February 20, 2019

Mayor Foster guides council to defer planning for 640 acre acquisition contingencies, at budget’s potential peril

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Story highlights

  • February 5, 2019 Study Session discussion on mayor’s 640 acres contract
  • Possible owners’ default will cost Yelm over $1 million in + interest
  • Foster said acquiring 640 acres for $1 million would be a good deal
  • Yet the city would also be responsible for an LID
  • What would city do with 640 acres, why is there no planning now?
  • Mayor Foster guided council to defer planning until late in 2019
  • Is Yelm about to repeat the 2009-2010 economic downturn adversely affecting budgets?
  • Councilor Stillwell expressed concern on city’s “petal to the metal” spending.
  • Why has this not been publicly discussed – the public remains uninformed?
  • Storm clouds loom on the horizon that could affect city budget!

Editor’s note: On February 19, 2019, I suggested to the Planning Commission that they be updated on the contract that Mayor Foster signed without council approval to acquire a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure, covered here last summer. The land owners have until December 2019 to pay multiple years in back-taxes and fees, or default, leaving the city with the 640 acres of land, interest and over $1 million in expenses, plus the LID. The lack of action by the land-owners and recent news items casts doubt on the land owners paying off their debt to the city: On the most recently released real estate statistics for Thurston County, the increase in available properties has now moved into a buyers market, meaning there are more sellers than buyers. In addition, reported last week were stories that national personal credit card debt has skyrocketed and savings have dropped. These are indicative there are storm clouds on the horizon and the city should be prepared for the land’s owners to default. For the city to have a potential of $1 million plus interest in additional expenses and take on the LID responsibility if the land owners default, to not plan and be prepared to handle this massive budget load and disposition of the land is fool-hardy at best!

The entire manner in which Mr. Foster has handled this 640 deal is the very sign of an exceptionally poor manager. A proper leader would not wait until the end of the year when the contract expires to craft any contingencies! The mayor should be directing the Planning Commission and Community Development now to create committees to craft options for consideration, yet the mayor is protecting the land owners instead of his first responsibility to serve the public interests he took an oath to protect. The city has had no contact with the land owners on their intentions and Foster’s reason for not doing so is unwise. City Administrator Grayum should contact the owners immediately for an update and report to the council, mayor and public!

Bottom line:
If at the end of this year the city is left holding the deed + LID responsibility + interest, that will add a MAJOR burden of over $1 million in expenses to to the city’s balance sheet, plus 2018’s $1 million purchase/renovation of the new city hall building, and required deferred maintenance/upgrades expenses for Public Works. While the land-owners could pay multiple years of backlogged taxes and fees and avoid default, that does not eliminate the need to craft contingency plans if they do not! The city’s future has been mortgaged and is in the cross-hairs if officials do no planning until near the contract December 29, 2019 expiration date.

  • To do nothing until late Autumn is irresponsible
  • To not have this as a public discussion is also irresponsible
  • This city has great minds that should be working on this issue

Click here for my letter to the Yelm Planning Commission.


