Participate in government after elections


I found Walla Walla City Council member Shane Laib’s recent letter to the editor (Oct. 31) difficult to understand.

He suggests electing a “team player” and then remarks that it takes four Council members to accomplish anything. He clearly misunderstands the concept of team.

Does a basketball team win when only three players agree on tactics and strategy? Does a baseball team win when only five members work toward an agreed goal? Clearly the answers are, no.

Worse, he asks that we find out “what each candidate stands for.” How do we do that? I am guessing he wants them to expose their political ideologies in some way that doesn’t conflict with the supposedly nonpartisan nature of the City Council.

But as we all know, candidates tend to avoid exposing their ideologies until after they are elected. I am pleased that an ideologically driven member such as Mr. Laib is leaving the Council, but do I expect to know in advance what the ideologies of the candidates are before they give evidence of such through their behavior? Again, I think not.

It would be nice if the Council would act as a team. The Council could do this by setting out the perceived priorities of the Council (not those of its members) as expressed by constituents in various surveys, provide a rough cost to follow up on these, discuss means to pay for the costs, and then ask for a vote of confidence from the public. We would then see how such a team intends to play and whether there is a fan base to support it.

In many ways it is obvious it won’t get such a base. Many in Walla Walla see the future in terms of what is good for them individually (usually low taxes and specific benefits) and won’t support what is good for others if it will cost them anything or inconvenience them.

Sadly, we are saddled with those whom we elect. The best we can do after the election is take an active part in the government by making our feelings known, criticizing when we disagree and always offering an alternative to the policies we disagree with. No one gets to complain unless they vote and then participate in the process of governance.

Dick Swenson

Walla Walla


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