August 31, 2009

POTPOURRI OF STORIES OF NOTE

1. WASL: Nearly all local school districts on federal watch list
“Nearly 1,100 schools across Washington are failing to meet federal achievement goals, casting them into the category of needing improvement, preliminary figures released Friday show [ Aug. 14].

Results from the Washington Assessment of Student Learning released Friday show 1,073 of the states 2,121 schools didnt meet federal standards for at least the second consecutive year,” quoting the Tacoma News Tribune printed in sister newspaper The Olympian:
This includes Yelm.

2. Amtrak train to B.C. to start
“The first Amtrak train to offer daily roundtrip service between Portland, Ore., and Vancouver, B.C., including stops in Lacey and Tacoma, will begin service Wednesday [Aug. 19] , the state Department of Transportation announced.
The Amtrak Cascades train will arrive in Lacey at 4:38 p.m. daily and arrive in Vancouver at 10:45 p.m., officials with DOT said. The returning southbound train will depart Vancouver at 6:40 a.m. and arrive in Lacey at 12:44 p.m, quoting The Olympian.

3. Trader Joe’s grand opening in Olympia was Friday, August 21st
“The new store has generated a buzz among fans of Trader Joes, as well as among those seeking work in the slower economy. More than 2,000 people applied for jobs at the store and 68 were hired, the majority of them from the area, Holmes said. The store continues to accept applications, he said…
About 80 percent of its products are sold under a Trader Joes brand, products that are free from artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, company spokeswoman Alison Mochizuki said. The stores also are known for ready-to-eat meals, a dried-fruit-and-nuts section, specialty cheeses and a California wine sold under the Charles Shaw brand that sells for $2.99, informally known as three-buck chuck,from The Olympian.

4. “Washingtons exports plunge”
“Washington’s exports plunged 33.9 percent in the year’s first half compared to the same period in 2008 a $12.7 billion decrease.

‘Washington is the most trade-dependent state in the country and we’re clearly feeling the global decline in trade,’ said Anthony Hemstad, executive director of the World Trade Center Tacoma,” quoting the Pierce County Business Examiner.

5. Have extra vegetables from your garden you don’t want?
UCBO would love them! They take just about anything for their food bank to give to folks.
They have an open door policy and folks from Tacoma and even Seattle come here for food.
If you are not sure UCBO will want your items, you can call and they will tell you yes or no.
This is a nice idea before people start tossing their garden abundance.
UCBO – Yelm Community Services
624 Crystal Springs Rd NW
Yelm, WA 98597
(360) 458-7000


August 30, 2009

TWO MEETINGS OF NOTE IN YELM MONDAY

1. Freedom School of the Pacific Northwest
“Greetings Friends and Families,…

We have been busy processing the mountains of paperwork that need our attention. Our lawyer is also helping us with the process of achieving non-profit status. We are checking off items as they are completed. At this point The Freedom School is moving forward to operate as a home-school co-op.

What does this mean for our children and families?

This fall The Freedom School will home-school children of interested families. This will be on a part-time basis, with tuition set according to the number of hours of participation. There will be classes in basic academics offered, the 4 Rs, as well as student driven studies. There is no list of required school supplies children and families should buy what they want or think they will need, as in keeping with the model of education we are employing. We have a tentative start date of September 15 at The Freedom School site.

All families interested in participating in our program are invited to attend an
Assembly Meeting
Monday, August 31
at 6 PM
at The Freedom School
10905 138th Ave SE in Rainier.
Staff will be giving parents a proposal regarding hours of operation, tuition, fees and class offerings, and will be asking for input. Students have an important role in the creation of the school and are encouraged to attend and participate as well!

We also will be starting Adult Education classes in September! There is a pilot class running at this time involving Sacred Geometry. This and other offerings will be communicated to the community in the near future.

If you have any questions, please call Deanna Waldo at 400-2492.

Also, if you know of anyone who may be interested in our school, feel free to forward this email to them.”

2. Youre invited to coffee with Commissioner Romero & Commissioner Valenzuela

This months coffee will focus on the countys Resource Stewardship Department with special guest Director, Cliff Moore. This department is responsible for Development Services, Recreation, the Fair, Noxious Weeds, Water Resources, and the WSU Extension.

Join us Monday, August 31st
10am – 11am
Blue Bottle Caf
309 E Yelm Ave., Yelm
Please note the new date for this months coffee.

Please join Thurston County Commissioner Sandra Romero as she hosts an informal coffee hour. There is a lot happening in Thurston County, and we want to hear from you. These coffees give you the opportunity to talk about issues of concern, ask Commissioner Romero questions about the county, and share ideas.

Coffee provided.

