September 30, 2009

MEET COUNTY COMMISSIONER & CANDIDATE KAREN VALENZUELA IN YELM THIS FRIDAY – OPEN TO THE PUBLIC


Incumbent District 3 County Commissioner Candidate Karen Valenzuela

Youre invited to meet County Commissioner Karen Valenzuela
&
Thurston County District 3 Candidate for the countywide election
Join us Friday, Oct. 2nd
7-8:30pm
Blue Bottle Caf
309 E Yelm Ave.

GOV. GREGOIRE APPOINTED VALENZUELA TO FILL VACANT SEAT
“Gregoire’s appointment of Valenzuela marked the end of a two-month process to find the successor for former commissioner Bob Macleod that started with the Thurston County Democratic Party, passed briefly to the two county commissioners and ended at the governor’s office,” quoting The Olympian last January.

VALENZUELA WAS TOP VOTE-GETTER IN AUGUST PRIMARY

“Valenzuela polled 44.5 percent of the 10,219 votes counted election night,” quoting The Olympian.

VALENZUELA’S ACTION PLAN
“I have a five-point action plan that I am already at work on:

1. Bring sanity to the budget

2. Return to the letter and spirit of the growth management act

3. Confront climate change

4. Re-engage in Human Services partnerships

5. Work on inter-jurisdictional cooperation

Please support me this November in the special election to fill the remainder of the term to which I was appointed.”

Hosted by Blue Bottle Caf
& the
Yelm Community Blog

For information,
karenvalenzuela.com

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!


September 30, 2009

“FORUM NIGHT TO FEATURE CANDIDATES FOR MAJOR RACES” – YELM EXCLUDED

“South Sound residents have the chance to see all of their major local candidates for the November election in one place over two consecutive nights.

The League of Women Voters of Thurston County and The Olympian are sponsoring candidate forums Wednesday and Thursday, at The Olympia Center.

Wednesday will feature candidates for Olympia City Council and the Port of Olympia Commission. Thursday brings hopefuls for the Lacey City Council, Tumwater mayor and Thurston County Commission.

The league has taped interviews with candidates in past elections, said Barb Theiss, the leagues voter services chair. But this years event will be live and open to the public…

Theres not much more time for campaigning. The Nov. 3 election is little more than a month away, and mail-in ballots must, by law, be mailed to voters at least 18 days before the election, according to the Thurston County Auditors Web site,” quoting The Olympian.

NOTE: MAYOR HARDING IS RUNNING UNOPPOSED, SO THERE IS NOTHING TO DISCUSS WITH HIM SINCE THERE IS NO RACE.
DURING THE CAMPAIGN 4 YEARS AGO AND THROUGHOUT HIS TENURE, MAYOR HARDING HAS NEVER HELD A TOWN HALL PUBLIC FORUM. HE HAS ONLY ALLOWED THE PUBLIC TO SPEAK TO HIM ABOUT CITY ISSUES DURING A CITY COUNCIL SESSION, AND LIMITED TO 3 MINUTES UNLESS ON A PRESSING ISSUE – LIKE THE RECENT WATER BILL INCREASES.

TWO CANDIDATES ARE ALSO RUNNING FOR THE SAME VACATING YELM CITY COUNCIL SEAT AND YOU WILL NOT HEAR THEIR VIEWS AT THE CANDIDATE FORUMS, EITHER!

UPDATE – OCTOBER 2ND, 2009

Yelm City Council Candidate Jennifer Littlefield tells the Yelm Community Blog she “agreed to appear for the forum; however, my opponent either wouldn’t or couldn’t appear, so the League canceled our forum date. They have a no “empty chair” policy and don’t do forums for single candidates. I just wanted to clarify that point as your statement implied an unwillingness to participate.”


September 29, 2009

WILCOX FARMS – HARVEST FARM TOUR THIS SATURDAY 10-4

WILCOX FARMS EVENTS THIS WEEKEND

October 2 – 3
Friday – Saturday
Pacific Harbor Boy Scout Family Camp

The Century old Wilcox Farms is hosting a free Scout family camp. Scouts and their families are welcome to camp at the historical Wilcox family farmyard. Families are welcome to bring RVs and tents. The farm has a on-site RV dump station and water with limited bathrooms. Feel free to show up anytime Friday Oct 2nd and stay through the weekend. There are trails and museums to tour as well as our annual Oct 3rd Harvest fest. All free of charge.

