More from McNeil

February 17, 2006 12:00 am

City Councilor Lori McNeil her resignation Monday, citing "levels of frustration that I never thought possible."

"I feel as though I was alone in fighting a battle that I could not win," she wrote in a letter to this newspaper. "The teamwork that is so important at all levels of government is lacking here at the city level."

If so, Baker City residents deserved more than a "Dear John" letter that's short on specifics.

What battles? What issues?

Where were the "politics and end-running that seems to be the normal way of doing business at the City of Baker City?"

We felt McNeil showed some promise as a city councilor.

Her attendance at city council meetings had become a concern, for certain, and she appeared to lack the ability to deal directly with a individual who criticized her.

But she started campaigning for office late after receiving two write-in votes and having her name plucked from a hat in the wake of Councilor Chuck Phegley's untimely death.

And she wound up the lead vote-getter in the 2004 election by hundreds of votes.

This newspaper endorsed her, but only after asking her point blank about the likelihood of being the only woman on a board of older men. She indicated she could stand her ground.

And once in office, she started asking some questions — not just of the city, but of its citizens, whom she invited to two public forums to hear their thoughts.

Participants in those forums weren't shy to share what they thought of their city government.

McNeil owes them the same.

She wasn't alone — she had 3,004 people who voted for her. If there are problems at city hall, she had the ability — no, the responsibility — of the bully pulpit of city council to focus public attention on those problems.

It's impossible for the public to forge solutions if the problems cannot be identified. As a city councilor, McNeil was in a position to facilitate this process.

We wish that she wouldn't have walked away from what she saw as problems when it was within her grasp to call attention to them.

That's arguably what 3,004 people wanted her to do.