Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Kudos for quick action
Wednesday late afternoon, I was at the Sandbar Cafe enjoying the kite board scene — color, action, phenomenal athleticism and acrobatics. A kite boarder from Seattle performed an amazing jump, extraordinarily high with stunts at the top. Unfortunately, he landed face down in the water and didn’t move.
What happened next defines the community character of Hood River: The people at the cafe immediately hailed kite boarders to come to the rescue and within 45 seconds the downed boarder was turned over and breathing. There were at least six people immediately on cellphones calling 9-1-1. Two off-duty trauma nurses quickly waded to the scene.
The leader of the band playing at the Sandbar used their PA system to call for someone to bring a stand-up paddle board for transport and that was done quickly. The Hood River Fire Department crew was on the scene by the time that the injured boarder was transferred to shore and transported him to the hospital.
That’s the way it ought to happen. Good job, Hood Riverites!
Having been present at the last two city council meetings, certain elements of the issues are now clear to me. Mr. Francis is no longer our city manager and our elected officials will be looking to replace him with the best interest of Hood River in mind.
As Mr. Francis indicated he has had several “offers,” I feel assured that he will be just fine moving forward.
Throughout this event there have been many references to the city charter of 1991 and what many felt pointed to limitations of our city council. As the city manager is responsible for the hiring and firing of city staff, the council is responsible for the hiring and firing of the city manager.
The often-referred-to review of Mr. Francis’ job performance — or lack of said review — also points to where the proper authority and accountability lies. This view is also supported by the many references to city council in the municipal codes.
I feel confident that decisions made by those we have chosen to represent us are made with competent legal advice and careful consideration involving facts that the public is not always privy to.
While I respect the intellect of the audience I cannot think their views are those of the entire city’s good purpose, while costing the taxpayer and causing further division in our city. As with the dissolution of any relationship, there is the chance for upset by those close to the parties involved, I would hope this upset can begin to heal as it could be a hindrance to our future.
I would like to thank Mr. Francis for his work for our city and wish him the best of luck. I would also like to convey my deep respect for those we have elected and express my gratitude for their time, thoughts and efforts expended moving our beloved city forward.
Scott W. Skelton
Thanks, mayor and council
Now that a handful of outspoken residents have used Mayor Arthur Babitz and some of our city council members as a punching bag over the decision of City Manager Bob Francis to resign, can we take a deep breath and stop the name calling?
Bob Francis quit his job. Francis clearly has many admirers, and I certainly have no reason to believe he’s not a fine man. But the simple fact is that he chose to resign. He was not terminated.
I don’t know the details why, and I suspect most other residents of Hood River don’t either. Those who are involved understandably don’t want to speak about what is now a private personnel matter. All the other chatter about who said what amounts to little more than rumor and gossip.
And frankly, it’s shameful. We are so fortunate in this city to have seven smart, capable and willing citizens who donate hundreds of hours of their time to serve on our City Council. Babitz has essentially put his successful career as an electrical engineer on hold to serve as mayor, now in his second term.
Aside from a small stipend for mayor, these are not salaried positions. Our council members give up time with family, friends, careers and interests to wade through arcane rules and sit through hours-long public hearings on our behalf. I may not agree with all of their decisions, but I sure admire their dedication. And I am confident they have the city’s best interests at heart.
How do we thank them? We trash their reputations without having all the facts. We accuse them of charges they can’t defend. We suggest that rather than working tirelessly on behalf of the city, Mayor Babitz should be “kissing babies.” Seriously?
Hood River is a pretty special little city. I’m thrilled we’ve moved beyond figurehead mayors and good old boys. I’m delighted to have someone of Babitz’s caliber as my mayor. And if you don’t feel that way, remember: The mayor and council are elected positions. Put your name on the ballot and try that thankless job for awhile.
So here’s a sincere and heartfelt thank you to Arthur Babitz, Laurent Picard and the rest of our city council. I appreciate all that you do on behalf of Hood River.
Boycott Thailand fish
Thailand fishermen are using Burmese laborers as slaves. They beat them and do not pay them any wages. This fact has been published in print and on the web.
Grocery stores in the Mid-Columbia area and throughout all of Oregon should boycott any and all seafood products from Thailand until their fisherman slavery stops. As consumers we should not be enabling this slavery by buying any fish products from Thailand.