Democracy is messy, think about it | Letter

May 29, 2014

Editor, The Beacon:

John Owen, former noted sports journalist, and current Edmonds resident, used his cooking column to have some fun with the City Council, not a courageous act these days.

No one has ever accused me of being humor challenged, but I'm going to have to give Mr. Owen a "4" for humor. Better luck in the free skate.

Mr. Owen equated the Mayor with the head coach of a football team, and suggested that Mr. Earling "kick butt" on the council.

Mr. Owen went on to lament that the Mayor does not have authority over the council, and wished someone was in charge.

To make it clear, the mayor is not "in charge" of Edmonds government. He's not the king, the emperor, the tsar, the CEO or the head coach.

He has no more authority over the council than the head librarian down the street, or the third-grade classroom president of Ms. Ellison's elementary class. He's in charge of city employees. That's a hard enough job, by the way.

You know who's at the top of the organizational chart of Edmonds, Mr. Sports Journalist?

The citizens who pay the bills, and elect the mayor and council — our town's 12th man.

Now and then, Edmonds' 12th man elects some extra-colorful personalities and, subsequently, some extra-colorful conflicts rear their heads. Democracy is messy. Who knew?

For those who believe that the seven councilmembers are more dysfunctional than a different seven elected officials, I suggest a thought experiment.

Think how things would work if Mr. Earling had to share his authority with Mike Cooper, Gary Haakenson, Barbara Fahey, Laura Hall, Larry Naughten and Harve Harrison — the previous six mayors of Edmonds. Now that would be colorful.

For those who find democracy too untidy, after Mr. Putin extinguishes the messiness around his parts, you should invite him to come and run Edmonds.

Gary Bloom



Comments (1)
Posted by: Jim Shelton | May 29, 2014 14:24

I agree Mr. Owen's analogy is a bit off.  Maybe he's looking for the leadership normally manifest in a good head coach or CEO.  Although not "in charge" of the U.S. government, we often look to (and praise/blame) our president to lead our country.  When things get done/don't get done, the president often shares praise/blame along with congress. So looking at how our national government works, I must agree with Mr. Bloom that we shouldn't be surprised at dysfunction.  But since this a republic in which we elect someone to represent us, I also agree with him that it is our duty to elect those who are good stewards of our taxes, will produce meaningful outcomes, AND will lead the city.

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