Northwest NEWS

August 3, 1998


It's our town

It was a Saturday morning and I woke up and headed into our wonderful town of Carnation. As I drove through town, I saw Bonnie Remlinger putting out a sign for "free pony rides." The River Run Cafe was welcoming their usual crowd for breakfast, and I admired Harvold's strawberry and raspberry fields and I thought to myself, "These are the established citizens of this community who have made this town what it is today."
   My task at hand was to turn on the irrigation at the local cemetery. As I was watering the plants, several of our citizens greeted me. In talking to many of them at length, it dawned on me how angry the citizens of this community are with the city government. Our police force is in disarray and has been for the last year. Gunner Ottness, a long time citizen, has been chased from town.
   These citizens have lived here for many years, and I realized that they were angry with the city officials who have only lived in Carnation for a short period of time. Have these people polarized our community?
   I've served on the Beautification Committee sharing ideas with our city and submitted various drawings for the Town Center, street beautification and a senior citizen parking lot. We were promised this work would be completed by 1997. It is now 1998, and the only work completed is a new street and sidewalk to the Swiftwater Development where most of our city officials live. I understand they need a new street, but what happened to the rest of the projects? Now I understand why our long-term citizens and business community are so upset with our city government. What's happening to our town?
   Pete's Tavern and the old hotel are having difficulty being completed. The Balloon Depot is threatening to sue the city. The business district has been horribly abused.
   Rick Pezzner has a strong group of business people which should be recognized. This group is threatening a lawsuit to turn the city back to King County; they say we would be better off.
   Our problems with the city government lie with some individuals who think they have become very powerful. Those individuals may not conform to King County guidelines but may choose their own personal views causing polarization. We need a check and balance system that is now non-existent.
   I've driven through town and watched our city engineer running a compactor to build sidewalks. What a tremendous waste of his ability. He is not a laborer. How can city officials justify our city engineer compacting sidewalks when he should be reviewing projects that are his responsibility as an engineer.
   I am saddened we've lost the involvement of our citizens and business community. We need a cross-section of our town, i.e., renters, farmers, laborers and the business community to be involved in all aspects of our city government, not just special interest groups like Swiftwater. Granted, Swiftwater residents have good ideas; we just need more than one group of people to be involved. That is what being a community is all about!
   In reading the paper, city council and acting mayor say they would like to appoint the mayor. Everyone deserves the opportunity to vote for that official. Since the current mayor was appointed and not elected by popular vote, he needs to initiate public meetings with the entire community and listen to everyone's needs, not just the city government's alone.
   Let's protect our town and reunite the community! After all, it's our town.
   Raymond R. Walker, Carnation