Read the Complete Editorial from Ron Bonlender - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Read the Complete Editorial from Ron Bonlender

Posted: Updated:

Re: Bloggergate

I have been asked repeatedly what I think should happen in the wake of the revelations about Rick Ensey's campaign. 

I believe that the community needs to heal and that it is in the best interests of Yakima for Rick Ensey to decline serving on the council, and for the council to appoint a qualified member of the community to fill his term until the next regularly scheduled election.  I do not think that the council should appoint any of the previous candidates in the last election for this position (including myself).  The voters did not choose us, so I think it best for the council too not do so.

Don't get me wrong though!  I have thoroughly enjoyed serving on the Council; battling graffiti, revitalizing downtown, and promoting measures to clean up our city.  There is nothing more that I would like to do than continue to work to raise our city's standards, attract businesses, and improve our image.  But the voters didn't pick me and my ideas. 

Ensey's platform in this nonpartisan race boiled down to him being a Republican and therefore he reflected the values of the citizen's of Yakima.  Such a platform was enough for the voters.  I have accepted that and I am not interested in using this current situation to resume my seat on the council next year.

We all have to live with our own actions, and while I believe that the honorable thing for Ensey to do is to resign, that is a decision only he can make.  In the end, I hope that he has learned from this experience.  He is a young man with his life still ahead of him. 

I was not surprised to find the same kind of vitriol and mean spirited propaganda in Bruce Smith's Yakima Business Times as was in the now infamous blog.  During candidate debates I would see Bruce and Diane Ensey sitting together and exchanging notes.  But both of them must live with their actions, and Mr. Smith must live with the damage done to his discredited publication.   

I do want to say something about the direction of our community and particularly my concerns about Yakima being run by a political party, rather than its citizenry.  I think it is unhealthy for our city to be controlled solely by one political party, Republican or Democratic.  Ideas are stifled, group-think prevails, community progress slows, institutions and publications are pressured toward bias, and political posturing replaces practical problem solving.  Accountability becomes a meaningless word and special interest groups leverage undue influence on council decisions.

The only encouraging thing that has come from this debacle is the spontaneous willingness of people to publicly denounce the politicizing of a nonpartisan race by Jim Keightley, Bruce Smith and other strong Ensey friends and supporters.   More notable, reaction of abhorrence to their tactics by fellow citizens offers hope that we may move beyond the lies and deceit that has sullied our public discourse and set poor examples for our children, and instead start looking forward again toward ways to improve our city.  

As for me, I am very proud to have served four years on the Yakima City Council and proud of my accomplishments. I plan on spending more time with my wife, family, friends and business. Regarding the lawsuit, of course I will pursue it with vigor. As Mark Twain (or someone) once said, "He who steals my wallet takes trash, He who steals my character takes my everything."

Ron Bonlender