April 27, 2009
In Rep. Tom Campbell's Press Release over the weekend about the close of the State Legislative Session, there was a list of the accomplishments.
One of the lines said,
"Support job growth at Yelm Longmire Park ($400,000)"
I wrote and asked Rep. Campbell what the job growth at Longmire Park is all about:
"The Longmire Park project are for restrooms at the Ballpark [located at 16820 Canal Road SE, Yelm].
Right now, the Longmire Parks restroom facilities are portable toilets. Potable water is no (sic) available on site, nor are there sewer system connections. This project is the final phase of the sports complex Yelm is building for the community," quoting Liz Merrick, Senior Legislative Assistant to Rep. Campbell.
Previously, the Yelm City Council authorized $408,800 to install a water line to Longmire Park, as reported here July 23, 2008. While maybe a good idea a year ago, is this wise today?
Since then, we have been aware of a State Budget deficit of $9 billion, a major deficit in Thurston County that includes a massive hit to the Sheriff's Staff and Yelm's Mayor Harding telling the Yelm Chamber of Commerce recently, "We can no longer operate the [water] system allowing new growth" and that the city has taken on debt.
Now, with the $400,000 authorized by the State Legislature for new Longmire Park toilets added to the $408,800 previously appropriated by the city, do you think this is a good time to be spending almost $1,000,000 in taxpayer money for water and toilets at a ballpark that might get used 3 months out of a year?
While I applaud the efforts of Rep. Campbell and our State Legislature, is this REALLY a wise appropriation when we're laying off state workers and cutting essential medical and elderly care programs, as an example?
How do you feel about all of the State, County & City budgets being trimmed, yet $808,800 is being authorized for ballpark toilets and water irrigation just to keep the dust down and grasses green in Summer?
And, can the city afford to irrigate the ball fields, what with their huge water rate increases and calls for businesses to conserve water?
I say that eliminating ball field irrigation should be the City of Yelm's first step to conserve water here and show the town they will "bite the bullet" and lead the way to conserve, too!
Almost a million bucks for water to irrigate the ball fields in Summer and to have flush toilets instead of portable toilets in this economy? These are dollars that could go for jobs, a new Library or the Mayor's dream of a Recreation Center, don't you think? I know the city needs a place to recharge the aquifer with their reclaimed water and Longmire Park would be a good place to do that, however officials have not been up-front about their intentions in this regard. The public still has no access to the October, 2008 Water Mitigation Plan via the city's website.
A sweet and caring official mentioned to me at the Nisqually Valley Home Show yesterday and said, "You don't always have to sleuth looking for the bad things here."
What does that mean? Just shove all of that I learn and observe under the carpet and turn the other way?
Why are there so many things that just look bad here; appearance of conflict of interests, keeping City Hall news from the public and all? That has gone on here long enough and now the city is in a "pretty pickle."
One does not have to sleuth, as all of this is right before our eyes, for those that want to see!
If no one speaks up for change, then all of Yelm's dirty little secrets will stay buried under a bulging carpet.
Is that what this community wants?
Perhaps the silence from the public is indicative of that.
While maybe not occurring in Yelm as of yet, how would you like to be employed by the city and told that your job is to be cut, yet we're going to spend a million bucks to have flush toilets at the Ball Park? That is where this is heading, and sooner rather than later!
WHAT DO YOU SAY?
UPDATE: 3PM April 27
We're going to spend almost $1 million dollars to have flush toilets and ball park lawns watered, when KING-5 reports,
"The spending cuts [from the State Budget] could lead to 8,000 government worker layoffs, strip 40,000 people from the state-subsidized Basic Health Plan, and leave 9,000 college enrollment slots without state financing. Community and technical college students will pay up to 7 percent more in tuition; four-year students face a 14 percent hike.
Teachers won't get their voter-approved cost-of-living raises, K-12 schools will get less money to hire staff, and hospitals and nursing homes will be paid less to care for the poor."