February 19, 2019

PDC calls-out PUD GM for affecting 2018 PUD candidate Andrew Saturn’s campaign

Andrew Saturn
Credit: Friends of Saturn

  • Editor’s note: Last summer (2018), I was approached by then-candidate Andrew Saturn running for Public Utility District (PUD) commissioner. I was intrigued about his candidacy after reading public documents he presented on how the public’s interests were not being protected. Click here for this blog’s coverage, Oct. 15, 2018.
  • I have volunteered in many election cycles bringing candidates to Yelm to introduce themselves and their platforms to our community so the voting public can learn directly and cast an educated vote. Such was the case when I invited Mr. Saturn to Yelm last October for a candidates forum I hosted at The Triad Theater in Yelm, along with then-candidates Tye Menser (county Commissioner) and Victor Minjares (county Prosecutor). The forum and Q & A session were live-streamed to Yelm residents.
  • Mr. Saturn’s campaign focused on issues bringing locally-controlled electricity, public fiber broadband internet, higher worker pay and improved benefits, and expanding transparency. The electrical and communication monopolies here waged a vigorous effort to attack/discredit Mr. Saturn’s candidacy on multiple fronts, yet I could not refute the public documentation he presented. I felt the public had a right to hear his views, even though I received many comments against doing so. I did not back down regardless that my stand was unpopular for some.
  • UPDATE: The WA. Public Disclosure Commission (PUD), the very agency tasked with transparency on the impeccability of state election campaigns, recently found that PUD General Manager John Weidenfeller “may” have violated state law when he sent rebutting statements to the three sitting PUD commissioners and subsequently “leaked” to the press with the clear intent of unfairly undermining Saturn’s campaign. The implication was this leak allegedly originated from the very office of the PUD General Manager who is supposed to know better than to engage in such actions.
  • DOCUMENTS: 
    Click here for the PDC document to the PUD.
  • Click here for Mr. Saturn’s PDC Formal Complaint concerning misrepresented coverage of his campaign by The Olympian.

Bottom line: The PDC gave Mr. Weidenfeller a formal written warning where they wrote:

“Staff does not believe that rebutting statements made by Mr. Saturn in political advertisements and public forums as a candidate seeking election to the PUD, and providing that information to one of the incumbent Commissioners running against Mr. Saturn,is a permitted activity in accordance with PDC statues, rules and interpretations.”

“Pursuant to WAC 390-37-060(1)(b), PDC staff issued a formal written warning to John Weidenfeller concerning the importance of complying with RCW 42.17A.555 and the prohibition of using PUD facilities to support or oppose a candidate or ballot proposition, in accordance with WAC 390-05-271 and 273.”

In closing: What caught my observation in this entire matter from the start was the huge amount of opposition from the incumbent and her supporters, area politicians, and the two very large monopoly’s attacking Mr. Saturn yet never directly addressing his unique views and desire to bring about change to a PUD entrenched and entrenched to hold fast to the past.


February 19, 2019

Introducing a new Yelm events ticketing site

Editor’s note: I am introducing Yelm to Troy Kirby’s (owner of Tao of Sports, LLC) small ticket platform, which has been ticketing several shows in the Yelm. area. AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC!

Click here to get your tickets for the best shows in Yelm, WA. and vicinity!



February 18, 2019

JZ Knight and Ramtha note 42 years of a remarkable collaboration this week

Democrats take $50K gift from warrior spirit ‘Ramtha’ – despite anti-Mexican slurs | KUOW News ...
JZ Knight
Photo: © 2019 JZ Knight, used with permission.

Story reprinted here from JZ Knight.com, with permission.

Highlights:
* Ramtha appeared to JZ Knight 42 years ago this week
* Knight became known as a “channel” of Ramtha and 1980’s New Age movement icon
* Ramtha established his Yelm-based School of Enlightenment (RSE) in 1988
* Yelm acclaimed internationally as a spiritual hub – Ramtha teachings delivered on 6 continents, over 100,000 enrollments
* RSE has been a Yelm economic engine for decades, thousands have come here annually,
* JZ Knight and Ramtha are in their 5th decade of their remarkable journey together



– As recalled by Knight from 1977, on the third Sunday of the second month [February 20, 1977]:
“Einstein and I were becoming giddy and downright silly. You can only do so many pyramids, and there are only so many things you can find to go under them. Maybe that is why all those mummies died so young — they laughed them¬selves to death building their graves. At any rate, we began to laugh hysterically. In jest, I grabbed one of the rejects off the floor, held it over my head, and proclaimed, ‘Attention, attention please, you are now about to witness a miracle. We are about to place our new brain machine upon the willing victim, upon whom nature did not smile with great intelligence. Carefully we place the pyramid in the aligned position, encompassing the entire head and face. In moments, gentlemen, you will witness a truly magnificent transformation.’

