July 16, 2006


This blog is doing exactly what this writer intended –
to share information and create discussion on a whole range of community issues in a forum not provided in this town. The very fact that there is controversy from these pages and from Mayor Pro-Tem Bob Isom is demonstrative of the fact that this writer’s intent is working, and in just a few short months!
Now, Mr. Isom again criticizes this blog in today’s Olympian with a further expected bump in hits. Thank you Mr. Isom for the free publicity! Readers just Google “Steve Klein, blog” and this link appears on the first page. Quoting The Olympian story,
“‘Every article in there [Yelm.com] slams the City Council for everything they try to do, and frankly without any information,’ said Yelm City Council member Bob Isom.”
HMMM, that’s an interesting observation! Mr. Isom, this writer lists every source for everything stated for the reader to read for themselves to obtain the full context. And, ALL stories are archived for future reference, something the local weekly newspaper does not do. Further, after last year’s mayoral race, my wife and I purchased two full pages in the Nisqually Valley News listing our plans were we elected, as a gift to then mayor-elect Harding and the City Council to use in any way they like. That still stands for all to see thanks to Beyond the Ordinary.net archives.
And, this writer has invited guest commentary, all from experts in their fields.
More exiting stories to come…

July 15, 2006


1. WSDOT will host an open house [for the SR510 Yelm Loop Project] directly followed by an access hearing at the Yelm Middle School Commons at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, July 26, 2006. The access hearing will start at 6 p.m. (“An access hearing is a legal procedure to allow abutting property owners and others the opportunity to provide testimony related to property access. A Hearings Examiner will conduct this formal process. Comments will be recorded and included in the project record.”) Yelm Middle School Commons is located at 402 Yelm Avenue West. The 2005 Transportation Partnership Project program allocated $33 million to fund the design and right of way for this project.”
Key questions to ask at this hearing:
A. The March, 2006 report shows construction from 2013 to 2015, meaning the road will not be fully operational for 10 years (subject to funding). This schedule has been pushed back several times in the last 2 years. Is this a reasonable timetable?
B. The report shows an unfunded amount of $35 million. With continued delays on the start of this project, has the costs of acquiring land, interest on borrowing money, construction costs & fuel, plus inflation made this balance inaccurate? Are we looking at a project total closer to $100 million?

2. Millennium RV, Inc. on 93rd near Yelm Ave. West is leaving our town saying Yelm’s city council and restrictions on doing business here are no longer palatable for them to operate. Stop in and wish them well as they have supported this towns RV servicing needs for years. This writer wishes them well in their new location in Randle. City Hall, are you taking note of this business’s departure, along with Amtech and others?
What do you, the area citizen think of this?
How will our town’s landscape change with the new Super Wal-Mart under construction this year?

July 13, 2006


Gordon’s Garden Center President Kellie Petersen was the only person to make a public comment to the Yelm City Council on July 12. She spoke in response to Council member Bob Isom’s June 28th Council meeting remarks about Yelm Council members receiving an invitation to be guests for a three-day workshop at JZ Knight’s Fabulous Wealth Retreat at the Ramtha School, inspiring front page newspaper headlines. This writer asked Ms. Petersen if she would permit her letter to be shared with the community on this blog. Her comments are printed, unabridged and in their entirety as follows:

Kellie Petersen, Gordon’s Garden Center President
photo by Mark Vicente

July 8, 2006

To the Council:

Two weeks ago JZ Knight extended an invitation to members of the Yelm City Council, local media, and business owners to a three-day Fabulous Wealth retreat.

It seems that for every industry there are more than just a few experts ready to share the secrets to their success and they rightfully get paid for those secrets. Is it really so unusual for our city council to receive invitations to attend workshops or seminars on how to communicate with its constituency or to stay abreast of new trends in successful city government or other related topics? Yet I wonder how many of these brochures are read out loud at city council meetings.

Although I did not attend the city council meeting of June 28th, from what I read in the Nisqually Valley News on July 7th and the minutes of the meeting on the citys website, the decorum of the council chambers more closely resembled a hen house. The paper stated that Councilman Bob Isom questioned the motivation behind the channelers invitation. It was further reported that he suspected the invitation was an attempt to manipulate the council and noted that such an invitation was never sent to a sitting city council before. I have never sent the council personal invitations to a workshop at Gordon’s Garden Center either, but I surely wont do it now that I know I may be suspected of ulterior motives and subsequently railed in public at a city council meeting!