October 3
Saturday 10am – 4pm
Harvest Fest and Organic Event

Join us for Harvest Fest 2009 at the Farm. Free Fun for All Ages. Nestled in the beautiful Nisqually River Valley, Wilcox Family Farms has been raising chickens for 100 years. Come and celebrate the traditions of family farming with us, at HarvestFest 2009.

Wilcox Farms Inc.
40400 Harts Lake Valley Rd.
Roy, WA 98580
360.458.7774


September 28, 2009

SEN. BECKER ANNOUNCES NEW ONLINE-ONLY 2ND DISTRICT GOVERNMENT GUIDE


Senator Randi Becker
Photo from Senator Becker’s Legislative website

Did you know about Senator Randi Becker’s “new 2nd District Online Government Guide, which contains contact information (phone numbers, addresses and e-mail addresses) for national, state and local officials? It also has information for police and fire, emergency services, libraries, schools, parks, and voter registration in our district. Now, getting involved is even easier!

From Senator Becker,
This is truly a valuable resource for the citizens of my district, especially at a time when more and more people are getting involved by contacting their elected officials, Becker said. If people are as concerned as I am about some of the decisions our representatives have made or are considering, this guide will definitely point them in the right direction.

Unlike in previous years, this government guide will not be mailed to homes and businesses in our district, Becker said. This is an unprecedented budget crisis in Washington, and it has led to a number of tough financial decisions. Because of that, I dont feel that mass-mailing this guide is a good use of the publics tax dollars. In fact, Im trying to find ways here in the Legislature to help you keep as much of your money as possible.

When the 2009 legislative session ended in April, lawmakers werent able to sufficiently close the ever-widening budget gap. As a result, Becker says, the state will be faced with making even more tough decisions when the Legislature reconvenes in January 2010.

“Ive included the news release below, which contains links to access the new Government Guide. You can print it out at home if you like, or you can always find it on my website, www.SenateRepublicans.wa.gov/Becker. Ill be updating it as changes warrant. I hope you find it useful and informative.”

As always, feel free to contact me with your questions, comments or concerns. Its truly a privilege serving as your state senator, and I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Sincerely,

Randi Becker
2nd District State Senator
(360) 786-7602

Sen. Randi Becker represents the 2nd Legislative District, which includes Eatonville; Yelm; Rainier; Roy; Orting; Wilkeson; Carbonado; Lacey; Puyallup; Graham; Spanaway; part of Fort Lewis; and beautiful Mount Rainier.

For more information contact Erich R. Ebel at (360) 786-7395 or ebel.erich@leg.wa.gov.
Please visit our Web site at www.SenateRepublicans.wa.gov and follow our updates on Twitter.
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September 27, 2009

“CLIMATE CHANGE ALREADY FELT IN SOUTH SOUND”

“The natural features that make Washington uniquely beautiful also make the state especially vulnerable to climate change…

But an increase of 1.5 degrees in the state’s average daily temperature between 1900 and 2000 in Washington has contributed to a 30 percent decline in the spring snowpack in the lower Cascades and a similar decline in summer stream flows in several sensitive river basins.

Global climate models suggest the average annual temperature in the state will continue to climb about 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit each decade over the next 50 years, leading to milder winters, hotter summers, less water, more wildfires and drought, loss of hydropower and diminished summer water supplies, according to a 2008 climate change report issued by the state Department of Ecology.

‘It’s more than climate change; it’s climate chaos,’ Janice Adair, an Ecology climate-change specialist, said.

Take the iconic Puget Sound. Cities that have grown to the water’s edge, including Olympia, will be susceptible to sea-level rise, which is predicted to be 6 inches by 2050 and 14 inches by 2100, according to a 2008 study by the University of Washington’s Pacific Northwest Climate Impacts Group.

Nowhere is the problem more acute than South Sound because the high tides are higher at the southern end of Puget Sound, noted Philip Mote, a UW research scientist.

Previous studies by the city of Olympia predict that it would take a sea-level rise of 3 feet to flood most of downtown during the one or two extreme high tides each year. But the more likely 1-foot elevation in sea level would be enough during extreme high tides to create pools of water on some city streets and flood low-lying buildings on the Port of Olympia peninsula and other areas built on fill.

The projected floods from sea-level rise almost mimic the original shoreline of the city before the filling occurred, city Public Works Director Michael Mucha said.

Sea-level rise is starting to factor in to decision-making on city projects such as the reconstruction of Percival Landing and the new City Hall, Mucha said,” quoting The Olympian.


