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Lakewood mayor Jason Whalen jets off to Hawaii – and to hell with climate change

.Whalen on holiday.It’s a cold, miserable June in Lakewood this year – unless you’re mayor Jason Whalen, who has jetted off to Hawaii, presumably to celebrate his 35th wedding anniversary. His Facebook page has a picture of him and his wife in a bar or restaurant, wearing sunglasses, with the comment “Just enjoying”.

It must feel good to leave Lakewood and its problems behind… the 114 Garry oaks about to be destroyed in Springbrook… the explosion of public anger over the closure of Lakewood’s library… the impending lawsuit regarding the police shooting of Said Joquin.

Not to mention Lakewood’s 2021 Comprehensive Plan, which states that

If residents, businesses and city officials are committed to environmental responsibility in planning for Lakewood’s future, the city can assume a leadership role in responding and adjusting to the potential impacts of climate change.

Bo-ring! Who wants to show leadership in adjusting to the potential impacts of climate change? Not global travelers like Lakewood’s mayor.

Still, according to Flight Free, Jason’s Whalen’s return trip to Hawaii led to emissions of 1.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide, which will melt 4.7 square meters of Arctic sea ice. And that’s just him – when you include his wife, the figures double.

And we shouldn’t forget that this isn’t his first long distance vacation of 2022. He took a Spring break in Mexico, which is another 2.4 metric tons of CO2 for a couple.

So what about Jason Whalen’s next vacation?

Maybe he should just stay put for a while. From his statements at council meetings, he has an imperfect knowledge of Lakewood. He mixes up Springbrook and Woodbrook, and he didn’t know where Monte Vista was, even though close to 10% of Lakewood’s population live there.

It’s time for Jason to stop the globetrotting, and instead save the planet and learn about his city. Jason can still put on his sunglasses – but for the tropical feel he might have to turn up the heating.

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • MM Russell June 16, 2022, 10:54 am

    People before writing this kind of editorial or commenting… please take note that our city of Lakewood is a Council/Manager system: Meaning the ‘Mayor’ has no more power or influence over anything then any other council member does, the ‘mayor’ role it is a figurehead roll mainly as the ‘leader’ of the monthly council meetings, (i.e. calling the roll, following the monthly agenda, a city council position is not a full time position, not expected to be full-time, and in fact it is inappropriate for the mayor and any other council member to directly boss the staff or run operations of the city or staff, or to independently direct day to day operation of the city

    In a council/manager system of gov’t, the city council is simply a policy board, and setting policy, changing code takes a majority of council members, and the mayor and council members all get one vote, no special power to the vote of the council-selected ‘mayor’ …and it’s the whole of the city council that hires the City Manager to operate and run the city and it’s staff and all it’s daily operations…

    Being mayor or a council member is at its core basically a volunteer part-time roll at best. So I hope Jason and any of our other public servants on the city council enjoy their vacations and families as they like without assaults on their character like that being displayed here by some. Good grief 🤦‍♂️

  • Christina Manetti June 16, 2022, 4:37 pm

    What kind of lame excuse is this? “Being mayor or a council member is at its core basically a volunteer part-time roll [sic] at best.”

    And this begs the question: what is being a mayor or council member “at worst”, then?

    There are various unsavory possibilities here. I leave it to your imagination.

    • James Dunlop June 16, 2022, 5:07 pm

      Being a Lakewood council member is not a volunteer position. They are paid over $16,000 a year. It is not a fortune, but it is a useful addition to a main income. I am sure there is great variation in the amount of hours that council members put in, but a council member with good time management could probably get away with just six hours a week, which would be over $50 an hour.

  • Christina Manetti June 16, 2022, 5:30 pm

    It is well-known that the City of Lakewood has a council-manager form of government.

    This fact does not diminish the responsibility that the mayor and other members of the city council have to serve as models for the city that they have been elected to govern.

    The empty boasting has to stop — they talk empty talk about their comprehensive plan’s new “climate change” chapter, yet persist in allowing the felling of irreplaceable Garry oaks, plastering the city with warehouses (that sometimes remain empty), and allowing and even encouraging gratuitous pollution in the form of Americans’ indispensable drive-throughs (or is that a right guaranteed by the constitution, too?). The hypocrisy takes one’s breath away. (In this case, literally.)

    Isn’t it time that Lakewood (even more so, with a name like that) becomes a model for other cities? This means its leaders need to step up to the life or death challenge posed by climate change. People need to make big changes. And those big changes need to start now. Lakewood’s leaders — be brave and show the way.

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