Thursday’s guest editorial by Port of Centralia Commissioner Kyle Markstrom once again raises journalism ethics questions practiced by The Chronicle’s ownership. What appears as a commentary about the port quickly turns into a political hit piece from one commissioner against another commissioner. It begs the question if Commissioner Peter Lahmann will be afforded the same media access and spotlight provided to Commissioner Markstrom.
These two commissioners obviously have significantly different beliefs in what the role of a commissioner is. And that’s OK. However, only Commissioner Lahmann is running for re-election in the upcoming election.
The timing of this hit piece is not a coincidence.
Having closely watched the Port Commission meetings the past several months, here are my observations:
First and foremost, the port director and Markstrom have made it abundantly clear of their strong dislike of Lahmann. This is especially apparent whenever he asks for clarification of information or offers a different perspective on behalf of the taxpaying citizens who elected him to represent them.
To be clear, Lahmann has never opposed WinCo.
He has asked many questions regarding the development process and proceedings. What irritates both Markstrom and Director Kyle Heaton is the fact that Lahmann will not just rubber stamp things based on their face value. Even the port’s attorney commented that the property sale Markstrom refers to was a tricky process.
My second observation is that the dynamics of the commissioners and Port of Centralia staff is totally backwards. Commissioners are elected by the taxpaying citizens to represent their interests. They do not report to the port director or staff. The staff works for the public at the direction of the commission.
Markstrom doesn’t understand that.
Third observation: Markstrom and Heaton are creating a hostile environment toward any citizen that exercises their right to question a public agency or person representing that agency. Recently, a citizen was asking questions in what I believe was a professional manner regarding information they requested and did not receive.
They were told to leave.
Please provide Commissioner Lahmann with the same forum you gave Markstrom.
formerly of Centralia
Editor’s note: Peter Lahmann is welcome to contribute a guest column in response to Kyle Markstrom.