It’s easy to forget just how bad things were at City Hall in Ocean Shores in the wake of the Great Recession. The bottom line on the city’s checkbook looked about like that of a decent insurance salesman, which is to say a couple hundred grand.
Lawsuits for various government blunders were not uncommon, and the general rancor level in town was off the charts.
By comparison, things are going swimmingly these days, and that’s one reason the North Coast News is endorsing Crystal Dingler for re-election as mayor. You can’t argue with results.
The other reason is that she is simply better qualified. You can’t argue with her resume. She held top-level management jobs for two decades at the University of Washington and in the private sector, each with increasing responsibility that required negotiations, contracts, contract management, strategy and more complexities.
Late in life she got a law degree and went into practice. She still reviews and drafts legal papers for the city before the city’s attorney signs off on the final work.
Her opponent, Susan Conniry, talks about the incredible wealth of talent in the retired community of Ocean Shores. Crystal Dingler is a perfect example.
Her detractors might say it looks good on paper, but you have to perform. She does. She’s businesslike and efficient. The city is on sound financial ground, the community is growing in population, and the city and the business community seem to be working in partnership instead of opposition.
Conniry, a City Council member, will remain an important voice on the council. Her vision of government is bottom-up and it’s hard to argue with that, but sometimes representative government means electing the people you trust to make the best decisions and trusting them to make them. We’re not sure her vision of everybody-in government is practical.
The Washington Coast could be an economic force from Seabrook to the South Beach if a few things go right. A golf course here and a passenger ferry there, and pretty soon things look a lot different for the North Beach. It will mean working in partnership with Westport, the Quinault Indian Nation, Seabrook, and the county, state and federal governments — but it doesn’t take much to imagine it.
It could take a generation, but Crystal Dingler has the sort of executive skills that could make Ocean Shores an important part in establishing the footing for that vision.
The North Coast News Editorial Board includes Publisher Mike Hrycko, Editor Doug Barker, City Editor David Haerle, Lifestyle Editor Kat Bryant and Vidette Editor Michael Lang.