Selah City Council is looking for new member after council member Chris Lantz resigned Tuesday night.
When giving his report at the end of the council meeting, Lantz said that he was resigning as of midnight.
“Due to COVID’s impact on my household, I am going back into the railroad industry where I came from,” Lantz said.
Lantz also used his council report to take a few parting shots.
First, he took issue with people who said they were educators and used what he considered “vulgarity” in emails they sent him critical of recent events in the city.
“I came through the school system, preschool to 12th grade, and I’ve never heard a teacher use some of the language or descriptions that have been used in some of the emails or posts online. That’s pretty disgusting,” Lantz said. “I’m no saint, but if you want to hold people to a higher level, you should be looking in a mirror.”
Lantz also said that he was the one responsible for the proclamation that allowed businesses, such as Mayor Sherry Raymond’s King’s Row and Magic’s Pizza Shack, to use parking lot space for outdoor dining. He said people have claimed that Raymond pushed it to boost her businesses at a time when the stay-home orders for coronavirus were restricting restaurants’ dine-in options.
“The attacks on Sherry ... are so far from the truth I can’t understand that thinking at all,” Lantz said.
He also took issue with recent comments by former City Council member Jeremy Burke, who criticized the city’s erasure of chalk art on streets and sidewalks supporting Black Lives Matter and criticizing city officials. Burke, who left the City Council earlier this year to take a job outside Yakima County, said the city should not silence political speech it finds disagreeable.
He said people in Douglas County, where Burke moved, have been asking him what Burke’s agenda is.
“The carpetbagging is not appreciated here in Selah or Yakima County, which (Burke) no longer represents,” Lantz said.
He also defended his nominating Suzanne Vargas to fill Burke’s seat on the council in June, which he said some people told him was wrong. Vargas has criticized Wayman’s attacks on Black Lives Matter supporters and called for restoring the public comment section at council meetings.
“We need diversity, some different opinions, some youth on the City Council,” Lantz said. “I wish you the best, but be wary of what you pursue and I suggest that to everyone else. Emotions run high right now. It’s a political nightmare out there. But I ask everyone to remember why we moved to Selah, how we were raised here and why we returned.”
Lantz was appointed in January to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Dave Kearby, who was elected last year but resigned before taking office to take a job outside the area.
The council is accepting applications for Lantz’s position until Sept. 4. Information on applying for the vacancy is available on the city’s website.