I’m writing to reconfirm my commitment to serving as the elected representative of District 5 on the board of the Clatsop County Commissioners.
No one said it would be easy to serve. No one promised that a closed system would be open to change, that entrenched powers would not push back, or that personal attacks would never supplant honest debate. Certainly, I never expected such a political panacea. To see it play out in real life, however, can either be disheartening or motivating. I choose motivation.
My motivation is to serve the great people of Clatsop County, especially those in my home District 5. I have little interest or patience with those few people who would find validation in power, or who like to see themselves as big fish in small ponds.
I do not understand those who would pass on the opportunity to use the board’s authority to make policy that improves lives. The people I serve are those who struggle in our county, who have real needs, aspirations and ideas, and who desperately need a politician to hear them and a voice to speak for them. These are the people who motivate me.
You may have seen the chairman’s opinion that I should resign (“Lee calls for Thompson’s resignation,” The Daily Astorian, Oct. 26). You may have read his letter accusing me of hateful things that an unnecessary, expensive investigation by a Portland attorney could not confirm. I will address those issues publicly, and in detail, at the next board meeting.
For now, it is enough to pause and remind ourselves that the board chairman has publicly announced he is not going to serve beyond the end of his term (December 2018), and that the county manager has announced to county employees that he will resign.
So, the more important issue at hand is this: The timing is right, or will soon be right, for the board to commit itself to diversity of opinion, and for county officials to commit themselves to opening a relatively closed governance process to the fresh air and sunlight of new ideas.
Diversity in our government and on our board is a healthy thing. It is worthwhile, if not imperative, that we work together to express different points of view and that we discuss all paths to common goals. For instance, at the most basic level, the board of the county commissioners is the governing body for Clatsop County. Our county charter says so.
I believe that the governing body should define its mission, form a plan, articulate goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-limited (SMART). I believe we should plan, monitor finances and outcomes, and evaluate our success. That’s our job as the governing body. We have an opportunity to implement those changes.
Since my election in January 2015, I have worked hard for District 5, for Clatsop County, for our region, and for our state. It’s an honor to further efforts to provide affordable housing, sustainable and best use of forest products, and protect the safety and well-being of the people.
My heart is in this place. My commitment and my voice will remain strong.
Clatsop County Commissioner