I was wondering about …

By Lou Brancaccio, Columbian Editor



So I was wondering … how do we best reflect the community with photos?

I had a great discussion with our photo editor, Troy Wayrynen, about a year-end photo package that we do most years. This year it was looking like it was going to be all grief and tragedy (spot news). And even though that often dominates the news, we absolutely cover the good that’s going on.

So we agreed that a true reflection of the community would include the good as well.

You’ll see the photo package on Sunday, Jan. 1.

• • •

So I was wondering … how exactly to interpret a window sign I came across while walking in the not-most-exclusive part of downtown Vancouver.

This sign was in a bail bonds company’s window:

“Seasons Greetings! Peace on Earth.”

Hey, I loved the sign. But I was thinking. If there really, really was peace on Earth, would there be a need for a bail bonds guy?

• • •

So I was wondering … how the city council members justify all the raises they keep giving out?

I tried to engage the mayor on this topic but the best he could give me was “Happy Holidays!”

Back at ya, Mr. Mayor, but about this raise thing.

The most recent was a 3.5 percent increase for the city manager. He already makes more than $150,000 a year.

The Columbian has written an editorial condemning the raise. Not because the city manager isn’t doing a great job. We think he is. But because the city has to quit digging into taxpayers’ pockets to take care of their own. And by giving the top guy a raise the city loses its positioning power when everyone else comes calling with their hand out.

The real question I couldn’t get an answer to was whether the mayor was aware of the impending public relations disaster that would follow.

And it got me to wondering. (See, I wonder a lot.) Is anyone keeping these politicians on the right path?

Then it hit me. What the mayor needs — really — is a consigliere.

If you’re Italian you know who that is. If you’ve seen “The Godfather,” you know who that is. A trusted adviser. Worth his weight in gold.

Why do you need one? Because he prevents you from doing stupid stuff.

The city already has a high-priced public information officer. But — and I’m just guessin’ here — I suspect she doesn’t have the coraggio to keep them on the right path.

These folks need some help.

Help or not, they had to be thinking something when they gave out this most recent raise.

Yes, things are loosening up a bit in the economy, and yes, more companies are giving out raises. But most of us still are trying to keep our heads above water.

Even though the mayor was mum with me, I pulled off the Internet a few things he did say on this raise topic.

He said he knows a guy who knows a guy who knows someone that says there’s a guy that’s sorta, kinda like the city manager in the private sector and he’s making $100,000 more then the city manager plus he got a $15,000 bonus.

Sheese. Hey, I know a couple guys as well. But I guess my guys and your guys hang at different malt shops.

Mr. Mayor, if you’d like to spend a few days with me to check out the real people, we could head to the grocery story or bowling alley or Beaches. If those don’t work for ya, meet me at the Bail Bonds window.

• • •

Peace on Earth.

Lou Brancaccio is The Columbian’s editor. Reach him at 360-735-4505 or lou.brancaccio@columbian.com.

Don't Do Stupid Stuff Mugs