Answering Randall

I got a good laugh out of Ged W. Randall’s letter titled “What next?”

I think the taxpayers of Lewiston have been wondering about that for the last 20 years or so under the city manager form of government. And if this system of government is so wonderful, why do only three cities in Idaho have it.

Basically, it is a nonrepresentative form of government since the city manager only answers to four people to keep his job. He certainly isn’t accountable to the people.

The one decent city manager we had was fired by the four minions of the Lewiston Fire Department since they thought they should be running the city.

Then Randall complains about the minority of the voters who had enough of this sorry form of government.

Funny — the vote on the library never did pass and never had more than a 20 percent voter turnout. But that didn’t stop city staff and the city council from stealing $800,000 from the sanitation fund plus charging the taxpayers 2½ percent interest on their own money.

I still hear those famous words from one city councilor, who said he knew it was not the best location, but voted for it anyway.

And where in the city code does it say city department heads should have guaranteed jobs? If they are not capable of doing an honest job, they should be let go.

Mike Lorenz


Not the people’s advocate

When Lewiston rejected the decrepit Progressive ideal of government by experts and returned to a strong mayor system, Marty Trillhaase observed, “In the early 1900s, when Americans were enamored with science and engineering, cities sought out professional administration in place of politicians. More than a century later, people are disillusioned if not outright distrustful of expertise.”

Distrustful? Try more sophisticated and less fascinated by shiny objects, Mr. Trillhaase.

Plenty of clowns and carpetbaggers hold degrees today. They are not a guarantor of competence or character.

Moreover, “government by experts” is at odds with “government of the people, by the people, and for the people,” creating de facto rule by oligarchic bureaucracies beyond the reach of the ballot box.

Those zealously devoted to bureaucratic rule inevitably betray the people’s best interest.

That’s proven true of the Lewiston Tribune and its owners.

The Alfords are good people. Their desire to do civic good is sincere. However, they’re committed to doing so through government and para-governmental organizations controlled by bureaucrats rather than elected officials.

Thus the Tribune found itself supporting a failed city administration and, it turned out, opposing the good of the people as determined by the people’s collective will.

Thus the paper acts as press agent for the federal health bureaucracy instead of as a watchdog.

Historically, a Roman tribune protected the people from the government. They were to be the advocates not of just one party or faction but of all everyday citizens.

Our Tribune has forgotten how to do that.

Thomas A. Hennigan


All aboard

Let’s time-travel onto the bridge of the unsinkable RMS Titanic. We’ll warn the captain to slow down. But he replies: “We like traveling fast. I don’t believe in icebergs, and a crew member agrees with me. Ships sink all the time. It’s natural. Besides, God won’t let anything bad happen to us.”

The reply sounds absurd.

In 1912, Michigan Sen. William Alden Smith chaired the Titanic investigation committee. He concluded, “Indifference to danger was one of the direct and contributing causes of this unnecessary tragedy.” So what was the real threat, iceberg or flawed thinking?

Today, when people argue against mitigating climate change, the far-reaching consequences of their similarly flawed, indifferent thinking are infinitely more serious.

Ask your representatives and senators to protect our spaceship Earth by putting a price on carbon to reduce emissions, slow and reverse climate change, and buy ourselves some time. Please. For the sake of our grandkids.

Simon A. Smith


Call first

I see letters like those of Kathy Schock’s and I wonder if they know how to operate a cellphone.

If they do, why don’t they use it to talk to Alan Nygaard, the city manager, or Dan Marsh, the city finance director?

Is it because they have been brainwashed by friends to think that all government employees are liars and any answer they would get would be total fiction?

So how is this supposed to improve with a change of government, except maybe fire everyone who works at the city and rehire them as at-will employees?

They may be accountable. But is that really going to be a guarantee of transparency (aka honesty)?

Ged W. Randall