New year’s resolutions
2011 was an interesting year as a Mukilteo city councilmember. Decisions were made, ordinances passed, policy set, and another election season is behind us.
Moving forward into 2012 should prove to be as interesting and hopefully more productive at the council level.
In part, because Mukilteo voters came very close to unseating some incumbents (and sending a message that hopefully will be heard) but more so in electing Steve Schmalz to the Mukilteo City Council, who brings a business background, financial expertise, community service, familiarity with Mukilteo’s waterfront and, equally important, a strong desire to represent the desires of Mukilteo residents.
Looking forward to 2012, I’ve come up with some new year’s resolutions for me as a councilmember, and if my read is correct, 2012 could be a very productive year for Mukilteo.
1) Meet with your employers – Although it may not always be clear, Mukilteo councilmembers are elected by Mukilteo voters, and as such, we are accountable to you, not the mayor or the city staff (who work for the mayor).
Steve and I have decided to team up and continue the Council Chat sessions that I’ve done in the past. For now, the plan will be to have the chat sessions the second Wednesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the Rosehill room at the Rosehill Community Center.
The Council Chat for January, however, will be next Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 7:30 p.m. in the Rosehill room.
As I’ve complained about before, the council was convinced to have chime-in meetings in this non-reserved public room so Steve and I will do our best to provide honest and straightforward answers to your questions while trying not to interfere with others who may also be using the room.
Hopefully, the council will consider changing this policy but for now this is what we’ve been given to work with.
2) Count the votes – I’ve always been facts first, politics (are the votes there from the council?) second. While the facts will always be important to me, equally if not more important moving forward will be the question of whether we have the votes necessary.
I recently voted for the plastic bag ban legislation because, while I didn’t have the information I felt was necessary for me to fully support it, I know there were enough yes votes anyway.
What many residents on the ‘no’ side of the debate didn’t realize is at the next council meeting, a motion for reconsideration can only be made by those who voted with the prevailing side.
After receiving additional input from the community on this issue, I realized there was actually a provision of the 5 cent paper bag fee that was different than my original understanding, and so I made a motion for reconsideration, which passed. As a result, the plastic bag ordinance will be reconsidered at a future council meeting.
3) Remember who the “experts” work for – At the last council meeting in 2011 the council was considering removing the alternate ferry road option from our comprehensive plan when a bomb was dropped by a staff member that would have changed everything, including convincing me not to vote for future land acquisition by the city in Japanese Gulch.
The statement was later confirmed to be false by the city attorney, but the misinformation accomplished the administrations intent because we won’t address the comprehensive plan again until later in 2012.
Fortunately, though, the council can make their desire known in the form of a resolution that hopefully will have the votes necessary to pass.
4) Don’t show your hand – One would think by now I would have figured this one out. If you know a politician (or staff member) doesn’t support your position on an issue, don’t show them your hand. It only gives them what they need to sabotage your plan.
5) Don’t give up if you know it’s the right thing to do – There are many things I haven’t pushed because there just wasn’t the support necessary from the council and/or the mayor. Most of the things I’ve “given up” on have been initiated by residents. I’m happy to report councilmember Schmalz is aware of most of these things, and we’ll be working together to ensure the requests are addressed.
6) Don’t sweat the little things – Even though I haven’t done this for quite some time, it’s important to remember.
The preceding feature is published the second Wednesday of each month for The Beacon and is the opinion of Kevin Stoltz and may or may not represent the views of the Mukilteo City Council.