If you have any questions contact:
Lisa Paribello at 360-786-5747 or paribel@co.thurston.wa.us


August 29, 2009

IN RESPONSE TO NVN PUBLISHER/EDITOR GRAVES OP-ED

NVN Publisher/Editor Graves said this week in his op-ed:
“For some time, Klein has giddily derided the city for its handling of water issues, traffic and other matters. He has accused the NVN of sweeping matters under the rug….

My hope is this finding will result in less mudslinging and fewer baseless accusations, which only helped to fuel a fire that clearly never should have been lit.”

I continue to assert that the NVN DOES “sweep matters under the rug”. They continually omit and leave out key and important facts in stories. Either they do this through their own lack of knowledge or negligence, or they have purposefully kept important information from the public. I discovered this for myself 4 years ago next week, when then-NVN Editor Graves made a decision NOT to inform the public that then-Mayoral candidate Ron Harding had declined to participate in the NVN’s Town Hall Forum. To this day, Mr. Graves has not informed the public why he decided to keep this important bit of news from the public nor has his newspaper reported that the NVN did keep that news under wraps. THAT was important news for the voters then, don’t you think?

I contacted a local daily newspaper editor to ask them if keeping information from the public is a practice in newspaper reporting. He said in all of his years, he had never heard of that and his newspaper has never kept important news information from the public.

Anything this Blog puts forward is supported by public documents and facts.

What Mr. Graves did NOT report in this weeks story titled “Auditor debunks channelers claim” is that the State Auditor only examined what they were requested by a Citizen Hotline comment about whether the city’s Golder Water Study contract was valid and whether the Water Study itself was something the city should have funded.
Of course, a city has a right to enter into contracts and pay for whatever they want. I never wrote the State Auditor questioning that.

This issue is not about the validity of Golder Water Study contract with the city.
This is about the city’s vagueness in protecting the public’s interest & in keeping their word to the taxpayer –
FIRST WE HEAR-
In late 2006, the City Staff Report says Through the Conceptual Master Plan process for the Thurston Highlands community, there will be a determination on the pro-rata share of private financial participation towards this project [Golder Water Study].

THEN WE GET THIS FOLLOW-UP FORM THE CITY-
Ms. Badger was quoted in the NVN February 2, 2007 saying,
If a good water source is found on the Thurston Highlands site, developers will have to pay their fair share [for the Water Study], which won’t be determined until the Environmental Impact Statement is complete later this year.”
It’s after the EIS when it will be determined how much they have to pay.”

The EIS finally came out almost 2 years after I brought this issue into the open, and upon the EIS being made public, the developers defaulted and left the city with massive debt. Since the city had no contract with the developer to be repaid for their undetermined “pro-rata share” of the Water Study, the city received nothing from the developer when they defaulted at the public issuance of the EIS in Fall, 2008.

Now, if you ran a business, would you verbally agree (without contract) to be reimbursed at some future time for a job you would do for a undetermined pro-rata amount?
This begs a question: why did the city not require the taxpayer get repaid by the developer for the Golder Water Study?
This just never made any sense.
Would you run your business this way?

Regardless of the State Auditor’s findings, Mr. Graves, this is a question of what is the right thing to do on behalf of the taxpayers the city is supposed to protect – the ethical thing to do in the public’s interest.
You can giddily gloat that the “Audtor debunks…claims”, however while covering issues of ethics for Roy & Rainier issues, the NVN continues to omit those facts in Yelm!


August 28, 2009

CITY’S BADGER SPINS MORE DECEPTIONS TO NVN READERS!

In a front-page headline story out today and NOT on the NVN website titled,
“DOE set up application for failure, alleges city”
City of Yelm Administrator spews more deceptions about the city’s water issues.
Mrs. Badger says in the NVN,
“The City of Yelm is appealing the state Department of Ecology’s denial of the McMonigle water rights transfer.
The city is alleging that the DEO (sic) didn’t do its job.” …

On July 20, DOE informed the city its application was denied, citing a procedural error and failure to analyze the impacts to Thompson Creek…

In its appeal, the city said the back-and-forth between the city, conservancy board and DOE “shows a pattern of conflicting, inadequate and unclear direction by Ecology to the (conservancy board) and the city…”

“This pattern ultimately ‘set up’ this transfer of a valid water right for unnecessary failure, at great expense to the city, hampering the city’s ability to continue to meet its obligations to serve its growing community under the growth Management Act,” the appeal states.

Ecology REVERSED the decision of the Thurston County Conservancy Board on July 20, 2009 and specified exactly why they took that action in a letter to Mrs. Badger where they state,
“The board (conservancy board) failed to adequately analyze the extent and validity of the subject water right [the McMonigle water right]. Ecology’s records include a consultant report from 2005 that analyzed recent power records that indicate significantly less water for change. This information conflicts with the Board’s extent and validity analysis, which must be reconciled prior to approval of subject change.”
CLICK HERE to see Ecology’s letter in full.

So, the McMonigle water right may not be a transferable right and may not be valid.

