Thursday, October 13, 2011
When Barbara Clark first sought a seat on the Walla Walla City Council she was a vocal critic of some aspects of city government. And she was a watchdog who insisted the public's business be done in public.
Now, 14 years later Clark -- Mayor Barbara Clark -- is seeking another term on the City Council. She is still as outspoken and thoughtful as when she was first elected to the Council. She remains a watchdog of city government -- albeit serving in the role from inside.
The citizens of Walla Walla are served extremely well with Clark as a Council member. We strongly urge voters to re-elect her.
Clark's challenger, Bradley Sandau, could certainly do the job if elected to the Council. He is a bright, energetic and clearly willing to speak his mind. Sandau has only a cursory knowledge of city government. But while his grasp of the city government and the role of Council members is weak, it's clear he has the capacity to pick it up quickly.
However, Sandau picked the wrong person to run against.
We would hope that if Sandau does not win this election that he make another run in two years. Sandau is a strong candidate.
But Clark is an extraordinary Council member.
Clark takes the time to study all of the issues before the Council and she then insists her colleagues discuss these issues in public meetings. Clark holds her colleagues accountable to the people.
We don't always agree with Clark's stands on issues (although we often do agree), but we always respect how she made her decision. We also appreciate her willingness to take minority views and offer a different perspective. Clark is always respectful of her colleagues and the public when she disagrees. This approach ultimately serves to improve the final decision by the Council
Clark's tenacity is also a plus. When she gets onto an idea she keeps plugging away until she gets a resolution.
For example, Clark believes the Council should broadcast its meetings live on cable TV. Currently the sound can be heard but there is no camera. The majority of the Council apparently prefers to stay out of sight.
Yet, despite losing a vote on the issue (a vote she forced), Clark vows to keep plugging away on this issue.
Clark's tenacity does yield results. She was critical to getting the city behind the effort to keep the Jonathan M. Wainwright Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Walla Walla and she has championed establishing a center to help small businesses, which is on the cusp of coming to fruition.
Clark volunteers her time for a variety of causes and organizations outside of her role as a Council member. Clark cares deeply about Walla Walla and its people and demonstrates that commitment regularly.
We urge voters to re-elect Barbara Clark to the Walla Walla City Council.