“I placed it on my head, and through peals of laughter from myself and Einstein, I mumbled, ‘I sure hope it works.’ After a few moments, I lifted the end of the pyramid just to eye level and, laughing so hard that tears were streaming from my eyes, I caught the glimmer of a bright light at the other end of my kitchen. The light was blurred by the tears, so I reached for a tissue and wiped the tears away. I blinked, and to my utter shock and amazement, there stood a giant man at the other end of my kitchen . . . just standing there, aglow.

“This . . . thing . . . was made all of light, like golden glitter dropped through a ray of sunlight. His shoulders came to the top of the door, and it was as if the ceiling had dis¬appeared to make room for his head. It was beautiful. His robe seemed to be of purple light, a dazzling display of color and crystal against this strangeness of immense human form. An illuminating white overlay formed the broad mantle of his shoulders. I could not make out if jewels and gold flashed upon his heavenly robe or if they were lights. These were the brightest lights and colors I had ever seen, and yet they were not harsh. His face . . . it was the most beautiful face I had ever seen . . . eyes that shone like ebony stones with copper flashes . . . skin, if that is what it was, the coloring of olive, bronze, illuminated, and a fine chiseled nose and a broad jawline and a smile that would rival any Hollywood star’s. My eyes went glassy, like those of a sleepwalker. I could hear voices about me, but they were far away, like in a dream. The power to reason had fled my mind, and I felt pulled into the splendor of that unearthly magic. A blue light blazed and filled the room with an aura of innocence and holy peace that emanated from this stately form. A moment later — I don’t know, maybe it was an hour later — I formed an utterance of words that must have come from a feeble innocence within my being. “You are so beautiful. Who are you?’

“A smile so divine parted his lips to reveal glistening, immaculate teeth.

“‘I am Ramtha the Enlightened One. I have come to help you over the ditch.’ The words were delivered in a most melodious manner.”

From The New York Times bestselling book A State of Mind, by JZ Knight. pp. 26-27.


February 6, 2019

South Sound Business on their Feb. 1 tour of Yelm, who visited at Blogger Klein’s invitation

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Many of these South Sound Business Staff toured Yelm
with Jeff Burlingame, Editor, 2nd from left.
Photo credit: Premier Media Group

“South Sound Business Tours Yelm and Tenino”

“Follow along as our team of editors, writers, and designers explore the communities we report on

“During our tour to Olympia last summer, The Deadlines (our touring moniker) got to know the state capital with the Experience Olympia & Beyond team. Last week, we ventured out to see some more of the “Beyond,” thanks in large part to Yelm resident Steve Klein, who contacted us to invite us to see Yelm’s unique spirit for ourselves.

“So, with Klein, Experience Olympia & Beyond, and a rotating cast of other officials along for the ride, we decided to get off the beaten path and check out what Yelm and neighboring Tenino have to offer. Here are some notable takeaways from each city.”

Yelm

A Thriving Arts Scene

“Our first stop in Yelm took us to The Triad Arts Theater, where founder Calamity Jayne ushered us into the homey and eclectic black box theater filled with couches as seats. At the theater, children take classes, community members put on musicals, filmmakers showcase their work, and more. The theater is the area’s one-stop-shop for all things performance — a space for fostering artistic creation for people of all ages.

“‘We want artists to feel comfortable here, like they’re performing for guests in their own living room,’ said Jayne, explaining the intimate setup of the black box.

“Jayne also introduced us to Yelm’s annual UFO Fest, which takes place the last weekend of July and in which the city takes great pride. The festival showcases scientists, musicians, vendors, and hot air balloons, providing space for enthusiasts and skeptics alike in a family-friendly environment.”

A Bright Future

“Next, we visited Yelm’s recently completed community center, where we met with Mayor JW Foster, City Administrator Michael Grayum, and Public Works Director Chad Bedlington, who filled us in on plans that Yelm has to update its city park with new play equipment and a splash park, which they hope to have open by summer.

“‘Since I moved out here 22 years ago, we’ve become one of the fastest growing cities in Western Washington,’ Mayor Foster said. “This is a great location: We have natural amenities, arguably the best view of Mount Rainier in the area, the Nisqually River, and a fairly short commute to various work areas. We’re also working on establishing more work opportunities here in Yelm, and part of that will be through our partnership with South Puget Sound Community College.”