OBVIOUSLY, MRS. BADGER ONCE AGAIN GIVES THE NVN & THE PUBLIC A SNOW-JOB!
SINCE THERE IS NO INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING BY THE NVN ON CITY OF YELM ISSUES, THEY ARE COMPLICIT IN THE REPORTING OF WHATEVER THE CITY SHOVELS THEIR WAY!


All of Mrs. Badger’s other comments in the newspaper are just dross to cover-up this glaring omission to the NVN and their readers from the DOE reversal of the decision of the Thurston County Conservancy Board:
the McMonigle water right may not be a transferable right and may not be valid, period!

Again, where is the city mindful of taking care of the public’s interest and trust when they continue to deceive, omit and gloss over the facts?

And, did anyone notice that the October, 2008 city Water Mitigation Plan was finally published on the city’s website yesterday afternoon, almost one year after being released. That would not have happened without citizen input, for this city hides all they can unless the public speaks up!


August 28, 2009

OLYMPIA TIES RECORD HIGH YESTERDAY

Olympia Regional Airport tied the all-time record high for August 27th of 92 degrees set in 1967. The low of 43 degrees yesterday was close to the 1955 record of 38.


August 27, 2009

CITY NOT TOTALLY UP-FRONT IN SERVING PUBLIC’S INTEREST – USES NVN FOR MORE DECEPTIONS IN STORY OUT TODAY

Megan Hansen, NVN Assistant Editor called me yesterday at work to get my comments on the State Auditor letters of August 12th sent to City Administrator Shelly Badger in response to several Citizen Hotline referrals related to contracting and the City of Yelm’s Golder Water Study. I told her I NOT could answer about writing to the State Auditor until I could get home and verify my documents, which was after her deadline. I have commented here several times previously about the Golder Water Study really being funded by the Yelm taxpayer for a private developer, so she wanted my views. I had never seen the Auditors letters, so asked her to fax them to me.

The Washington State Auditor “found it is reasonable that the City would pay for the water study, not the private developer.”
They did not say why.
The Golder Water Study letter from the
Washington State Auditor-1
The water contracts letter from the
Washington State Auditor-2

LOOK FOR A FRONT-PAGE NVN STORY TODAY WITH CITY OF YELM ADMINISTRATOR BADGER ATTEMPTING TO COVER THE CITY’S BACKSIDES WITH THE AUDITOR’S REPORT, AS THEY LICK THEIR WOUNDS FROM A STINGING REBUKE FROM ECOLOGY’S DECISION TO DEFER CONSIDERATION FOR ANY WATER-RIGHTS ACQUISITIONS FOR YELM IN 2009, FORCING THE CITY TO WITHDRAW THEIR MDNS FOR LACK OF WATER RIGHTS.
Will update this once the NVN story hits the newsstands later today!
[UPDATED 1:15PM AUGUST 27, 2009
Here is the front-page story & Op-Ed piece in the NVN today on this issue:
1. Auditor debunks channelers claim

2. Editor/Publisher Kevin Graves’ Op-Ed Piece in today’s NVN:
A fire that never should have been lit]

Ed. Note: The public should have the benefit in-full of my letter to Mrs. Badger mentioned in the NVN story. CLICK HERE.
The City of Yelm nor the Nisqually Valley News have ever explained which items of JZ Knight’s 2 full-page ads about water issues here are not correct. That they have not said anything is telling!
Ad # 1 CLICK HERE
Ad # 2 CLICK HERE
The WA. State Auditor has verified I filed no Citizen Hotline comment in either of these cases.
To Mr. Graves:
Interesting that you say this should have never been examined, yet asking about the taxpayer getting reimbursed their money to the tune of several hundred thousand dollars is NO different than your Op-Ed questioning a Rainier High School Principal’s $10,000 severance package, except the amount of dollars the Yelm taxpayers are out is almost $1 million with the Water Study and the expenses of Thurston Highlands not being repaid. “Where do I get on the gravy train?”
If 1/2 your passion and zeal in examining Roy & Rainier issues were directed at Yelm, the public would be better served!

I said this to the NVN yesterday,
“The Auditor’s report states, ‘The study [Golder Water Study] recommended that the City should consider moving its water supply to the south west portion to pull from a deeper aquifer…’
The issue for me has always been WHY is the city looking to move its water supply to the south west, except to support a 5,000 home MPC (Master-Planned Community) that applied to the go there? The city sits on the same aquifer as does the south west area and all the city has to do is to drill their wells deeper. Isn’t drilling current wells deeper & upgrading the city’s current water system less costly to the public than moving the city’s water system over a mile down the road?”

