Challenges for candidates and voters


The filings for various local offices are now complete.

Two years ago, I decided to run for Walla Walla City Council, so I look at this as an anniversary. Today, I wonder why I agreed to run. I was new to Walla Walla, having moved here in July 2007, and didn’t really have a clue as to what the City Council did.

I did know I found its public meetings incredibly dull and can’t recall having heard Council members debate anything except in a few work sessions. The Council has a consent agenda that enables it to rubber stamp a pile of applications for temporary liquor permits, and it approves expense accounts for attending meetings at various places the Council members “must” attend as a result of being appointed to various committees here and in the state.

I don’t remember every hearing or reading about the benefit their attendance brings to Walla Walla. I guess traveling is fun. I certainly enjoy it and would love to have my expenses paid to do so.

Thus a question arises. What is the value to the voters of having a city council-city manager (RCW 35.18) form of government? What can I credit having been done for the benefit of Walla Walla completely as a result of having a city council? How would being elected have enabled me to make a contribution or effect needed changes?

Note, I have ceased attending Council meetings as I have never received any response to my complaints without having to make these complaints repeatedly and in public.

I campaigned on a platform of wanting to make the budget and the budget process more transparent. Both are still immensely opaque. I wonder why there is no budget advisory committee except that I now understand how toothless the majority of the advisory committees are.

So, incumbents and challengers, I challenge you to campaign on the following topics: The City Council is important and here is why!

Only concrete examples of accomplishments that would not have taken place unless an active city council existed can be referenced.

Why wouldn’t a commission form of government (RCW 35.17) be just as good? On what issues affecting services and taxes have you heard a Council member publicly speak as an advocate or opponent?

Why do they earn $400 a month?

And to the voters, I challenge you to state your expectations of those who are running.

Dick Swenson

Walla Walla


Iopine 2 years, 6 months ago

Very good letter Mr Swenson - The only issues that I've seen come from the City Council has been to give raises and some weeks before or after retirement. Rather a worthless entity at best.


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