'F' as in Frank

Goofus and Gallant

One of my favorite things about the Highlights kids magazine I remember was a feature called "Goofus and Gallant."

They were two similar boys, at least in appearance, who - shall we say - took different approaches to similar situations.

Goofus seemed to get it wrong, while Gallant did the right thing.

It's a stretch, granted, but it sure seems our neighboring communities of Sunnyside and Grandview are resembling Goofus and Gallant, respectively.

That's not to say Sunnyside always gets it wrong or that Grandview is always right, but those certainly seem to be the tendencies.

The contrast was evident on Monday night this week.

While the Grandview City Council was talking about efforts to work with state legislators - it was the only Lower Valley city who had representatives in Olympia last week - Sunnyside was still chewing over a controversial airport overlay after two years of debate.

Why is this a big deal?

Because when a city has its house in order, trusting relationships between council members and staff, it is free to pursue a bigger vision for the future instead of rehashing old issues.

Without ongoing strife, Gallant - oops Grandview - less than six weeks into 2010 already has a headstart in pursuing a second round of stimulus funding AND a place in line for state funds to upgrade Euclid Road.

Meanwhile Goofus, make that Sunnyside, had three council members switch votes to approve the airport overlay a week after they voted against it after apparent pressure from the eighth Sunnyside Council member, the Port of Sunnyside.

I'd like to say there's hope Goofus can reform his ways.

I'd like to, but I can't, because eight months after firing the city manager it just now figured out it should re-contact two other favorites for the post from last year's hiring process.

It's just now pushing for a permanent city manager after the interim hired a new finance director.

In other words, the new city manager is going to inherit a new finance chief he or she didn't hire and with whom they may or not may see eye to eye.

Sadder still is the former poster child for dysfunctional government, Mabton, appears to be getting its act together, leaving Sunnyside as the new face of struggling government.

Goofus no longer, the Mabton City Council and new Mayor Angel Reyna have gallantly moved ahead with a five-day work week less than six weeks after taking office. At loggerheads no more, Mabton seems to have learned its way.

If you're keeping score at home, that's two for Gallant and one for Goofus.


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