Further,
The City has not been totally up-front and in serving the public’s interest by saying this Golder Water Study expenditure was not for an MPC. To repeat to make a point, if the Golder Water Study and the city’s Draft Water System Plan are not for an MPC, then why has the city been looking to build a whole new system out in the south west area? If not to support an MPC there, the city would have no need to spend the money on miles of pipes and other infrastructure to the tune of $11.4 million, from Chapter 8.8 Chart of the Yelm Plan, when they already have all they need to support current and future customers by simply upgrading their existing system.
Therefore, the Golder Water Study IS indeed to support an MPC!

The Auditor did not address this issue in their answer.

Interesting that the south west area that is the focal point of the Golder Water Study and the City’s Draft Water System Plan is on private property, for which the city has no rights of access. The Thurston Highlands developers that owned the land defaulted and left the city holding the bag on back taxes and fees for that property.

Yet, as covered here on January 14, 2007,
The City Staff Report says Through the Conceptual Master Plan process for the Thurston Highlands community, there will be a determination on the pro-rata share of private financial participation towards this project. [this means that the costs of the water study will be divided between the city and the developer and that the split of those costs is yet to be determined.]

Then, Ms. Badger was quoted in the NVN February 2, 2007 saying,
If a good water source is found on the Thurston Highlands site, developers will have to pay their fair share, which won’t be determined until the Environmental Impact Statement is complete later this year.”
It’s after the EIS when it will be determined how much they have to pay.”

I asked the following questions back then,
– So, why IS the city using public money to front a developers EIS?
– Is this not preferential treatment?
– Would the city fund an EIS for you, me or any other developer? Then determine payment AFTER the EIS?
– Will the public be repaid interest on loaning money for Thurston Highlands EIS?
– Obviously not, quoting Ms. Badger in that NVN story, It’s after the EIS when it will be determined how much they have to pay.”
I asked,
If there is no contract now for how much they have to pay, what obligates Thurston Highlands developers to pay anything for this study in the future?
– Quoting the February 2, 2007 NVN, But, said Badger, and Yelm Mayor Ron Harding, pursuit of water from that location would be taking place regardless of who owns the property and what they plan to do with it.
As I said, this is private property that has had various owners during the last decade. What if there is no agreement reached with the current owners, what will the city do then?
And who will pay Thurston Highlands pro-rata share for the study then?

[Ed. Note: Interesting to note that when the EIS finally came out last Fall, the Thurston Highlands developers were in default and in arrears on back taxes, fees and the repayment of the Water Study. So, now the aforementioned questions have come home to roost, as the city is out the developers’ money for the Water Study! I saw NO mention in the NVN about the city not being repaid from the developer for the pro-rata share of the Water Study, as mentioned in the NVN by Mrs. Badger in 2007!
Interesting how the City of Yelm & the NVN continue to leave out important facts!
The city continues to be not totally up-front in serving the public’s interest by omitting this information.
]


Golder Associates is the engineering firm hired by the City of Yelm to conduct the south west aquifer study. The City of Yelm tells the firm what they want covered in the study and pays them for that report. So, the Golder Water Study was the city’s own contracted report. Since the city has had eyes on developing the south west area water to support more housing developments there, we all can see the Golder Water Study WAS indeed to support an MPC, a Multi-Planned Community that was to be built by a single company – Thurston Highlands!
The State Auditor investigates only what they are requested by Citizen Hotline comments, nothing more. Their job is to be fair and balanced in assessing what is presented them. Since the Citizen Hotline comments filed were anonymous, we do not know exactly what was given the State Auditor to examine, nor the thoroughness of the questions to direct the Auditor’s attention. I have never a legal issue on the Water Study, rather, I have always questioned the ethical thing for the city to do regarding what they said they would do (have the developer pay a pro-rata share) and just what is the right thing to protect taxpayers’ money.

So, how is the city’s taxpayer to be repaid for the Golder Water Study?
1. Through a developer’s pro-rata share according to Mrs. Badger? They’re gone.
2. Through the potential new land-owners “pro-rata” share? Perhaps, though at this time, not likely
3. Though new hook-ups? In this economic environment, very few new homes will be built here.
And, the city has no more water to have any new hook-ups anyway.
So, Mrs. Badger via the NVN, please tell the public how and when the Yelm taxpayer is to be repaid the pro-rata share” of the Water Study?
Or was that all shoved aside and the city now feels justified to go ahead and use taxpayer money to fund the entire Water Study?
And, why did the city not require they get repaid by the developer for the Golder Water Study?
This just never made any sense.
Would you run your business this way?

Did the Auditor have this information to address this issue in their answer.

UNFORTUNATELY, THE CITY HAS ONCE AGAIN NOT BEEN TOTALLY UP-FRONT IN SERVING THE PUBLIC’S INTEREST BY SAYING THE GOLDER WATER STUDY WAS NOT FOR AN MPC. OF COURSE IT WAS, SO THE CITY BASICALLY PAID TAXPAYER MONEY TO SERVE ONLY ONE MPC – THURSTON HIGHLANDS!
I HAVE BEEN BRINGING THIS ISSUE TO LIGHT FOR ALMOST 4 YEARS.
I STAND BY MY PREVIOUS STATEMENTS ON THIS, REGARDLESS OF THE STATE AUDITOR’S REPORT. WASN’T THE RIGHT THING TO DO ON THE PUBLIC’S BEHALF WAS FOR THE CITY TO FOLLOW-THROUGH AND ATTEMPT TO RECOUP THE DEVELOPERS’ PRO-RATA SHARE?