“That partnership, which aims to improve educational prospects for residents and make earning a degree more accessible than it has been in the past, was further explained by SPSCC’s chief communications and legislative affairs officer Kelly Green.

“‘“This city is so committed to ensuring that its constituents have access to every type of education,’ Green said. “Our instructors teach our classes using their high school facilities, and we work with some of their high school instructors for a program called High School 21, which helps students over 21 earn a high school diploma at a reduced tuition rate and in a highly customizable way.”

‘Within a month of that program starting in Yelm, Green said, 10 students had already earned their high school diploma through High School 21; in three months, 16 people have done so.”

Authentic Italian Pizza

“For lunch, we stopped at La Gitana, a pizzeria that uses wood-fired ovens and authentic ingredients imported from Italy. The delicious food is complimented by a European ambiance: terrace dining in the summer and soft jazz music playing in the background.

“Co-owner Marian Licxandru, who is originally from Romania, also told us of the Jazz Fest that he started in Yelm two years ago, which incorporates a similarly European atmosphere with live jazz in the park each summer.” Read more


February 4, 2019

Yelm Biosolids Proposal garners public meeting Friday – OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!

From Preserve The Commons.org:


February 1, 2019

South Sound Business Magazine Staff toured and experienced Yelm today!

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Many of these South Sound Business Staff toured Yelm
with Jeff Burlingame, Editor, 2nd from left.
Photo credit: Premier Media Group

Editor’s note: I have subscribed for over 12 years to the various incarnations through different owners of what today is known as South Sound Business Magazine, now owned by Premier Media Group, Inc. of Tacoma. I have been very impressed with how Premier Media has expanded and highlighted coverage of what is occurring in the productive areas “off the I-5 corridor.”

Last July, Premier Media Editor Jeff Burlingame sent a request to readers that if they would like to host a tour for him and some of his staff of area towns, they would like to come learn about the variety our region possesses to highlight in future editions. I immediately volunteered Yelm and that I would be willing to host. Knowing the expertise of the team of Experience Olympia and Beyond, I invited them to join me in this endeavor.

So this morning, 6 staff from Premier Media, 3 staff from Experience Olympia and Beyond, and I toured Yelm for 2.5 hours with the intent to highlight the UFO Fest, Jazz Fest, and Yelm’s Community Center, coming Splash Park and the SPSCC collaboration with Yelm Schools. First stop was The Triad Theater, where Cameron Jayne had an outstanding presentation on her vision and the role of community theater in Yelm, plus her idea for a UFO Fest which will be in Yelm again this summer for the 3rd year. With the tour van passing by the Prairie Hotel, Yelm Skate Park, Yelm-Tenino Trail, the old city hall, the historical water tower highlighting the coming light extravaganza feature, the next stop was the Community Center.

Mayor Foster, City Administrator Grayum and Public Works Director Chad Bedlington presented Yelm’s plans to update Yelm City Park with new play equipment, the proposed splash park, and a coming Mermaid Festival. Kelly Green, Public Relations & Events Manager for SPSCC, gave an excellent presentation on the collaboration with Yelm Community Schools and the City of Yelm on SPSCC offering classes in Yelm.

The tour continued past the new city hall building, and the Yelm Prairie History Museum and ended at the last stop, Pizzeria LaGitana, where I hosted a lunch. Owners Marian Licxandru and Alin Stanciu shared their vision of their investments in popular restaurants in Yelm and Olympia during our wonderful meal. Marian also enunciated his vision for a Jazz Fest that he created here 2 years ago, and will be expanded this August to a two day event. The next stop was Tenino, followed by the last stop at Yelm’s Uptown Lounge to sample their popular fare. The group left uplifted in knowing more about this area than when they came. I thank Editor Burlingame for bringing his enthusiastic team to our area and look forward to how they convey to their readers what they learned here. I also sincerely thank Shauna Stewart, Moira Davin, driver Joshua and the entire Experience Olympia and Beyond team for their fine support.

