Blaine City Council re-appoints Robinson as mayor, establishes economic development committee

Published on Wed, Jan 22, 2014 by Brandy Kiger Shreve

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Blaine City Council has been busy ironing out the details of their vision for governing the city for the new year.

At their regular January 13 meeting, council members decided who would serve as mayor and mayor pro tem for 2014, but it wasn’t a cut-and-dry decision.

“I recommend that we appoint someone from central Blaine and someone from Semiahmoo for mayor and mayor pro tem,” council member Dennis Olason suggested in response for the call for nominations.

In 2013, Harry Robinson and Paul Greenough held the positions, respectively, and both resided in Semiahmoo. The mayor pro tem acts as mayor when the mayor is unavailable.

“My concern is perception,” Olason said. “There are times when issues come up for consideration that have a greater impact in one area or another. To avoid a perception of indifference, I suggest that we have one representative from central Blaine and one from Semiahmoo so that issues are given equal attention.”

Olason then nominated council member Bonnie Onyon for the mayor pro tem position.

“There is a division that crops up between Semiahmoo and Blaine. But we should never be dividing the city by location in our decisions,” said council member Charlie Hawkins. “We should be simply picking the best person for the job. I think Paul has done a great job at what he does, in spite of being from Semiahmoo.”

Council member Clark Cotner furthered that line of thinking. “I guess I missed the meeting where we were excommunicated from the city,” he said. “I don’t see any reason why Semiahmoo should be singled out. We’re in the city, we pay the same taxes.”

Harry Robinson was again appointed as mayor with a vote of 7–0. Paul Greenough was appointed mayor pro tem with a vote of 4–3, with Olason, Onyon and Steve Lawrenson opposed.

Onyon stated that she only was opposed out of deference to Olason’s nomination.

In other council news, the council is making strides with the economic development committee and is making it an official and established entity.

“We had a really good meeting the other day, and brought together Joel Douglas and Ken Imus and a few other people to talk about things, and I have to say we’re making really positive progress,” Cotner said. “We’re going to start making this a regular meeting, develop policies and procedures, have minutes and start assigning people to the board.”

“We’re going to create more structure and get it on the calendar. I think it will be really beneficial,” said city manager Dave Wilbrecht. “It’s important to start narrowing down its focus and move forward on projects like the gateway airport parcel. We have a good group that is currently meeting, and it would be good to have one or two more members. It’s very business focused right now. I’m asking you to consider whether you would like to create some balance with regular citizens.”

Once established, the economic development committee meetings will be added to the city calendar and become part of the public record.

“I think it’s really important to have minutes so we know how we’re progressing,” Robinson said.