Thanks, Clint

Public service is something of a family tradition for the Estes family of Twisp. Long-time Twisp Town Council member Clint Estes, who recently stepped down after nine years of meetings and countless hours of conversations with residents, followed in his father’s footsteps when he first joined the council.

Twisp owes a big “thank you” to Estes. As he pointed out in a News article last week, the town was not in great shape when he first came on board the council. Budget and personnel issues were bogging down progress.

Things have improved dramatically since then, Estes noted, but he also observed that it has often been a long, slow slog through bureaucracy and resistance to change. Persistence and practicality are as important as vision.

We’ve noted before that holding elective office in a small community can be more exasperating than it is burdensome. Town council and school board members are highly visible, easily accessible and conveniently vulnerable to criticism and blame. It’s no place for the thin-skinned. If they haul along the added baggage of a personal or political agenda — and we’ve all seen that happen — the odds for cooperation and meaningful action drop. Witness the U.S. Congress. Getting even, getting your own way or getting attention are all bad reasons to run for local office.

Clint Estes kept his focus on getting done what was best for Twisp, and he deserves commendation for that.

Say what?

State Rep. Joel Kretz told the Seattle Times (in a story published last weekend about a proposal to mine copper on Flagg Mountain above Mazama) that he is “tremendously supportive” of the project and that “many people are.”

It might be instructive for us if Kretz — who lives in Wauconda and does not represent the Methow Valley in the Legislature — would reveal the “many people” who along with him think it would be a great idea to destroy both the natural beauty and the tourism economy of the Methow Valley for the sake of a Canadian company that has no other interest than exploiting us. It’s not likely any of those “many people” have homes or tourism-dependent businesses in the upper end of the valley, or happily use the valley’s extensive network of trails and other recreational amenities. In fact, it’s not likely that many of them live in the valley at all.

Maybe it’s just safe for a politician who relies on the heavily “red” vote of eastern Okanogan County to endorse, from a far distance, the devastation of a more moderate area where he doesn’t have to answer to the voters — who, so far, appear to be overwhelmingly opposed to the copper mining exploration. Not that paying attention to the desires of the Methow Valley is a particularly strong suit for many politicians east of the Loup Loup summit.

There are some politicians who pay attention to the Methow, visit us and listen to us. They’re the ones who, unlike Kretz, actually represent the Methow in the Legislature. They are Sen. Linda Evans Parlette (linda.parlette@leg.wa.gov), Rep. Cary Condotta (cary.condotta@leg.wa.gov) and Rep. Brad Hawkins (brad.hawkins@leg.wa.gov). If you haven’t already, let them know how you feel about the copper mining proposal. You might contact Kretz, too (joel.kretz@leg.wa.gov), in case the “many people” he is talking to don’t include you.

— Don Nelson