The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Wainwright: I may not be best for council


To The Eagle:

In response to George Wehrfritz’s comments in last week’s Eagle, I need to explain some apparent misconceptions.

First of all, the recall petition against Jacobson, Smith, Burnham and Cameron is supported by the group called Concerned Citizens of Cathlamet (CCC), not solely myself. I helped set up CCC and act as a spokesperson for the anonymous group.

The group is aproximately 15 people who are mostly long term area residents, business owners and in some instances, town elders. We were initially concerned about what was and wasn’t happening to our town in early 2018, but formally came together as a group after the Butler Street disaster.

I have spent time on the town planning commission, regularly attended the monthly town meetings, worked with council liaisons, and closely followed the town’s developments. Referring to George’s suggestion, I don’t need to be on the current council to understand the process and the complicity that exists within. I, and the four disgruntled planning commissioners that abruptly resigned over the last two years, know only too well what does and doesn’t happen, and what effectively running the town entails.

We all know that in a small town, public service is a huge, essentially unpaid commitment. Because someone is a good friend, or just a warm, breathing body though, doesn’t make them the right person for a mayoral or council position. We’ve recently seen this with our mayor appointing a finance liaison who recently resigned after being in that position for a long time because (paraphrasing) “she didn’t really understand money.” This is unacceptable for a town of 600 (+/-) with over $6 million of debt. We’ve also seen this with the town voting last month to spend $20,000 for a consultant to explain to them how they should make decisions and plan for the future.

Regarding me running for the currently vacant council position: Just because I vocalize some of the changes that CCC thinks need to be made, it doesn’t make me the best candidate to apply for the vacant seat. I appreciate George’s vote of confidence, but I’ve recently spoken with interested people that I think would make much better council members at this time than I.

As for nominations, I agree with George 100 percent. We regularly see the poor results of our most recent nominee, and we’ve recently seen the four being recalled badger, berate and disgust Tanya Waller into resigning. Considering all of this, putting a good candidate as a nominee in front of this current council, Laurel Waller excluded, is like putting a Band-Aid on a gaping chest wound.

Short of the four resigning, CCC feels using the recall process is the most effective way to quickly get the right people in place to properly represent Cathlamet’s interests. As voters, we need to recognize our mistakes. CCC feels Cathlamet can’t afford another 2-4 years for the current mayor and council positions to expire, thus the recall petition. Let’s let the town’s voters decide.

CCC can confidently tell Cathlamet that after the recall, regardless of who is nominated to fill the currently vacant seat, there will be solid candidates surfacing to fill the four recalled positions. These people will help lead Cathlamet back onto the proper fiscal and planning course it needs to follow, just as council member Laurel Waller is regularly trying to accomplish.

I hope this helps inform Eagle readers, and dispels some of the rumors out there. Thanks to all those that are trying to be a more aware and informed neighbor. Cathlamet needs your support.

Bill Wainwright



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