Letters to the Editor

Scales’ change of mind looks like opportunism | Letters | April 17

Bob Scales’ explanation (“City needs new leadership, not a drastic change,” April 10) of his switch from favoring the council-manager initiative to opposing it makes little sense.

Bob says that when his term on the City Council ended in December 2007 he “believed that a council-manager government would eliminate the political maneuvering that often occurs between the mayor and the council.” He also saw a need “to implement the organizational changes that were needed at city hall,” an apparent reference to the “Benchmark Study,” which concluded, among other things, that our local government was overstaffed and undermanaged.

What’s changed? Today, he says: “The city is in financial turmoil. The council is deeply divided. The city’s management team is ineffective and unproductive.” From that, he concludes: “This is the worst possible time to change our city’s form of government.”

In other words, Bob thinks things have gotten worse, so we should stick with what we’ve got.

This is curious logic. The only things that really have changed since Bob signed the petition in favor of council-manager government are that the city is now in a financial crisis, and that Bob has decided to run for mayor, a position that would be eliminated should the council-manager initiative pass.

I respected Bob for his efforts to improve our city government when he was on the council, and cannot but admire his courage in offering to again take on local elective office while maintaining a job in Seattle.

But if we’re to take him seriously – as a political candidate or critic of the council-manager movement – he needs to come up with a better explanation of his switch. Right now it looks a little too opportunistic, and Bob, we’ve been burned too many times to just ignore this kind of flip-flop.

Jim Mooney

Pleasant Beach Drive

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