September 26, 2009

COUNTY COMMISSIONER ROMERO’S OPEN-TO-THE-PUBLIC COFFEE ON MONDAY


Sandra Romero

Youre invited to coffee with County Commissioner Sandra Romero

“This months coffee will focus on Thurston Countys noxious weeds with special guest Noxious Weeds Coordinator, Rick Johnson. Noxious weeds threaten public health, the environment, wildlife habitat, native plants, agriculture areas, and recreational areas. Thurston County Noxious Weed Control is monitoring for 36 species of noxious weeds which are targeted for control out of a list of 86 designated by the State of Washington.

‘The Noxious Weed program has support available to members of the public that Id like to share, including: educational presentations, plant identification, DVD’s, videos, informational brochures and pamphlets.’ said Commissioner Sandra Romero,” quoting the e-mailer.

Join us Monday, September 28th
10am – 11am
Blue Bottle Caf
309 E Yelm Ave., Yelm

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. Commissioner Romero provides complimentary coffee to participants, that she pays for personally. These coffees give you the opportunity to talk about issues of concern, ask Commissioner Romero questions about the county, and share ideas. She is the representative of District 2, which includes Yelm, Lacey, and Rainier.

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


September 25, 2009

CITY COUNCIL GETS EARFUL FROM PUBLIC ON WATER BILLS – AGAIN!

The Yelm City Council received an earful for over one half-hour on September 22nd from local citizens about the water rate increases. Since there was virtually no business on the Agenda (Special Presentation delayed & the Ordinance 910 vote continued until Sept. 25), Mayor Harding allowed the 15 minute Public Comment session to be extended. All of the speakers were City of Yelm residents. Mayor Harding fielded the responses to these comments:

1. Deanna Davis
Ms. Davis said she recognized the huge increase when she received her last water bill of $377 for one month, saying, “I consider that outrageous!”
She said she was a caregiver in Olympia and her water usage is quite minimal, outside of watering her plants. She has been in Yelm 11 years and added, “I really feel these rates are not just high, they’re outrageous. I really don’t know how the average family can feed themselves with these rates. I would really like to know more as to why we’re paying so much. My previous bill was $94.”
Ms. Davis stated she went to City Hall to seek some information and was told the rates were necessary to provide infrastructure, adding “You had to move the wells. When is the next water increase going to be?”
Mayor Harding asked her if she thinks that there is a discrepancy in what she has been using.
Ms. Davis said she is using more, but not THAT much more (a four-fold increase).
Council member Isom asked if she has a sprinkler. Ms. Davis said, no; she waters by hand. She continued saying City Hall told her this rate increase was all about moving the wells (out to the SW Annex – Thurston Highlands).
The Mayor said he could not answer the issue in just 2-3 minutes and invited her to stay after.

2. Frank Jones (husband of Sept. 8th public speaker Jackie Keys-Jones)
Mr. Jones came up with a stack of printed documents well over one foot thick — 1,500 pages of the Draft water System Plan.
He told the Mayor & Council that usage aside, he is no longer buying their answers vs. what the Plan identifies. He said he works for the U. S. Army and his job is to look at infrastructure, find flaws and fix them.
Quoting Mr. Jones, “Your usage problem is incorrect! There is no way all of these people are using this volume of water.”
Mayor Harding said they’re checking meters in Mr. Jones’s neighborhood. He made an offer for Mr Jones to come in for a personal, one hour presentation on the Draft Water System Plan. Mr. Jones said he is being shipped out for deployment for a year on Sept. 24th, however his wife will keep informed on this matter.

Mr. Jones asked, “If this IS only a Draft (Water System Plan), and not finalized yet, why is there a rate increase? I have already turned away people from moving to this city (because of the high water bills here).”
He also mentioned that he believed the city is paying for Thurston Highlands’ bankruptcy relating to water issues.
He continued, “I had the Army Corps of Engineers look into this Draft Plan and I want to share the flaws they found according to WA. State Code.”
The Mayor said the Yelm Water Committee will look into the rates and he’d like to see the information from the Army Corps of Engineers.
Mr. Jones mentioned one flaw they found MAY be with the computer program the city employs relating to rate software.
Mr, Jones closed by saying, “I have not been shown the benefit to me, of this Water Plan.”

3. The lady that is the neighbor and spoke with Mrs. Keys-Jones on Sept. 8th returned and said that when municipalities do not have a meter sealer & weight/balances person, then the jurisdiction on rates falls to the State of WA. and the city themselves cannot raise rates.
City Administrator Badger said the city’s employees are qualified and what was cited is not so in the State of WA.
The lady said, “I differ with you.” She said that when the City of Yelm starts to take away her income as a senior citizen, that’s when she takes notice, gets educated and stands up to this.

