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I would like to acknowledge Cindy Teixeira of the Nisqually Valley News for her in-depth report published on January 19, 2007 in response to questions I posed to the City Council on January 9, 2007 and to the Yelm area community on this very Blog January 14, 2007. I have received no response to those questions to date from the City of Yelm and they still remain unanswered.

This was an informative piece however far from investigative journalism, as there were no questions printed as to anything Ms. Teixeira may have asked City Administrator Shelley Badger to address regarding the SW Aquifer Project, so the front-page story was just a vehicle for the City Administrators views only, without cross-examination. Additionally, there were no further comments from some county residents [critical] for the money the city is spending to conduct water studies on the site of the Thurston Highlands Master Planned Community, quoting the NVN.

The questions still remain and even more come to mind from this report:

1. Does the City of Yelm have any contract with the Thurston Highlands developers about water?
Based on comments from Ms. Badger in the NVN, obviously not, 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.

2. Does the City of Yelm have a pro-rata contract with the Thurston Highlands developers about water?
Based on comments from Ms. Badger in the NVN, obviously not, It’s after the EIS “when it will be determined how much they have to pay.”

3. Quoting the NVN, 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 [EIS] is complete later this year.
Oh really? Says who? There is no contract with the developers for such.
What if a good water source is not found there? Who pays?
What if the developers pull out? Who pays?
There is no contract with the developer for water, so who is giving permission for wells to be placed on the Thurston Highlands property? Where is the right to do that?
Is the City going to bill the interest payments to the developers for reimbursement for loaning them city money for this study?
Is the City fronting the money for a developer’s EIS to be repaid when the EIS is complete preferential treatment?
Would they do that for you or I?
The Yelm City Council has stated publicly it will not use public funds for private for-profit developments.
Why is the city using taxpayer money to fund a developer’s EIS for Thurston Highlands?

4. Quoting the 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. 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; seize the land and water rights as the City of Olympia did with the brewery last year,
as reported in the Business Examiner?

5. How is the City of Yelm going to recharge the aquifer with all of the treated water it must put back, based on what it proposes to remove? Wont that volume of treated water being placed back in the aquifer contaminate it? Dont you think that is a good question to ask?

6. How do downstream users of the aquifer like the Cities of Olympia & Lacey feel about Yelms treated water recharging the aquifer from where they derive their water?

7. Lets see, the City of Yelm is nearing a water emergency with so much development and one of the citys three wells is unusable, quoting the NVN, A third well is available for emergencies, but the water supply must be treated in a special fashion because it is “under the influence of surface water,” said Tim Peterson, Yelm Public Works director.
Dont you think a good question to ask would have been what/where were the surface conditions that caused this well to be unusable and where does that put the city with 1/3 of its wells out of service? What is the proximity of that third well’s surface conditions to Wal-Mart & its traffic? Will Wal-Mart’s daily traffic pollution from dripping oil & fuel runoff from their proposed volume of vehicles affect those surface conditions in high groundwater areas even more?

8. Quoting the NVN, The owners of the golf course, also the developers of Tahoma Terra and Thurston Highlands, offered to give the city water rights if half of the available water could be used for the Tahoma Terra development. Clearly the developers are in the need for some deal and the city needs their perceived water. Therefore, this question needs to be raised, What limits and conditions have the developers placed on the city for the SW Aquifer Project? Where is the accountablility on all of this between the Thurston Highlands developers and the City of Yelm? Wouldn’t you like to know?

Bottom line:
There continues to be sidestepping of the answers to these specific questions and others posed, indicative of community lack of interest for not demanding answers.

What WILL make this community care about this and other issues to want to get involved and demand a full accounting to these questions?

What say YOU?

Posted by Steve on January 24, 2007 at 5:18 am | Permalink

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  1. Jan. 28, 2007

    Dear Steve,

    I continue to be deeply inspired by your dedication to our community — running for Mayor, tirelessly informing us, and making sure we have the information necessary to chart a course that will make our community truly thrive and be sustainable.

    And at the same time I am disheartened at the lack of comments to your posts on many vitally important issues. Week after week I have seen many important issues and questions raised only to scroll down the page to see “comments: 0” on nearly every one of the articles posted — and not being inclined to post one myself.

    And so I ask myself why, and I am pretty sure the answer to that is the same for a lot of people and the solution probably is too.

    Is it because of the hectic construction of my life where I just don’t have enough time or energy to put my mind to writing something good, much less really do what needs to be done to help remedy the problem?

    Answer: Yes, I have constructed my life around filling immediate personal needs in the short term to the detriment of many long term necessitites, with one of the first to go being participation in community.

    Do I feel that since no one else is saying anything, why should I?

    Answer: Yes, it is the second best excuse of all, next to having a hectic, busy life of paying bills. It also brings the great joy of having an opinion and never doing anything about it.

    Is it that I just dont care?

    Answer: Yes, sometimes the problems appear too big for “little ol me” to do anything about and a sense of defeat and fatigue creeps in. And then for some reason warm flannel sheets and down comforters seem like a workable solution.

    Do I consider myself a private person, not really suited to social affairs?

    Answer: Yes. I am very private and am uncomfortable in social situations, I am also deathly fearful about speaking in public — so therefore I vigorously avoid putting myself in those positions.

    So what is the solution?

    Isnt it simply to just “get over it?”

    Is there really anything further that needs to be said for me to do that?


    From now on I am going to make comments however small on all the articles in your post that I have thoughts about. Then, I am going to actually take some kind of further action on at least one issue that I feel especially concerned about — whether it be attend a meeting or write a letter.

    And I think that will be a good start for now.

    Thanks for the inspiration Steve!

    Shelley Lucus

    Comment by Shelley Lucus on January 28, 2007 at 5:12 pm

  2. Wow, Shelley Lucus this is so beautiful to read what you have to say about yourself!!! You know, most people really feel the way you do, but they stop right at the point of doing something about that well, you just did better then that lets hope it will give others an inspirational point to contemplate and maybe do something about it!!! Thank you for speaking your thoughts out loud

    Comment by Yael Klein on January 28, 2007 at 5:30 pm

  3. Thanks, Shelley for taking the time to write such a thoughtful comment.

    I am looking at ideas to get this to be a truly interactive resource for our community.

    Many people, both from long-established Yelm families and a host of others have told me verbally they love what I am doing, yet do not want to publicly “rock the boat” on the record. However, how do they expect things to change if they remain silent?

    Something is happening though, because of the hundreds of unique email addresses (visitors) that access the blog daily and from the local newspaper publisher continuing his innuendos about the blog
    in his editorials and leaving my name out of stories in his paper that originated from blog entries. And then there was the City Council member with his front page NVN rant about my blog last summer.
    The blog is read and making people think, exactly the intent.
    THAT speaks volumes!

    Again, many thanks.

    Comment by Steve Klein on January 28, 2007 at 5:31 pm

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