In the early 1960s, when many of us still had black and white televisions, the three major networks dominated the market. Back then the news was much less filtered. As Joe Friday would say, we got “Just the Facts”. Walter Cronkite was the CBS Evening News anchor who delivered the Nation and the World to our living rooms. He ended each broadcast with a famous saying “And that’s the way it is”, which was reassuring since we then knew “the way it was”.
The News changed over the years, as it became more entertainment, with biases that affected the way it was presented, if it was presented at all. Today, we go from the CNN on the left to Fox on the right, with no apologies.
Through all this broadcasting, a legion of “solders”, made sure every word and facial expression was captured – the cameramen (camera-persons today). They had no bias. They delivered what came through the camera lens. They did not edit or comment on the broadcast. They did nothing that was self-serving. That tradition changed last month at a Vashon Park District meeting.
Our local camera-person and Park District Commissioner candidate, created the “news”, by indicating I was naïve to suggest we should delay voting on the final piece of construction associated with the VES Fields. He was confident the Almighty King County would never reverse its position, even if it meant poor Vashon Parks had to spend $121,000 it did not have.
Since I have been working with government agencies for more than 30 years, I was confident our reasonable request would be granted, even if the matter had to be escalated to a person of higher authority. While King County did change its position, the Park District still had to waste $71,000 unwinding the construction contract that never should have been signed.
The same candidate’s explanation of his opposition to the Park levy as a “grand flip-flop” fails to recognize the gravity of such a position. With no levy, we would have had no Park District. That is why I campaigned for the levy, even though I have had many issues with our financial management.
What caused the change in his position? - The “subordination of the pool…to do(ing) something about the Tramp Harbor dock”. While I am on record as having supported the pool and believe a year ’round program would be great, I am unable to follow why he believed the pool was more deserving for financial reasons. In this instance, he fails to understand that in finance, it is the bottom-line, not the top-line that matters.
Yes, the Tramp Harbor dock generates no income and the pool collects thousands of dollars in user fees. However, the Tramp Harbor dock creates minimal expenses, while the pool is very expensive. That is why the cost to maintain the dock for the four years ending December 2015 will be less than $5,000, while the pool cost to the Park District will be more than $125,000 for the same period. Scott Bonney is doing an excellent job of maximizing pool revenue, while controlling expenses. However, even he knows public pools never break-even.
This brings us to a larger issue, this candidate’s willingness to serve, even if there is “a loss of faith” in the future.
Despite multiple setbacks, I have continued to serve the Vashon voters who elected me. When my proposal for a permanent reserve in our budget was defeated, I remained. When my proposal to decrease the levy rate, so property taxes would not increase next year lost, I did not quit. When I made a motion to decrease fees for the pool and Paradise Ridge failed, I did not lose faith. And, I did not walk away, when the board chose to pave the north parking lot, rather than contest the requirement with King County. I even remained when a fellow board member asked why I kept making motions, since I knew they would be defeated.