Serenity Now!

Editorial Gary MugIn an old Seinfeld episode, Goerge Costanza’s dad Frank is advised to say “Serenity Now” aloud every time his blood pressure is in danger of going up, but he yells it instead. We can relate with the mid-term elections having come and gone and the Republicans securing control of the Senate and now controlling both Houses of Congress.

Will this result in the oft promised “end to gridlock” we heard so much about during the run up to the General Election? We doubt it, now instead of the Republican House of Representatives blocking everything the president asks for, the Democratic president will just block everything congress passes. Situation Normal…. Are you ready for 50 more attempts at repealing the American Health Care Act? No amount of shouting about Republicans running against Obama and not for something, anything, will make up for the fact there was lots of positives the Democrats could have run on, but didn’t. We have a feeling there’s going to be a lot of Serenity Prayers spoken under the Democrats’ breaths for the next couple of years. Perhaps it would be easier to just shout Serenity Now! instead.

Locally we didn’t see a lot of changes, while most of our county officials ran unopposed, again – like our county commissioner, treasurer, attorney, sheriff, auditor, etc., we did see a few real races. Incumbent Scott Furman was reelected and well he should have been. When his opponent, Les Stokes, ran on throwing out state law and placing his own formula on assessing real property – that offered voters little choice.

It appears as of last Friday’s count that David Womack has lost his job as Okanogan County PUD Commissioner and Scott Verjaska will be taking over his position. I don’t envy him the task. But something has to be done about the fact that we used to have the third lowest electric rates in the nation and although we are still within the top ten, we’ve seen electric rates climb in a rural county where they were once one of our biggest selling points for living and running a business here. Can the new gun law make a difference while maintaining a quality of service we’ve come to rely on? That’s certainly still to be seen.

Lastly, we chose Dave Rodriguez over Gary Reams for the county’s first elected coroner. The position used to be held by the county prosecutor or one of his assistants. While Reams was an especially personable fellow – making sure to stop at the newspaper office whenever he was in town – he just couldn’t overcome the fact that Rodriguez had law enforcement experience on his side.

No real shockers in our votes seventh district legislators – the county voters stuck with the hometown boy, Wauconda’s own Joel Kretz the state House of Representatives. Shelly Short was reelected to the other House seat and Brian Dansel to the Senate. County voters bucked the state trend and were for I-591 and against I-594 – no real surprises there either. And while Dan Newhouse won for U.S. House of Representatives, District 4, over Clint Didier, Didier was the odds on favorite for local voters.

Although in the past we’ve had several centrist Democrats in local offices, even some in state Seventh District offices, their numbers are dwindling. Heck there was a time we even had a former Speaker of the House, the late Tom Foley, a Democrat, as our representative. Nowadays Okanogan County remains a tough place to be a Democrat.

The days of voting for anyone just right or just left of center seem to be over, no matter what party you chose to be affiliated with. For local voters, call it Tea Party or whatever you chose to, extreme right is the fashion of the day, whether running for county commissioner or for the U.S. House of Representatives. — Serenity Now! Oh well, that’s what blood pressure pills are for right?

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He has a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.