if he receives enough votes, Trimble would be out.) We need to break up this coalition that currently exists on the council.

It’s no secret that Vini has higher political aspirations. Could it be that her rein here in Montesano is her stepping stone to a higher office? She could wave her big sign and say ”See, I did it all.” The thing that disturbs me most is her style of governing. Everything is done behind the scenes and the public only gets to hear what she wants, without ever being informed or involved in the process.

Doug Iverson is a resident of Montesano and a former mayor.