A sample of Premier Media Group’s work is this excellent story titled, “South Sound Business Staff Experiences Olympia (and Beyond).” Click here


About South Sound Business “South Sound Business [published by Premier Media Group] is a business-lifestyle magazine from the publishers of 425 Business, 425, and South Sound magazines. The magazine and its corresponding website provide information and ideas about business news, opinion, startups, fashion, philanthropy, travel, business lifestyle, technology, products, and more. South Sound Business is a monthly, high-quality, full-color publication found throughout the region.” Read more



January 31, 2019

Yelm’s Michelle Horkings-Brigham publishes important book “Cannabis The Conundrum”

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Editor’s note: I happily endorse Yelm resident Michelle Horkings-Brigham’s stellar book eloquently highlighting how the lack of enforcing marijuana growers’ regulations has wrought havoc on rural land-owners and the environment. A masterpiece providing an example of how persistence, perseverance, and challenging public officials for not enforcing their own regulations gets results. This book is a terrific guide to assist every property owner, or NIMBY, fight back!

My review: “While I supported the legalization of marijuana and proud that Washington was the first state to vote this in as law, I was unaware of the dark underbelly of unpermitted, large marijuana growing operations that proliferated. As but one example, Ms. Horkings-Brigham’s book thoroughly describes how regulators continually turned their backs on one such growing operation in rural Thurston County, Washington, against their own regulations allowing this kind of operation in industrial areas only. This book is important wherever marijuana growing is legal and the research here can be used in other challenges with county officials nationwide. To be clear, Horkings-Brigham is not anti-marijuana, rather highlights the environmental toll from huge water, power and other requirements. She advocates for regulations to protect the environment and rural land-owners. This is a must-read!”

Click here to purchase (Kindle edition available).


January 28, 2019

Costco first retailer to dump Monsanto’s “Round-up” – How about Yelm doing the same?

Costco to be the First Major Retailer to Dump Monsanto’s Roundup and Glyphosate Herbicide from its Shelves

Editor’s Note: Last Autumn, Yelm’s city council was presented with the idea of removing “Round-up” from use on public lands. Dr. Ali and I presented this concept and were promised follow-up by public works from the mayor. We have heard nothing.

“Costco to be the First Major Retailer to Dump Monsanto’s Roundup and Glyphosate Herbicide from its Shelves”

“It’s been said that voting with your dollars is the most effective way of creating change in this consumer/capitalist culture, and after years of petitioning major retailers to stop selling products that contain Monsanto’s toxic glyphosate herbicide it appears that Costco may be the first major store to remove this product from its shelves.

“The use of glyphosate, which is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, has skyrocketed around the globe in spite of research outlining the harmful effects of this herbicide, including liver disease and cancer.”

“The fact that retailers, or anyone, is having a difficult time deciding whether or not to sell this poison is quite absurd considering the ever-growing body of evidence showing how dangerous this stuff is. Just recently, plaintiff DeWayne Johnson was awarded a jaw-dropping settlement of $289 million dollars after a California jury found that his terminal cancer was the direct result of exposure to glyphosate,” by Alex Pietrowski, Waking Times. Read more


January 24, 2019

Reader’s Digest: Deschutes Falls Park “coolest secret location” in WA State!

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Zack Frank/Shutterstock

“The Coolest Secret Location in Each State: Washington: [Yelm area’s] Deschutes Falls Park”

“Near Olympia, the capital city of Washington state, visitors can encounter Washington’s “newest” waterfall at Deschutes Falls Park, 155-acres of virtually uncharted territory, never having been open to the public until the 1940s and then closing to the public in 1980. It’s recently been reopened, according to Erin Petrie-Osborne of Experience Olympia. She tells Reader’s Digest that “this unexplored natural terrain invites explorers to venture the trails framed by towering Western Red Cedars, enjoy its namesake river, pools, a 27-foot waterfall, and abundant wildlife,” by Lauren Cahn, Reader’s Digest. Read more


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