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Sunny Side

Don't bog down city business with personal issues

These past two weeks have been interesting, to say the least. I have been encouraged and dismayed. Dismayed by the action of the Sunnyside City Council rejecting my request to accept our legal advertising bid and encouraged by all the many people who have taken the time to say... "good job...go get them...hang in there...what can I do?" One thing I would encourage everyone to do is make their feelings known. If you support council, let them know. If you are unhappy with their actions, let them know. Letters to the editor are welcome on either side of the issue.

In my opinion I believe recent actions by Councilman Bruce Ricks are inappropriate behavior for a councilperson who professes to have the city's best interests at heart. To say he will use his council vote to "get in the pockets" of the newspaper, or for that matter any businesses is unethical and citizens should let him and council know that.

Mr. Ricks says his problem is not with the newspaper, but with Bob Story, Managing Editor, and past publisher, Tom Lanctot. I worked with Tom Lanctot for 30 years and played a part in bringing Bob Story to the newspaper as managing editor. I fully support them and their decisions. This newspaper is not just the editor and a past publisher. It is everyone that works here. It is the people who subscribe to it and advertise in it. As publisher, I am the first in line when there is a problem. It comes with the job, don't leave me out of the scenario.

A plague. That is what Mr. Ricks referred to the newspaper as...a plague. That would mean that by reporting on city business, local business openings, publishing photos of local students of the month, wedding announcements, menus, sporting events, church news, features on local people and events, as well as a multitude of other stories constitutes a plague. Employing 25 full-time employees, six part-time employees and a network of more than 25 independent newspaper carriers is a plague on our city.

The newspaper has been a staunch supporter of many community projects over the years. We have supported Sunnyside, Inc, and its economic development efforts since its inception. We've supported the hospital's foundation campaign, and were instrumental in reestablishing the Grid Kid program in Sunnyside in the 1990s. Most recently we supported the city's Centennial Square project with many positive news articles, monetary contributions and thousands of dollars of inkind space in the newspaper soliciting sponsors for the project. Our support of the Veteran's Memorial in Sunnyside, I believe has been instrumental in its success and still is to this day. Remember "Sagebrush to Centennial?" We donated thousands of dollars worth of space in the newspaper for that project, which was the brainchild of Joan Niemeyer at the Parks and Rec department. We also were able to put together a book, "A Pictorial History of Sunnyside," for the city's Centennial Celebration. If this is the definition of a plague Mr. Ricks, please give me a copy of your dictionary.

I guess the problem is that when someone does not go along with Mr. Ricks' train of thought or isn't a mouthpiece for council at every turn, they are a plague. If they offer a different opinion or input about city business, they are a plague.

Mr. Ricks' actions, which were supported by council, either knowingly or unknowingly, do nothing but hurt people's perception of our city government and our town.

Something as simple as a bid for legal advertising need not be a huge issue if people would just go about their business and not let personal feeling bog down the process. Our bid was in good faith and for the proper reasons. I feel that the rejection of the bid was not.

All the while our city council is in the interview process for a new city manager.

My hopes are that issues such as this don't influence council during this very important process. It is imperative that we have a good city manager who can run this town in a fair and honest manner under the direction of a fair and honest city council.

. Tim Graff can be contacted at

(509) 837-4500, or e-mail him at tgraff@eaglenewspapers.com

1 - Tim Graff • March 31, 2004 • 10:53 AM

Proofed_________ • Corrected & Placed in Folder_____________

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