Home Opinion Editorials No rubber stamps
No rubber stamps
A couple days after four of his colleagues on the Baker City Council stripped him of his title, former Mayor Richard Langrell told Herald reporter Pat Caldwell that he would “sit there and be quiet with my hands folded and be a rubber stamp like the other four.”
We hope Langrell’s tongue was stuck in his cheek.
We’re pretty sure it was in the vicinity, anyway.
His constituents didn’t elect him to represent them as a rubber stamp, a metaphor for an elected official who never questions the majority opinion.
And a year and a half into his four-year term, Langrell hasn’t exactly been a malleable councilor.
Twice in this space earlier this year we urged Langrell to resign as mayor because we don’t think it’s appropriate that he remain, in effect, the face of the city while he’s suing the city trying to reclaim water and sewer fees he paid. But we also want him to stay on as councilor because he’s an effective representative for a significant percentage of city residents.
Langrell has been a vocal and consistent questioner of the city’s spending priorities — especially related to employees’ wages and benefits, the largest chunk of the city’s budget.
He also has been a persistent critic of the city’s somewhat sluggish response in repairing a fence designed to keep cattle from getting into the watershed that supplies drinking water to the city’s 10,000 residents.
Both are vital issues that deserve a vigorous debate among councilors, not a mild consensus.