MRS. BADGER WILL SNOW-JOB THE NVN ONCE AGAIN IN TODAY’S STORY AND THE PUBLIC WILL BE BE LEFT IN THE DARK ON THIS ISSUE.
AND, MRS. BADGER KNOWS BETTER!

AND, NVN CONTINUES TO RAIL AT ROY AND RAINER FOR THEIR PUBLIC MALFEASANCE, WHILE YELM CONTINUES TO GET A “BYE” FROM THE LOCAL NEWSPAPER!
EITHER THAT, OR THE NVN TRULY JUST DOES NOT POSSES THE KNOWLEDGE OR ABILITY TO DISCERN YELM’S ISSUES. I WILL GIVE THEM THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT ON THAT.
HOWEVER, THIS IS TRULY SAD, TRULY SAD!


August 26, 2009

YELM WATER BILL INSERT FILLED WITH 1/2 TRUTHS & MISLEADING STATEMENTS! PART III

CITY OF YELM WATER CUSTOMERS SHOULD ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT THEIR WATER BILL INSERT.
City of Yelm August Water Customer Bill insert

ALL THREE ANSWERS TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON THE INSERT ARE ALL FILLED WITH INNUENDOS, MISCONCEPTIONS & OUTRIGHT LIES – THE CITY’S OWN WATER SYSTEM PLAN REVEALS THESE DECEPTIVE ANSWERS!

IF THE PUBLIC WERE ALLOWED A TOWN HALL MEETING AND PRESENTED WITH THE FACTS, WOULD THEY ACCEPT THE COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH THE CITY’S WATER SYSTEM PLAN?
OF COURSE NOT!

Lets examine each question/answer in the City of Yelms Water Bill Insert to their customers, of which I am one, owning a home in Yelm.

QUESTION/ANSWER # 3 ON THE INSERT:
“So, if we would have no population growth, we would have to pay increased rates?

Yes, operations and maintenance include; replacing aging pipes, detecting and repairing leaks, insuring that your drinking water is safe and maintaining sufficient water sources for the future are necessary for long time residences and those new to Yelm. Growth does help to fund the water system for the City of Yelm.”

Spare us the psycho-babble camel dung. This is all a bunch of smoke & mirrors, as discussed the previous two days.

The City of Yelm Draft Water System Plan mentions several times having wells in the SW Annex (Thurston Highlands property) – this has nothing to do with “replacing aging pipes, detecting and repairing leaks, insuring that your drinking water is safe and maintaining sufficient water sources for the future,” rather is all to support an MPC [Master-Planned Community] in the Thurston Highlands.

THIS LEADS TO SOME QUESTIONS:
– Why do we have wells proposed in the SW area project titled W-1 & W-2 & W-3 in the future (scroll to pg. 19) when the city has no rights over there?
– Is the city negotiating some land deal in exchange for exonerating the back taxes and debt owed the city by the Thurston Highlands’ developers?
– What is REALLY going on?
– Why has the city proposed moving their water system to the SW Yelm wellfield, as stated in the Plan?
– How does the city have access there, when the developers are gone?
– If so, is this to serve MPC’s [Multi-Planned Communities, i.e. Thurston Highlands] to provide future capacity (even without MPC’s in the 6-year improvement plan)?
The city is clearly planning to build an infrastructure for an MPC there as stated in the Plan, when upgrading the current well would be sufficient if there is no MPC.

Further from the Draft Water System Plan:
Transmission Main #1
12-inch pipe to connect W-1, WTS-1 (wells in the Thurston Highlands area), and RES-1 to the point where connection is made with the existing 16-inch line near Tahoma Terra.
Estimated length = 5,500 feet.

Questions should be asked:
– $1.5 million for a one-mile pipe? And from the Thurston Highlands area!
– From an area the city has NO water rights!
– Why do we need a new water system in the SW AREA, when all the city has to do is add new pipe and other infrastructure to upgrade the current system?
– What about getting new extended water rights for the wells the city currently has?

The city does NOT need to build a new water system, regardless of what City Hall says.
The City wants to tax the Yelm public and spend money “like drunken sailors” while no one is looking or cares! When the public get their bills will be too late.

More from the Draft Water System Plan:
9.4.1.2
A number of mechanisms can be considered toward funding local facilities. One of the following scenario typically occurs: (a) the utility charges a connection fee based on the cost of the local facilities (under the same authority as the SDC), (b) a developer funds extension of the system to its development and turns those facilities over to the utility (contributed capital), or (c) a local assessment is set up called a Utility Local improvement District (ULID/LID) which collects tax revenue from benefited properties.