Council member Don Miller suggested the city should investigate the purchase of the water meters (quality).
In audience was City Council candidate Tracey Wood.

Ed. Note: These people who dared to speak up were not Steve Klein Blog Host, RSE students or county residents – these were ALL City of Yelm residents and taxpayers. This Blogger predicted that when the water rate payers got their stomach-punch with the new rates back in early June, they would hopefully speak-up. I believe this is the tip of the iceberg and the city has finally shot themselves in the foot with their own constituents.
The 69% water rate increase is mostly to fund infrastructure needed to support an MPC (Master Planned Community) as stated in the Draft Water System Plan, namely the now-defunct Thurston Highlands. If the developers are gone [defaulted], why is infrastructure proposed to support a choice of three wells on that property still in the Draft Water System Plan? HMMM!

HOPEFULLY, MORE CITIZENS WILL DARE TO SPEAK UP AND TELL THE CITY COUNCIL ON THE 2ND & 4TH TUESDAY OF EACH MONTH AT 7PM AT THE YELM PUBLIC SAFETY BUILDING!

SEE THE FULL COMMENTS ON THE CITY’S WEBSITE
click “Agenda/Notices”, then click “Meeting Video”, then 9/22/2009.


September 24, 2009

PLAYACTING IS BACK!

Playcting is Back!
Theater classes for young people age 7-12 taught by Nancy Hillman, former artistic director of the Drew Harvey Theater.
Is your child shy or bold? Tentative or outgoing? There is room for all.
Performance classes include basic training in acting, singing and theater movement.
Playacting’s series of six week sessions will transform your youngster into a more confident and self-expressive person.
End of term presentation for friends and relatives make it fun for the entire family.

WHERE: At the Center for the Creative Arts in Rainier.
302 Binghampton St., Rainier
WHEN: Saturday Afternoons from 1-5pm
Sept. 26 through Nov. 7
HOW: Call Nancy Hillman (360-446-2188) or
Cari (360-458-1311) to Register
or e-mail Imnakomah@aol.com

COST: $150 FOR THE SIX WEEK SESSION


September 23, 2009

KILLION LID BOND 2 AWAITING GUARANTEE FROM WASHINGTON, DC

RE: Killion LID Bond 2, 2009

The Yelm City Council voted a continuance last night awaiting an answer from the USDA as outlined in this Staff Report:

“Ordinance 910, authorizing the issuance and sale of a local improvement district No. 2 bond in the principal amount of $10,139,000, providing the form, terms, conditions and covenants of said bond, providing for the sale thereof, and providing for the disposition of the proceeds of the sale.

The proposed Ordinance and staff recommendation assumes that USDA Rural Development Agency has approved a loan guarantee and Thurston First Bank is therefore willing to make the loan. If either of these conditions does not come about prior to the City Council meeting on September 22nd, the Council should not adopt Ordinance 910.

The City Council created Local Improvement District No. 2 (Killion Road LID) by Ordinance No. 847 on June 14, 2006. The Council confirmed the assessment roll for the District in the manner required by law in the amount of $10,487,000 on May 12, 2009, by Ordinance No. 903. Of the total assessment roll, $347,383 was prepaid by property owners within the LID boundaries.

It is now necessary that the City issue its Local Improvement District No. 2 Bond in the amount of $10,139,000, which is the amount of assessments unpaid.

The bond underwriter for the City has attempted to market standard LID bonds, but has failed to place these bonds due to current economic conditions and the foreclosure of the Thurston Highlands property coupled with the pending bankruptcy proceeds by the developer of Thurston Highlands.

Thurston First Bank has offered to purchase the 17 year bond at an interest rate of 8.52% with a maturity date of September 1, 2026. Conditions of the purchase of the bond include maintaining a guarantee fund of 10% of the outstanding principal. A condition of this offer is that the loan be guaranteed in the amount of 90% by the USDA Rural Development Agency. The application to USDA has been made and approved at the State level and has been submitted to Washington D.C. for final approval….

The adoption of Ordinance 910 effectively accepts a loan from Thurston First Bank in the amount of $10,139,000, which will be used to repay the Bond Anticipation Notes used to finance the construction of the Killion Road LID, along with financing costs.”

UPDATE:
The City of Yelm has not heard from the USDA and has continued the September 22nd Council meeting until 4pm Friday, September 25th to record whether the USA will guarantee the Thurston First Bank loan, or not.

