Insanity isn’t the word for it | IN OUR OPINION

City Councilman Bob Scales is wrong.

Very wrong. Flat-earth wrong.

Some of his fellow council members aren’t crazy.

This week, the council again grappled — this time, more vigorously — with the topic of road repairs.

The annual approval of a contract for street asphalting, usually a routine matter that’s approved at the start of the good but too-short summertime construction season, has been stuck in a rut since Councilman David Ward said critical questions still loomed over one of the types of repairs planned, called double chip sealing.

But after an extensive staff presentation Wednesday that dispelled the notion that this kind of road work was strange and exotic, too expensive or just not needed, some on the council said they were just doing their job by asking questions, and, well, staff explanations were too slow in coming and their answers still weren’t enough.

Councilman Scales, for his part, said the handwringing was a wasteful exercise of time and money, an attempt to second-guess the professional engineering experts who work for the city, an abandonment of the council’s role as policy-makers.

In his word, “insanity.”

In the end, Ward and Councilwoman Debbi Lester voted against the contract for this year’s road repairs, roughly half of which would have paid for the type of street repairs they said they liked.

Yes, you read that right. Two council members voted against fixing any of the city’s sorry streets this year.

It’s not insanity, though. What Scales might be missing is the broader context of our current political climate.

In these Tea Party times that we’re living in, we’ve been exposed to the constant cries from those who think government is bloated, those who think government workers don’t know what they’re doing, those who think the less that’s spent on the things that government does, the better. That’s what they believe. We may not agree with them, but that doesn’t make them crazy.

Here on Bainbridge, we seem to have some newbies on the council who are more interested in scoring political points and sending some sort of message to city workers rather than working on the basic things that benefit all islanders — such as maintaining a functional network of roads.

They are not crazy. They know what they are doing.

Insane? No. A great disappointment? Yes.

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