Do you see any mention in the plan of a developer funding “extension of the system to its development and turns those facilities over to the utility (contributed capital).”
No, neither do I!

This is from the city’s DNS, on which they were pinning their hopes of getting more water:
“Existing water rights held by the City, including a pending transfer currently being reviewed by the Thurston County Water Conservancy Board and Ecology total approximately 952 acre-feet.

The Thurston County Water Conservancy Board approved water rights were REVERSED by the Dept. of Ecology!
Read the official letter from Ecology: CLICK HERE

Last week, the city was forced to withdraw their own MDNS for lack of water rights, as reported in The Olympian.
Read the citys letter of the MDNS withdrawal: CLICK HERE

IF THE CITY OF YELM WAS TRULY HONEST WITH THEIR CITIZENS, THEY WOULD ASK:

– Do you want a water system at the Thurston Highlands site that YOU will underwrite?
– What will the rate-payer get in return for their dollars to underwrite such a system there?
– Does the rate-payer approve the miles of pipe and infrastructure that would have to be built over a mile from the downtown core?
– If all rate-payers were invited to come to a meeting and presented this information honestly, how do you think they would vote?

BOTTOM LINE:
THIS CITY OF YELM PROPERTY OWNERS ARE GETTING A “SNOW-JOB” FROM THIS WATER BILL INSERT. SINCE FEW KNOW OR CARE ENOUGH TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT, EXPECT MORE MISINFORMATION, INNUENDOS, & OUTRIGHT DECEPTIONS FROM THE CITY OF YELM ABOUT THEIR WATER ISSUES!
THE CITY OF YELM IS NOW REALLY IN THEIR OWN SELF-CREATED PICKLE WITH NO NEW WATER RIGHTS & BEING AT OR NEAR PUMPING THEIR ECOLOGY ALLOCATED WATER. EXPANSION IS AT A SCREECHING HALT HERE, AS THE CITY HAS NO MORE WATER.


August 25, 2009

YELM WATER BILL INSERT FILLED WITH 1/2 TRUTHS & MISLEADING STATEMENTS! PART II

CITY OF YELM WATER CUSTOMERS SHOULD ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT THEIR WATER BILL INSERT.
City of Yelm August Water Customer Bill insert

ALL THREE ANSWERS TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON THE INSERT ARE ALL FILLED WITH INNUENDOS, MISCONCEPTIONS & OUTRIGHT LIES – THE CITY’S OWN WATER SYSTEM PLAN REVEALS THESE DECEPTIVE ANSWERS!

IF THE PUBLIC WERE ALLOWED A TOWN HALL MEETING AND PRESENTED WITH THE FACTS, WOULD THEY ACCEPT THE COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH THE CITY’S WATER SYSTEM PLAN?
OF COURSE NOT!

Lets examine each question/answer in the City of Yelms Water Bill Insert to their customers, of which I am one, owning a home in Yelm.

QUESTION/ANSWER # 2 ON THE INSERT:
2. Am I paying for my service and providing for new developments, too?
Answer: “No, new connection fees are paid for by developers. Yelm’s population is growing and we are obligated to provide service to existing customers and prepare and provide for customers that are new to the area as mandated by the State of Washington.”

Let’s again get guidance and direction from the City’s Draft Water System Plan from where I quote:

9.4.1.1 System Development Charges
“In the absence of an SDC, growth-related capital costs would be borne in large part by existing customers. In addition, the net investment in the utility already collected from existing customers, through rates, charges, and/or assessments, would be diluted by the addition of new customers, effectively subsidizing new customers with prior customers payments. To establish equity, an SDC should recover a proportionate share of the existing and future infrastructure costs from a new customer. From a financial perspective, a new customer should become financially equivalent to an existing customer by paying the SDC.

9.4.1.2 Local Facilities Charges
While an SDC is the manner in which new customers pay their share of general facilities costs, local facilities
funding is used to pay the costs of local facilities that connect each property to the systems infrastructure.”

As quoted yesterday,
Chapter 9 Financial Plan
9.4.1.1 states:
“In addition, the net investment in the utility already collected from existing customers, through rates, charges, and/or assessments, would be diluted by the addition of new customers, effectively subsidizing new customers with prior customers payments. To establish equity, an SDC should recover a proportionate share of the existing and future infrastructure costs from a new customer. From a financial perspective, a new customer should become financially equivalent to an existing customer by paying the SDC.”

The cash funding is broken down between 15 percent SDC [system development charge] revenue, 16 percent rate funded system reinvestment, and 7 percent from the capital fund balance. It is assumed that revenue bonds will cover the remaining 62 percent of capital costs.