Further, how is it that the facilitator of that meeting, or the entire council for that matter, could not redirect Councilman Isom back to pertinent comments or the agenda at hand? Is our council so eager to divert our attention from really important issues? And why allow the discussion to go to such a low denominator as to include the denigration of Steve Klein for daring to disagree with the council? Are we now to understand that anyone who raises concerns for our city or is in disagreement with our council is assumed to do so just to undercut the council? How can we invite public comment and participation and then castigate those who dare to disagree? That seems to send the wrong message to the community.

I am concerned that Councilman Isom may be more interested in perpetuating an immature and very tiresome drama surrounding our city governments irrational paranoia over JZ Knight trying to take over the town than in helping to create an atmosphere of inclusion in our community. Our city government has much more important things to do than gossip about other community members. We look to our leaders to find ways to keep our community whole, not to jump on any chance to cause rift. We look to our leaders to take the high road always. We look to our leaders to set the example thats why they are leaders

Councilman Isoms behavior was unbecoming of an elected public servant. I have never been a Ramtha Student, but I am still offended by the unprofessional behavior displayed. It appears to me that Councilman Isom executed the social faux pas, not JZ Knight or Steve Klein.


Kellie M. Petersen
President, Gordon’s Garden Center

July 11, 2006


In the July 7, 2006 issue of the Nisqually Valley News, Mayor Pro-tem Bob Isom says in the headline story that Steve Klein writes an Internet blog that regularly rails against city officials and many of the councils decisions. Isom said he believes Klein speaks up at council meetings to undercut council.

Undercuts Council?
For what purpose would this writer wish to do that, Mr. Isom?

Yelm City Council member Bob Isom
Photo from City of Yelm website

This writer ran for Mayor in 2005 learning about how this city functions, attending almost every city council meeting plus several study sessions, asking questions and observing many things in getting up-to-speed on city government, with a desire to further this towns prosperity. As mentioned to the NVN, I stated this is a Constitutional Republic mandating public involvement. Just because a citizen may disagree with council on some issues does not mean we cannot live and respect one another as neighbors; nor do council decisions dictate some blind allegiance as if to a King.
Bottom line, this Republic requires citizens to speak up and speak out.

Lets review what this writer has brought before the public in just this year alone:

A. On the January 11th City Council Minutes, I stated the citys growth projections used in the budget differ with what Asst. City Planner Tami Merriman was quoted as saying in the January 1, 2006 Tacoma News Tribune. You, the reader can compare the numbers for yourself from the Tacoma News Tribune story with the City of Yelm 2006 Budget. Then click “About Yelm”, then “2006 Budget”.
Access the Council Minutes and read for yourself. Then click “Minutes”, then “January 11, 2006”.

B. On the January 11th City Council Minutes, I stated that the Yelm Loop (SR 510) construction timelines were further projected out to 2015 and that road should not be relied upon to mitigate traffic here in the near-term decade.
This information is listed and revised monthly on the Washington State DOT website. Access the Council Minutes and read for yourself. Then click “Minutes”, then “January 11, 2006”.

C. On the January 11th City Council Minutes, I noted that the December 28th, 2005 Council Minutes recorded a split vote/impasse about the 2006 Budget, requiring Mayor Adam Rivas to record his first-ever, tie-breaking vote during his last meeting in office. When questioning Council member Miller about his vote against the 2006 Budget, he said he and Council member Joe Baker colluded to cause Rivas to cast a tie-breaker vote as a joke, that there really was no impasse. This writer suggested the Minutes be amended to reflect that. They were not. What happens if there are be future questions about a budget impasse and no mention of this debacle? Access the Council Minutes and read for yourself. Then click “Minutes”, then “January 11, 2006”.

D. On the January 23 Planning Commission Minutes, I stated the citys growth projections used in the budget differ with what Asst. City Planner Tami Merriman was quoted as saying in the January 1, 2006 Tacoma News Tribune.

