Northwest NEWS

January 10, 2000



The Woodinville City Council

by Marshall Haley

   For most of my life, I've maintained a fairly cynical view of politicians. I'm glad to report that attending Woodinville City Council meetings has greatly enlightened my ignorant prejudices.

   During the nine months I have covered these meetings, I have been very impressed with the harmonious spirit of cooperation and civility in which the current Council and City staff interact. Even if they do not always agree with each other, they respectfully and thoughtfully listen to each other and to anyone else who speaks at the meetings. They give careful, considerate feedback in discussions with the public or staff.

   I would encourage all citizens--especially any young people who might have an interest in public service--to attend a Woodinville City Council meeting. I believe you would witness a process of government (or most human interaction) that comes closer to an ideal than most you might ever witness.

   I believe you could gain an appreciation for how well you are represented by your elected officials and the city staff members they have hired to work for you. I trust you will witness a group of people who have learned, for the most part, to set aside their personal interests in favor of developing a vision of how to best improve life for the greatest number of Woodinville citizens.

   I trust you will find an all-too-rare group of people who truly want to open themselves to public input, rather than maintain the kind of arrogant stance, assumed by the stereotypical public servant, that discourages such input.

   Unfortunately, the sad lack of citizen attendance at public hearings does not take advantage of that rare opportunity. Every one of these people strikes me as down-to-earth and open-hearted. They all seem very grounded in the fact that they are nothing more than citizens of this town who volunteer personal time to improve the community for their families and neighbors.

   Finally, I want to award an unofficial "certificate of appreciation" to outgoing Mayor Don Brocha for the warm, generous, inclusive nature that he lent as our city's primary representative; and to outgoing Deputy Mayor Scott Hageman for the clarity and insight he brought to issues (that also applies to the other six incumbent councilmembers).

   From what I have seen of new Mayor Randy Ransom and Deputy Mayor Marsha Engel, Woodinville can continue to feel good about the unselfish leadership of their elected representatives for the next two years.

   Professionally speaking, they're simply doing the job we should expect of them.

Marshall Haley is the staff reporter for the Woodinville Weekly.