So, an SDC is only covering 15% of the required financing!

Further stated in the Plan,
Mitigation Projects
“Projects identified as part of Mitigation Plan, including potentially monitoring, purchase of water rights in the Deschutes River basin, and habitat restoration.

There is money in the Plan budgeted for $100,000 for each 8 years for “Mitigation Projects”.”

Ed. Note:
What is the purpose of property owners paying almost a million dollars over 8 years for a mitigation project?
Answer: the purpose of a mitigation project is to find water in support of Multi-Planned Communities [MPCs]. Period!
Shouldn’t the developers should pay for MPC costs up-front and the city’s costs be separate?

The purpose of the water mitigation plan is to get water rights and the city has previously stated that it needs more water rights in-part to support the 5,000-home Thurston Highlands development, as reported last week in The Olympian.
However, with Yelm’s Draft Water System Plan, the developers are not paying one cent for that – the city will pay that through rate increases to their customers. So, the City of Yelm property owner is being hood-winked to support water for MPC’s to the tune of $11.4 million, and this amount is almost all exclusively for SW Annex structure.

The City’s Draft Water System Plan states all is without an MPC [Master Planned Community] for 6-years.
However, when the MPC gets connected:

A. $11.4 million in 6 years will be financed by existing city rate payers says
Table 8-8
City of Yelm Water System
6-Year Capital lmprovement Plan (without MPCs)
most all of it to build a new water system in the south west area
Why do that if not for the MPC proposed property out there?
CLICK HERE FOR THE TABLE OF EXPENSES, then scroll to Table 8.8

B. Will developers to pay for this according to the city bill insert?
No! The city’s Draft Water System Plan says existing rate payers will finance MPCs.
– to repeat, why are we putting in a whole new water system out where the MPC is going?
– When there isn’t supposed to be an MPC for 6 years.
– Shouldn’t the developer pay for this?
– The developers are gone and left in their wake alot of debt to the city!

Then, this answer in the water bill insert is also misleading:
“Yelm’s population is growing and we are obligated to provide service to existing customers and prepare and provide for customers that are new to the area as mandated by the State of Washington.”

A Thurston County Superior Court has already ruled Yelm must prove it has water PRIOR TO plat approval.
Therefore, Yelm can only prepare and provide for customers that are new to the area as mandated by the State of Washington if they prove they have sufficient water rights PRIOR to plat approval.
The City has appealed this ruling; a decision should be forthcoming this Fall.

Now, you tell me if the city’s bill insert answer to question # 2 is honest:
“Am I paying for my service and providing service to new developments too?”
THIS IS NOT DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND!

BOTTOM LINE:
For the city to tell rate payers they are NOT funding for development is very devious & false when their Draft Water System Plan clearly says otherwise!


August 24, 2009

YELM WATER BILL INSERT FILLED WITH 1/2 TRUTHS & MISLEADING STATEMENTS! PART 1

CITY OF YELM WATER CUSTOMERS SHOULD ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT THEIR WATER BILL INSERT.
City of Yelm August Water Customer Bill insert

ALL THREE ANSWERS TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON THE INSERT ARE ALL FILLED WITH INNUENDOS, MISCONCEPTIONS & OUTRIGHT LIES – THE CITY’S OWN WATER SYSTEM PLAN REVEALS THESE DECEPTIVE ANSWERS!

IF THE PUBLIC WERE ALLOWED A TOWN HALL MEETING AND PRESENTED WITH THE FACTS, WOULD THEY ACCEPT THE COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH THE CITY’S WATER SYSTEM PLAN?
OF COURSE NOT!

Lets examine each question/answer in the City of Yelms Water Bill Insert to their customers, of which I am one, owning a home in Yelm.

QUESTION/ANSWER # 1 ON THE INSERT:
1. I am happy with the service I have. What will the increased rate fund?

Repairs and improvements are necessary to maintain the integrity of the Citys water system.

Yet while partially true, the city’s own Draft Water System Plan says 38% of that is to fund capital projects, which they dont tell you on the insert!

Chapter 9 Financial Plan
9.3.2 last paragraph, page 5:
“The 20-year capital funding plan identifies 38 percent of cash funding for capital projects (which includes system reinvestment). The cash funding is broken down between 15 percent SDC [system development charge] revenue, 16 percent rate funded system reinvestment, and 7 percent from the capital fund balance. It is assumed that revenue bonds will cover the remaining 62 percent of capital costs.

Chapter 9 Financial Plan
9.4.1.1 states:
An SDC [system development charge], also called a connection charge as provided for by Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 35.92.025, refers to a one-time charge imposed on new customers as a condition of connection to the utility system. The purpose of the SDC is twofold: to promote equity between new and existing customers, and to provide a source of revenue to fund capital projects

In addition, the net investment in the utility already collected from existing customers, through rates, charges, and/or assessments, would be diluted by the addition of new customers, effectively subsidizing new customers with prior customers payments. To establish equity, an SDC should recover a proportionate share of the existing and future infrastructure costs from a new customer. From a financial perspective, a new customer should become financially equivalent to an existing customer by paying the SDC.”