E. On April 23, this writer attended Rep. Tom Campbells Town Hall Meeting where he stated publicly that the city council approved Wal-Mart using incorrect traffic numbers and are permitting every development, leading to the creation of major issues for traffic, water and sewage. This man gave a frank assessment about Yelm’s Wal-Mart approval that drew a heated response from Mayor Pro-tem Bob Isom. Rep. Campbell told Mr. Isom this was his meeting, enough of an argument and would give him his due at the end. This did not arise again. Mr. Campbell clearly stated we must get involved in our local government and tell them what we want – that they are here to serve their constituents, not the other way around. He encouraged us to keep speaking out on issues of importance to us and learn the processes to enact change and challenge the status quo.

F. On May 27, I questioned the expansion capabilities of the new Yelm High School stating The new high school has capacity for 1,200 students, and will house about 1,100 when it opens this Fall, because the freshman class will relocate to the two middle schools in Yelm. Will the citizens soon be asked to foot the bill for more construction for Yelm Schools because of all the approved home developments?
In a response from Superintendent Alan Burke, the answer was Certainly, assuming that Yelm keeps growing, we will need to ask the voters to approve a school construction bond sometime between 2009 and 2013. See the complete answer under May 28, 2006. Are the Yelm area property owners aware of this potential?

G. On the May 24th City Council Minutes (then click “Minutes”, then “May 24, 2006”), I stated the then-proposed LID was supported by large, out-of town corporations and all of the LID opponents were made up of local voters. I also stated a center turn lane on the backs of the local taxpayer will not solve the traffic problems because a center turn lane adds no additional capacity, only assisitng flow. City Planner Jim Gibson replied that with a center turn lane and Loop, Yelm Ave. West can handle the traffic just fine. I told him the State DOT now shows the Loop opening in 2016, a full decade way; that the Loop should not be considered mitigating traffic in the near-term 10 year period and this LID is disingenuous because the city will have to come back and widen Yelm Ave. West to 5 lanes within 3-5 years. A LID was never proposed for Yelm Avenue East’s expansion a few years ago and was only on the agenda for this portion of Yelm Avenue West because of a private development’s specific request. The LID passed, placing a burden for some of the costs of the road improvements onto the backs of the “little people.”

H. The City Council announced in the NVN on June 2nd that it would select a new Council member that will add diversity to the Council composition. Then, on June 14th, the council chooses a former Council member & Mayor Pro-Tem and current aid to the Lt. Governor. What about another woman or stated goal of diversity with someone bringing fresh, new ideas? See my comments under “June 14th”, #3.

I. On June 14th (then click “Minutes”, then “June 14, 2006”) the council approved public monies to be used for a private developments EIS. I wrote a Letter to the Editor of the NVN prompting them to write a front-page story on this issue July 7, 3+ weeks AFTER the council approval, where the city admits, This work were doing is going to funnel into the Environmental Impact Statement [EIS] process for Thurston Highlands, [Yelm City Administrator Shelley] Badger said. Theyre going to use the data.

And finally, on April 13th of last year, Bill Hashim is recorded in the Council Minutes (then click “Minutes”, then “April 13, 2005”) as requesting a moratorium on construction that would include the Wal-Mart application, in order to complete the citys Critical Areas Update. Mr. Isom immediately motioned for a moratorium on moratoriums, quickly seconded by Joe Baker.

Bottom line:
Disagree with the Mayor & Yelm City Council and their stand has been proved time and time again muzzle our people with moratoriums and restrictions on the mention of items the council wishes to avoid; the W-word, NASCAR, etc. – earning Yelm City Council the egregious 2006 Jefferson Muzzle Award.

You decide:
Undercutting Council?
Shining the light to educate & stimulate community discussion on major issues affecting us all and asking questions to get our people thinking?
Giving YOU a voice!

What do YOU think?

July 4, 2006


HAPPY 4th of JULY !

“In the United States, Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Congress approved the wording of the Declaration on July 4 and then sent it to the printer.

In 1776, John Adams declared, “The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore.”[3]

[3] Letter to Abigail Adams,” quoting Wikipedia.



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