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Port Executive Director Jim Knight knows he has a sea lion problem. He's right when he insists that the Port should not be stuck with finding the solution or the entire bill for that solution. He is sighting in on groups that would benefit from less sea lions in the river. It's just his targeting system that may be a bit askew.

Should we continue with this idea? That was the question city staff was looking to the Astoria city council to answer last week after hearing a presentation on the proposed new library project.

The very rough numbers placed the potential cost at upward to $40 million, give or take a few million.

Should the city pursue an entirely new library? The price tag is breathtaking.

Cities have a responsibility to provide basic services. You need public safety agencies such as Police and Fire. You need to have a Public Works Department to keep infrastructure intact and working. Planning and Community Development keeps your city on track. You must have a Finance Department to ride herd.

Anything else is gravy.

However, it is those extras that speak to the character and livability of the town.

Thus endeth the civics lesson.

I don’t tell you these things to insult your intelligence but only to provide a basis for where I’m going with this piece.

In my previous post I wrote about the day-long tour I took Saturday of most of the Astoria Parks and Recreation facilities, parks and programs. It is clear that several recurring themes in council goals and decisions affecting administration over time have led us to build a much larger system than we should have to deal with.

It’s time to talk priorities. It may be painful. It will certainly be controversial.

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