Let's build on city's Comprehensive Plan


I was not surprised the U-B endorsed Jerry Cummins, but its comments about the reasons confuse me.

I did criticize Jerry and the Council for not having a long-term vision for the city. One would expect that they would have such a vision, after all, most of them have served for 20 years or more. And to expect me, a candidate, to provide one seems unrealistic, especially in the short time provided.

My comments were meant to imply I would attempt to bring the Council to appreciate the need for such a vision, work with the public to create the components for such a vision and work to formalize it. As it is, it seems the Council is endlessly reacting to crises rather than setting events into a context where solutions can be put into a long-term context.

And now for the real surprise. There is a Comprehensive Plan for the city updated in 2007 while Jerry was mayor pro-tem. I have reviewed it, and though I think it is a bit weak, I find it to be a great platform from which to work. Sadly, I can see no yearly report on how well the city is meeting the goals and objectives of the plan. As well, the original 1997 plan also seems to have never been tracked for accomplishments.

Interestingly, Goal 3 Objective 1 is related to the issue between the Rural Library District and WALNET.

Not many seem to know of the existence of this plan, and I must thank a member of the Council and Council staff for guiding me to it. Neither the U-B nor Jerry brought it to my attention.

You are right, I am enthusiastic. I understand it is the role of the Council to set policy after clearly specifying why the policy being proposed is good for the city and then letting the city staff carry out the policy. Given some of the policies proposed, for example, the now rescinded vote on making it easy for the city to rezone property, I would like to see the Council explain in writing why it proposes the policies it approves.

The existence of the plan (and this is not the Capital Improvement Plan that Jerry displayed at our meeting) is good. I want to see it improved and used as a basis for policy.

Dick Swenson
Walla Walla


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