UPDATE: THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 24TH
The USDA Rural Development Dept. approved the federal government guaranteeing the Thurston First Bank loan to fund this LID.
The unsaleable city bonds had only one bank show any desire to loan the city money for this, and that was Thurston First Bank. Thurston First will purchase the bond at 8.52% for 17-years to pay it off.
The City Council will approve Ordinance 910 at 4pm on September 25th in their continued Council session.

This writer submitted this letter to the City Council for the official record of the September 22, 2009 Yelm City Council Meeting:

Dear Mayor Harding, Yelm City Council members, City Administrator Badger & Community Development Dir. Beck,

Regarding: Ordinance 910 Local Improvement District No. 2 Bond, 2009
on the agenda for your vote Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The public has not been privy to your Executive Session discussions about real estate acquisitions,
so I am writing without full knowledge of all that you know and which is not known by the public.
However, were I in your shoes, I would want a ‘due diligence’ performed on the following questions
before I considered a vote on ordinance 910 this Tuesday:

1. Yelm Community and Government Relations Coordinator Teixeira wrote me the following last Friday [9/18/09] in response to my questions:

Ordinance 903, as stated in the staff report, is the ordinance which directly affected the property owners was the one that formed the Local Improvement District. The city has been in communication with the property owners throughout the LID process. Final assessments were mailed out several months ago.

Ordinance 910 is a financing mechanism and allows for assessment payments from the LID property owners to be made over time. So to answer your question, no, the property owners were not personally notified about Ordinance 910.

As of Thursday, September 17, the Thurston Highlands parcels (associated with the L. I. D., parcels that will provide tax funding will be over 50% of the LID) were in default and have shown no owner change as of yet.
– While City Ordinance 903 (which formed the Local Improvement District) was attached to the affected Highlands parcels in May, 2009 along with the other lien holders, wouldn’t you want to know if the City of Yelm is entering into a conflict of interest in moving forward with this Bond, since the subsequent, new Highlands property owners were not involved in the Public Hearing on the LID held at the May 12, 2009 Council Meeting as recorded on the official Minutes?

– Wouldn’t you want to ask if the city is not being considerate of new property owners in moving ahead with this Bond without their input, all while these properties fates remain unknown?
After all, the City’s first obligation is to recoup the unpaid taxes & fees first in any transaction that resolves the properties default.

– To summarize:
Should the city be entering into & isn’t this a conflict of interest for the City of Yelm to be moving forward with a Bond, when the unpaid taxes have not been recouped, the fate of the property still remains undetermined and the new owners not consulted about the Bond (which assesses their LID payments), except for attaching Ordinance 903 to the parcels involved in the L. I. D.?
– Is moving forward on this Bond improper without notifying those L. I. D property owners about their payment assessments?
– How would you feel if YOU were one of these property owners and the city did not notify you about your L. I. D. payment assessments?

2. Mike Edwards spoke on-the-record at the May 24, 2006 Yelm City Council Meeting in support of the creation of the L. I. D.
According to the city’s official Minutes of that meeting, Mr. Edwards stated, “…he is part of a pioneer family in Yelm since 1852 and owner of 26 acres on the assessment list.”
– Wouldn’t you want to know if there is any conflict of interest on the part of Thurston First Bank in making the loan, since Edwards is on the Board of Directors of Thurston First and in particular, that would reflect poorly on the City of Yelm for not following through with proper due diligence in vetting this issue?
So, the key question would be:
– Is Mike Edwards still an investor, partner or owner of parcels/property in the Killion Rd. LID that would be a direct beneficiary of this Ordinance.
If so, Thurston First Bank should recuse themselves from making this loan?

UPDATE: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 25TH
Slam dunk!
The vote passes & the federal taxpayer is now guarantor to a project that was supposed to be over 50% Thurston Highlands/Tahoma Terra developer financed. Congratulations to all of you taxpayers!

UPDATE: MONDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2009
The 8 acre parcel fronting Yelm Ave West across and behind Rosemont in the LID is owned by Hallamer Investments, LLC. with an address of:
920 E BAY DR NE APT 3D301
OLYMPIA, WA, 98506
The phone number listed has been disconnected.

Care to take a guess at who owns the aforementioned Hallamer Investments, LLC. property for $64,000?
B-I-N-G-O!
Thurston County Assessors data says none other than MICHAEL DWAINE EDWARDS!
Johnny, what do we have for today’s winner on who is benefiting from the Yelm LID?


September 22, 2009

SUPPORT OUR LOCALLY OWNED BUSINESSES: GORDON’S FABULOUS FALL SALE!


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