Word on the Street

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Category: Ruston


Could UP Town Center raise curtain on new movie theater?

With the Galaxy Narrows Theater closing today, could a new theater open nearby at University Place’s Town Center?

“It’s still a possibility, but I don’t want to say it’s a strong possibility,” said City Attorney Steve Victor, whose been involved in negotiations to land tenants at the mixed-use development on Bridgeport Way.

The closure leaves Tacoma and its immediate surrounding area without a mainstream theater, although one is planned at Point Ruston.

Victor said three theater chains other than Cinemark, which announced plans last year to construct a nine-screen multiplex at Point Ruston last year under its Century brand, have

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Voters rejecting Ruston measure

Ruston Mayor Bob Everding resigned Monday, a day before residents apparently voted down a measure that would transfer the town’s executive power to an administrator.

Entering Wednesday evening, 91 people had voted against the change. Sixty-six voted for it.

Ruston has 452 active voters, according to the Piece County auditor’s office.

"This shows that not everyone agrees with the way the council wants to go," said Karen Pickett, a vocal opponent of the proposition. "The council still has a fairly strong base, but clearly not everyone agrees with all the changes they propose."

Proponents of the

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Transue: Too much work, but no need to change format

As Ruston voters mull a decision to change the town’s form of government from mayor-council to council-manager, I decided to ask one of the men most recently in the executive post.

Michael Transue was Ruston’s mayor from 2005 until his resignation in June. He says the mayor’s job is too much for a part-time person right now, but he doesn’t believe a permanent switch in government format is the answer.

"It’s too much for a part-time person right now. It’s too much, unless you had the right retired person with the right schedule, managerial experience, project management experience

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Ruston voters to decide on change of government

The question seems simple: Is running Ruston a full-time job?

A ballot measure this month hopes to answer that.

Voters will decide Aug. 19 on a proposal that could change the town’s government. If approved, the council would hire a town manager, who would oversee daily operations.

The mayor, the town’s executive under its current system, would be a member of the five-member council under the proposed changes.

Proponents say a part-time mayor doesn’t have enough free time to properly run the city. Opponents say it’s too costly and a departure from the town’s history.

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Albertson supports change of format

I just had a quick conversation with Ruston Councilman Dan Albertson, who is a proponent of changing to a town manager format of government. He called it "the best move we can make right now."

The job is too much for a part-timer, he said.

"It’s everything from the development of Point Ruston to lease negotiations at the school building to supervision of employees to the multiple legal actions we’re involved with. I don’t think you can ask someone to do that for virtually nothing. They either won’t be able to devote enough time to it, or they’re

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The case for changing Ruston’s format

Sherri Forch chaired the committee to provide the Yes statement in the voter’s guide to change Ruston’s form of government.

Her argument is that, with the future of Ruston at a crossroads, the job is simply too much for one person:

"I’d like to be on the record that I supported (former mayor) Michael Transue. I wrote the (town) newsletter as a volunteer. Volunteering is alive and well down here. … But it’s the mayor’s newsletter and it has to have his approval, so I would write it and it would be two or three days before I could get to it. My point is that a citizen mayor, with a career with two teenage daughters, has to go to soccer games and chaperone school dances – in other words, he’s got a life. A citizen mayor with a life just doesn’t have the time, the energy."

"I don’t think it’s fair to ask a citizen to be a mayor. There’s too much responsibility. With all the development going on, we need someone that’s involved 9-to-5."

She added that a full-time administrator might not be needed 10 or 20 years in the future after developments like Point Ruston are finished. But with so much changing in the community, she said, the town needs someone full-time.

It’s not reasonable to ask a citizen to do this anymore. It’s too specialized. There’s too much too knowledge. You need a consultant for this, a consultant for that. You need an attorney to protect the mayor from missteps. The regulations are so complicated, you need a professional.

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The case for keeping Ruston’s current format

Karen Pickett is heading the No campaign to change Ruston’s form of government. Pickett, who runs the Ruston Home blog, has been one of the most vocal critics of the current town council.

She wants to keep the current form of government, in which the mayor acts as the town’s executive and the council as its legislative body, to a town manager format. Her desires stem from checks and balances and tradition.

Some of this, for me, is based on intangibles. But when talking to folks and getting input and going over this, one of my biggest concerns is that, being a small town, small factions can take elected seats and not be responsive to all the constituents. It’s part of the nature of small towns. Having elected seats is important, and losing one of those representative seats is a wrong move. We need to keep our town as responsive to the voters as we can.

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Three things that didn’t make my story

I love covering Ruston politics. It’s always a good source of entertainment – and the occasional story.

Here are three things that didn’t make today’s article about last night’s special session:

�—� Former Councilwoman Karen Pickett, who runs the Ruston Home blog, was passing around photocopies explaining the state’s open-meetings act. The portion explaining the ban on communicating about official business outside of official meetings was highlighted. "I’m just handing it out," she said.

�—� Councilman Wayne Stebner arrived 20 minutes early and cracked jokes – many aimed at himself – while waiting for the

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