North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

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By Katie Bourg
Senior Daze 

Definition of public servant: serve the public

 


We hear and read a lot about public servants that aren’t all they ought to be. We used to say ‘scandal sells papers.’ In our new techy world it sells space. On the radio, the TV, and every other new-fangled media we now live with. The more salacious, the more profit. Politicians know that and some use it very well, if not always properly. The public servant who does his job to the best of his ability doesn’t make for much in the way of headlines. It is easy to become a little jaundiced, or even just indifferent when scanning or listening to the news. You have to work a little harder to be fair in your judgments.

Public servants are people. They live among us. Some try harder than others. Some go bad, at times.

Some bend in the wrong direction a little, but straighten up on their own. And sometimes they make mistakes. Who is perfect all the time?

I remember my father, a long time qualified builder, applying for a building permit on a long ago occasion. The overly critical (spell that pompous) clerk barely scanned the plans he set before him. He threw his hands in the air and practically shouted, “You couldn’t build a house from these. I couldn’t build a house from these.” He then turned and stomped into the room behind his counter. My father quietly said, “He’s right. He couldn’t.” I lived thirty years in the house that couldn’t be built. Every inspector praised the workmanship.

In years that followed I had occasion to apply for plans, drawn the way my father taught me. Other clerks were cooperative, and gave compliments on my efforts. For all I know, the first little man may have been having a bad day. I’ve had a few. Haven’t you, dear reader?

And we sometimes seem to enjoy beating up on police officers. Well, not today.

One recent night my son came home, parked and went to bed. I hadn’t waited up for him. In the morning I opened the curtains and looked out to an empty driveway. His reaction was pretty swift for someone so deep in the arms of slumber. A call to the police followed. I had an appointment and could not stay and sympathize. When I returned two hours later he was on his way to ask a neighbor for a ride. The car had been found. Twenty minutes were allowed to retrieve it or a tow fee would result. We got there in time, and found the officer waiting for us. Couldn’t have been more decent or sympathetic. And we couldn’t have been more grateful. There was damage, but hopefully the tow fee we did not face will take care of it. Don’t tell me there aren’t good cops. When you need them, they are there.

As for what you find in the papers…well, my hometown made the news this week. Not quite as expected.

When I was a girl—way back--there was one street in our neighborhood that never was paved. It was named Tyler, a very steep hill covered with gravel. We used to ride our bikes lickety-split from the top to the bottom. Somehow we did not destroy ourselves, though we tried.

This week Pueblo County announced they had made a million dollars in taxes on marijuana sales since the first of the year. They only have two pot shops, but will soon have three more.

Maybe they can finally pave Tyler.

 

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