Having Don Jensen as mayor has not worked out badly for Longview at all. The promising Beech Street project is moving forward. The R.A. Long Park gazebo was expensive for what it is, but it’s an improvement. Longview’s street crews are better manned. Instead of selling property in Longview to build in Woodland, the housing authority is working to provide more opportunities in Longview. The city has become an easier place to walk or ride a bike.
Ruth Kendall’s campaign to unseat Jensen has a lot to do with civility. She doesn’t feel that the mayor, or other council members, have conducted themselves properly, and she’s running on a promise to install a new sense of decorum and respect.
We, too, were jarred at the time by some of the things that have happened under Jensen, like threatening to fire the housing authority board or planning to chop the library budget by a quarter. Looking back at how those situations were resolved, perhaps they were simply impassioned attempts to shake up sleepy agencies and muster attention and energy toward decisions that would eventually help Longview.
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If Kendall is elected, her attempts to restore civility may be hampered. The council would need to elect a new mayor; and even if Kendall wins that role, no council member’s powers include regulating other council members’ social-media use or enforcing politeness. Is there any guarantee that decorum will itself improve the experience of living in Longview?
Remember, all of the members of the city council are elected officials, and each is charged by their constituents to represent the people’s voice in their own way.
We think Don Jensen has done a good job of representing the voters who gave him his seat, and encourage voters to keep him on the council.