So, the city is saying in their own Draft Water System Plan that 38% is for capital projects to support for new customers over the next 20 years.

CITY OF YELM WATER CUSTOMERS GOT A NEW RATE STRUCTURE AND MAJOR INCREASE EFFECTIVE AUGUST 1ST.
YET, THEY ARE NOT BEING TOLD THE TRUTH AND FACTS BY THE CITY, NOR WILL THEY READ ABOUT THIS IN THE NVN!
THE CITY EXPECTS NO ONE WILL READ NOR WILL THE NVN REPORT ON THE TRUTH OF THE DRAFT WATER SYSTEM PLAN AND SO, WILL DO NOTHING, AS IS USUALLY THE CASE IN THE CITY OF YELM.

This is very simple to understand when broken down and dissected…

The City of Yelm property & business owners are getting a 1-2-3 stomach punch from the city with increased water fees, 2% increase in B & O taxes & staff cutbacks. Notice that voters mostly rejected the proposed fire authority, with with the Regional Fire Authority measure failing by 56%, and the next ballot count is today.
Mayor Harding told the NVN, “Harding said its interesting that the proposition isnt passing in District No. 4.
Its interesting because it doesnt cost them anything, Harding said. It tells me that message hasnt gotten out to enough voters.
HMMM! Maybe many voters are saying they just do not trust the charade of Yelm City Hall deceptions, lack of fiscal restraint and outright contempt for the public.

While NVN editor/publisher Graves has been very outspoken in his condemnation of city affairs in Roy & Rainier, including this week’s op-ed about Rainier Schools titled “Where do I go to board the gravy train?” about the $10,000 severance package to former Rainier High School Principal Jeff Weeks, Mr. Graves has been mute on the $11.4 million the City of Yelm is foisting on their property owners to pay for water systems for MPCs [Master Planned Communities], all disclosed in public documents, just like the public documents he referenced in the Rainier Schools issues.

I do agree with Mr. Graves on this op-ed quote, however, “Meanwhile, this experience will hopefully serve as yet another lesson of why public servants should not be doing their jobs behind closed doors.”
Yet, when we will read Mr. Graves’ condemnation of the Yelm City Council’s closed-to-the-public Executive Sessions “to discuss potential litigation and possible real estate acquisition”? HMMM!

STAY TUNED FOR MORE ON THE $11.4 MILLION IN PART TWO TOMORROW FOLLOWED BY PART THREE ON WEDNESDAY OF THIS INVESTIGATIVE REPORT!


August 23, 2009

TENINO’S WOLF HAVEN ACKNOWLEDGED WITH AWARD

Quoting the Wolf Haven Press Release of August 11th:
Wolf Haven Takes Home APEX 2009 Award for Publication Excellence

“Congratulations to Wolf Haven International in Tenino, WA, for winning a 2009 APEX Award for Publication Excellence in the One-of-a-Kind Scientific & Environmental Publications category for their Winter 2009 issue of WOLF TRACKS! The APEX Awards are an international competition that recognizes outstanding print and electronic media.

According to APEX, ‘The awards were based on excellence in graphic design, quality of editorial content and the success of the entry in conveying the message and achieving overall communications effectiveness.’ WOLF TRACKS was one of only six winning publications selected from 239 One-of-a-Kind Scientific & Environmental Publications entries. Editors: Trudy Soucoup and Kim Young. Graphic Designer: Julie Lawrence.

WOLF TRACKS is the official quarterly publication of Wolf Haven International and is a benefit of membership or available by subscription for businesses, providing an educational forum for information on Wolf Haven, its wolves and activities; and facts and attitudes about wolves and wolf related issues. This magazine is produced with Wolf Haven wolves and the world in mind and publication costs are kept at a minimum.”

WOLF HAVEN
“We are a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is “working for wolf conservation” by:
protecting our wild wolves;
providing sanctuary for captive-born wolves;
promoting wolf restoration in historic ranges;
and educating the public on the value of all wildlife.”

“Wolf Haven Intl. has been working for wolf conservation around the Northwest and throughout the world since 1982. In addition to providing sanctuary for captive-born wolves, Wolf Haven educates over 30,000 visitors each year on the role of the wolf in the wild. Wolf Haven offers educational guided walking tours of its wolf sanctuary in Tenino, Washington as well as off-site presentations to schools, community groups, and professional organizations.”

Wolf Haven International
3111 Offut Lake Rd. SE
Tenino, Washington 98589
Phone: 1-800-448-9653

TELL WOLF HAVEN YOU READ ABOUT THEIR AWARD ON THE YELM COMMUNITY BLOG!


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