The Cactus Speaks: Our shiny new car – the majority Council

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This column by Earl Gipson is a view of SeaTac city government. It does not necessarily reflect the views of The SeaTac Blog nor its staff. We are seeking additional regular columnists to reflect different opinions and views of SeaTac residents. Those interested can e-mail us at [email protected].]

by Earl Gipson

Our shiny new car – the majority Council

The SeaTac Council meeting and Study Session on March 25 was such a let down I cannot find the right words (without cussing) for it so I will write a metaphorical story about our new car – the SeaTac Council Majority.

It was a cold night in January of 2015 when our 1990 Acura leaked so much oil and transmission fluid I knew it was on its last legs (previous City Council majority). So we saved and planned knowing that we would have to replace it with little money and a hope the next car we bought would not require as much maintenance, money, and sweat fixing all the little things that kept breaking.

We selected our new car (Council candidates) in June but paying for it was another thing so a lot more overtime and work had to be done (election campaign).

Finally in November we purchased our selected new car (General Election) and we were quite pleased for only the first 10 miles. All of sudden the car started veering sharply to the right and as we struggled to keep it in the center of the lane. We drove it back to the dealer and he said he couldn’t take it back outright but would replace the steering column for free (Forschler). Okay a glitch.

Got the car home after a few days and things still did not go well. It started making noises from under the hood and would die completely intermittently (Council meetings) and finally it just stopped. Some troubleshooting found the engine had seized (Interim City Manager Donny Payne) and is going to be in the shop for a couple of weeks (Personnel Investigation).

While we wait for our new car to be repaired our neighbors are quietly and loudly laughing at us (neighboring cities, Port, etc.) I realize we won’t be getting another new car any time soon (next election) and we may have to keep repairing this one under warranty.

We don’t get angry easily but we have had about enough. It may be time to find a new car dealership and get the heck away from our politely smug neighbors and make a new start. The damn car better work when it comes out of the shop.

In Summary
Our City is hurt/sick and has been for some time. The question is if it is a persistent virus or terminal (play on words to the airport in our City’s midst) cancer?

Cactus music selection
I guess the part of the video I like is the end when he gets through the house into the open air.

Don’t Dream Its Over. Crowded House 1986:



8 Responses to “The Cactus Speaks: Our shiny new car – the majority Council”
  1. Doug Hill says:

    What we are actually witnessing is the long term ineptitude and inefficiencies that are part of the culture that has been running rampant in city government and the push back from many who don’t like the exposure. So until the dead wood that sits in many of those offices is put on the bonfire pile, it might be a slow go. And now being a generation of instant gratification, how bout a little patience. Last I checked we are only 3 months into the big change.

    • martinmc says:

      Mr. HIll is really saying that the disaster at city hall couldn’t possibly be the fault of the current city council majority. The same council members that he, his brother-in-law Mr. Beck, Mercer Island Cassans, and Mr. Tapio formed a PAC to elect. Because then it would mean that his investment was a poor one.
      So, what to do? Blame the employees.
      Yes. I’m sure it’s the fault of city employees that Council members Forschler and Kwan arrogantly went to the City of Des Moines and told them told them how to run their city.
      Or, it’s the employee’s fault that the new council majority brought in radical right- wing politician from Spokane to convince the council not to take a Federal Block Grant (funded from federal taxes, which we all pay). Or, it has to be city employee’s fault that a Manager from Wendy’s was hired by the new majority to become the City Manager, with no public vetting whatsoever. Blame the employees. Accuse them of being inept and inefficient, because you can’t admit that those labels currently belong to your newly elected politicians, Mr. Hill. Blame the Police Officers, Firemen, Parks Maintenance Workers, Senior Services Managers, people sweeping the streets, people working behind the permit counter, people paying the bills, people now working with no manager, people desperately attempting to maintain their moral and dignity in that nutso environment over there that you, Mr. Hill, helped to elect.

      • seatac says:

        martinmc, are you still hurting from the defeat of the julia patterson clan? do you realize they had not one, not two, but more than 10 different OUTSIDE PAC organizations supporting them, spending over $100,000.00 to get mia gregerson and the other patterson puppets into office?

        compare that with the barely $9k spent by the local PAC trying to help seatac.

        are you really complaining about the $9k spent by locals vs. over $100k spent by outside special interest PAC backing mia gregerson, hand-led by john wyble, who still ended up losing with less than 40% of the votes?

        time for a reality check.

        • martinmc says:

          Seatac says: Interest groups fund politicians. It happens all the time, in every city, and at every level of government. That’s not my point, or the problem. The problem is when Mr. Hill, a major donor to the current successful council majority, decides to blame the employees for the mistakes of his chosen politicians. That’s not being honest or fair, and is demoralizing for the people trying to keep that place running over there, while the council majority tries to figure out which way is up.

  2. Craig Baker says:

    I like the analogy, although I am not sure it fits my perception of government (at any level). There is a key point that is missed here. The real changes can only happen when the council is made aware that we, the citizens, see a problem and expect it to be changed. After all, the council can only fix what they know is broken and they can’t be expected to be mind readers.

    I for one, felt that the old council didn’t listen to anyone during the comment periods or through other methods. That is my perception, which made my reality! With our new council, we have to expect different behavior and we have to behave differently and maybe change our expectations. This means we need to communicate, in a professional manner, what we see and expect. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done, not many people can really remove emotion; especially when it’s something important to them.

    As Doug Hill pointed out, there are still problems on the council and in the city. The first one that comes to mind is Professionalism. Government is a business and should hold itself accountable to the shareholders (citizens). All interactions should be professional and courteous. The shareholders (citizens) should be held to the same standard, professional and courteous to the business. Do we, the shareholders, want a Wal-Mart or a Nordstroms? Call, email or visit with the Council members and tell them, in a courteous and professional manner, what the expectations are and where you as an individual see problems. We all have different problems and expectations, so we have to allow for the council to identify the biggest issues/concerns and prioritize them accordingly.

    Again, this is going to take some time to get things going in a better and brighter direction. We all need some patience, and I would like to see some thought-out and planned changes rather than fast and furious knee-jerk reactions.

  3. Kathie Brave says:

    I was concerned from the start with so many new people on the council. I knew it would take time for them to get up to speed. And it certainly has! But, as Doug says, it’s been so bad for so long that it will be awhile before we can get things straightened out. Lots of dead wood, too many haven’t been doing their job for so long they think they can still get by with it. WE have got to let them know we aren’t taking it anymore. As Craig says, let them know. Write, call, anything you can do to keep on top of what’s going on. I have been to city hall too many times not to realize there are way too many not doing their job or doing it poorly. Keep talking people! I am also at fault for not attending meetings lately but, in my defense, life is too short to listen to the same things being talked about over and over and over! Guess I’d best walk the talk here.

  4. Mr. Ctac says:

    People,people…its the hoodtac City I have grown up in for 40yr now. It will B the hoodtac City for 40+.
    By changing the face of it,the people stay the same.

  5. Janice Taylor says:

    Simple Definition of bureaucracy
    : a large group of people who are involved in running a government but who are not elected
    : a system of government or business that has many complicated rules and ways of doing things

    MW fails to note bureaucracies function in a way to keep members in jobs. They are not lean, mean, decision-making machines. Our new Council came in with an action plan, something voters wanted and directly clashing with typical bureaucratic modus operandi. Feathers have been ruffled and egos pricked because some actions have happened outside normal city operating procedure.

    Change is tough in any organization. Patience, cooperation, professionalism and compromise are required on all sides.