Message from our Mayors: to make change happen,do something different

February 14, 2012

By Martha Martin, Editor

The collaboraters: Mayors Higgins and Guard

Camas Mayor Scott Higgins and Washougal Mayor Sean Guard called a very different kind of meeting last Thursday.  This one was just for the local media.

Since I’m new at this reporting business, I had no idea that this had never been done before.  These two cities have never actually asked the media to their own meeting with the two mayors.

I sat at the table in City Hall, with Mayor Guard on my left, followed by Heather Acheson from the Post Record, Mayor Higgins across the table, and Ray Legendre from the Columbian to Higgins’ left.

Observation of people is my thing, so I looked at the faces of those attending.  The media folks looked stoic; no emotion.  Perhaps they were not sure what to expect, or were attempting to appear unbiased.

And the two Mayors?  This was their meeting, so they were more relaxed, even cheerful.  They both talked about their concerns with the way things have been communicated, and that they wanted it to be better.

The main message, which of course is important, is that both cities are working together as partners, and that no one city is trying to be the bigger of the two.

The symbolism of the two sitting at this table, having the media folks sitting right there with them was not lost on this new editor.  The message was “we are all in this together, and Camas and Washougal are partners”.

Taking your message to the media is always tricky; if you read the All Politics are Local recently, you will see what the Columbian did with this.  I was not impressed.

Yes, I have a bias, I’ll admit it (although I did write the story as factually as possible; Click here to read).  This is my community, and I would rather have the two mayors talking together.   It just seems the better direction.

Now, this kind of gesture is pretty phenomenal.  Historically, Camas and Washougal have been seen as rivals.  Those outside of our area constantly refer to Washougal as the “wayward step-child”, where as Camas has garnered the more grounded and stable reputation.

To have our mayors collaborate sends the right message.  I support them continuing to make this a public display as often as they can.   It is something different, and when you want to make change, that’s where you start.