Choosing wisely for city, schools

Some end-of-the-year, start-of-the-new-one column items:

Some end-of-the-year, start-of-the-new-one column items:

• The dawning of 2009 means two public officials who never face voters – but can feel the heat – are closer to being selected.

Kent School District is picking a new superintendent to replace Barbara Grohe, who will retire next summer. Maple Valley is on the lookout for a new city manager to succeed Anthony Hemstad, who resigned last July.

No one has more on the line personally in serving their respective constituencies. As the top administrators of the district and the city, the buck stops with them when things don’t go well. Their reputations can also rise when things are good. For their sake and the public’s, the School Board and City Council must choose wisely.

• One of the best feel-good stories of 2008 touched people who love fairs – in this case, the King County Fair.

I admit it’s been probably five years since I’ve attended the oldest fair west of the Mississippi River (it’s been around for 145 years, back in Abraham Lincoln’s days), so count me among the tens of thousands who have consistently skipped it and gave some county government decisionmakers added reason for proposing its demise.

When County Executive Ron Sims floated the notion that the fair is creaky, relatively unloved and should be canceled as a budget-cutting move by the county, the Reporter heard from people with Covington and Maple Valley ties who said the fair should be saved. More importantly, the County Council and Sims listened to the public outcry, and so the fair was included in next year’s county budget. They might have to do it again in the years to come, but the people have spoken.

• Merry Titus has written her last book review for the Reporter. She plans to quit her job with King County Library Services Dec. 31 and move to Wenatchee in January.

Our readers who have enjoyed Merry’s insights will miss her, but they won’t have to go without reviews. Three of her co-workers in the Covington-Maple Valley-Black Diamond cluster of library branches have volunteered to take turns being reviewers. They’ll be starting soon, and we couldn’t be happier to join with them to encourage interest in reading among all ages.

Publisher/editor Pat Jenkins can be reached at (425) 432-1209 (extension 1050) and