CL Council: Compromise needed on the important issue of filling a vacancy

Cascade Locks Council members left to right Randy Holmstrom, Glenda Groves and Bruce Fitzpatrick take the oath of office, led by Justice the Peace Cindy Mitchell.

Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea.
Cascade Locks Council members left to right Randy Holmstrom, Glenda Groves and Bruce Fitzpatrick take the oath of office, led by Justice the Peace Cindy Mitchell.

The Cascade Locks City Council should ask for applications, and choose the best person for its sixth member.

The decision on how to fill Mayor Tom Cramblett’s council vacancy reached a stalemate Monday (see article, page A1).

The appointment would be for two years, the remainder of Cramblett’s term. The city charter states that council shall select or appoint someone to fill the vacancy, but leaves open to interpretation how to reach that decision.

Cramblett and the five current council members are deadlocked on how to proceed.

The argument for appointing “the next guy in line” is compelling: It was the people who voted, and the results were close between runners-up Jeff Helfrich and Richard Randall, with 221 and 215 votes, respectively. (This compares to winners Glenda Groves’ 250, Randy Holmstrom’s 248 and Bruce Fitpatrick’s 247.)

However, the last time the city appointed a councilor it did so by fielding applications and interviewing those interested.

Given the difference of opinion, the broader-based solution is the better choice for the community of Cascade Locks. Any eligible citizen, including those who were on the November ballot, could apply and be considered on his or her merits.

It is time for the city to complete the slate of people who will guide the city through what will be a challenging next two years, and beyond.

New City Administrator Gordon Zimmerman needs as much direction, and as little division, as possible.

The same argument applies with regards to the city’s recently enhanced cooperation with the Port of Cascade Locks. The port is currently without a general manager, and while that position is in the able hands of acting manager Paul Koch, it would help both agencies, and hence the community, to have a full complement of city councilors.

At its next meeting, the city council should move to open up the process, move quickly to conduct the interviews, and fill that empty chair.

This is a time for compromise. And once that compromise is made, the council should take steps to review and update the charter so the process is codified and understood in the future.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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