Summer in the city...

A busy weekend getting the families together to celebrate grads and dads. Saturday showed off the great beauties of the Northwest summer season. Warm and sunny afternoon weather followed by pleasantly warm temperatures extending into the late evening hours. The barbecue scents wafted over the landscape.

It was a weekend of celebration and gatherings. It felt like a blessed time-out from the cultural and economic upheavals shaking us all at our core. However, try as one might to ignore the anger-producing process of getting to the celebrations and reunions, once again the desperate and inane traffic problems of the region were in your face, along with the delicious remains from that special barbecue sauce.

I jest, for I am loath to return from the flights of fancy that this weekend produced for so many families. It felt like the best of summer memories with Grandma X celebrating her granddaughter's graduation, and Uncle Y being seen making new-found overtures to his dad that he hadn't seen or talked with for 20 years. I want to revel in the memories, but Mayor Nickels, at this very busy time of the year for families, has asked for our input, and given us just a short month's time frame.

To promote his $1.8-billion, 20-year tax proposal to fix a backlog of transportation problems, the mayor wants us to fill out a nomination form listing our per-ceptions of the worst problems. Is this carrying the famous "Seattle process" to new heights? He assures us that the "dirty dozen" list will undoubtedly match his own roster of the most urgent problems.

Where is the leadership? Don't we pay the mayor to give the city a well-informed vision that can be clearly presented and understood by the citizenry?

Why does this latest "effort" by the mayor remind me of his much-celebrated and vaunted Pothole Brigade? He got a lot of good press. The calls were answered in 48 hours, as promised. Some major problems were addressed. But two years later, the system is broken. The quick fills are deteriorating. No one has done a follow-up study to see if the program is correcting, in any way, the decline of the city's infrastructure.

This smells like a classic Band-Aid approach, rather than inspired leadership.

I rant because I had the good "fortune" to have to make the 911 call for a beloved one, seriously thrown by an "unfixed" pothole. Six days in the hospital, possible surgery in the future and six months of physical therapy have been the outcome, to date. An aside: The X-ray technicians all commented about the high number of pothole injuries they work on every day.

I fear with good reason that this latest effort by Mayor Nickels for nominations and input from the citizenry will be spun into an evidentiary validation for his tax proposal. What ever happened to open, vigorous public debate and inspired, well-informed leadership?

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