Two longtime Cascade Locks residents showed both anger and voices of reason in a City Council meeting Monday that proved both fractured and cathartic.
Council Member Tom Cramblett and citizen Bobby Walker definitely helped cooler heads to prevail. (Details on page A1.)
They showed that people can change their minds, even within moments of anger, and steer a course of decision the right way.
Cramblett, a four-year Cascade Locks council veteran, did a diplomatic turnaround Monday and Walker, the CLHS 1973 grad, found himself at the center of a storm not of his asking.
Cramblett acted in the right way at just the right moment, after first lamenting being "hammered" by his constituents and issuing a blustery diatribe against councilman Lance Masters for behavior he judged inappropriate (denied by Masters).
But in the heated meeting, as the council teetered at the controversial filling of one new vacancy, it was Cramblett's well-timed acknowledgement that others were right that led him to change his mind and vote against making the appointment.
Cramblett, initially disagreeing, stopped to listen to Masters and councilor Eva Zerfing support Bobby Walker's idea to set a town meeting to hear the views of all who are interested in being appointed.
On the notion of appointing Walker, Cramblett said, "This isn't the way to go about it."
Cramblett then went on to say, "Politics are an ugly thing, all over the country they're ugly, and they have certainly been ugly around here. I'd just like to make it the least ugly we can."
For his part, Walker showed a flash of anger at some members of the audience, and at Masters, when his name was first mentioned as the successor to Haight.
(All vacant positions would be up for election in November 2012.)
Walker even stepped out on the meeting at one point, with his candidacy for appointment still on the table, but returned, and took his name out of the running instead, adding a frank appraisal of what is facing the community. Combined with Cramblett's comments, it helped change the tenor of the discussion.
"This is a continuation of what has gone on here for 10 years," Walker said. "What we have in this town is one third on side, one third on the other, and the last third doesn't seem to care. We've got to find a way to work together."
He urged the city to consider a town meeting to hear from prospective council appointees - probably the best idea at this time for smoothing and clarifying the churning, turbid waters in Cascade Locks.