August 22, 2007


Logo from Citizens for Fire Protection website

The message got through to the voters.

Yelm Fire District Levy Lid Lift
Approved 874 61%
Rejected 556 39%

Rainier Fire District Levy Lid Lift
Approved 467 63%
Rejected 275 37%

as reported in today’s edition of The Olympian.


Thanks to all who voted….

August 21, 2007


The following is the Press Release from Livable Thurston.

For Immediate Release For More Information, Contact:
Gayle Broadbent, 866-8246
Sandra Romero, 357-8131

Community leaders to explore global warming/land-use connection at Aug. 22 Forum

The public is cordially invited to a community forum, “Global Warming and Land Use” on Wednesday, August 22, 5:30 – 7:30 pm, at the Lincoln School, 213 21st Ave SE in Olympia.
Co-sponsors include Earth Ministry, Livable Thurston, League of Women Voters of Thurston County, Thurston Conservation Voters, Futurewise, The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, and Climate Solutions.

Speakers representing a diverse range of interests will address the interrelationship of climate change and land use. The panel includes Paula Swedeen from Earth Economy; Sister Mimi Maloney of the Interfaith Works Earth Stewardship Committee; shellfish farmer Charlie Stephens from Kamilche Sea Farms; Sam Garst, owner of the first five-star Built Green house in Thurston County; and Allyson Brooks, PhD Director, Washington State Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation.

Sprawling and ill-planned development creates neighborhoods further away from jobs, schools, churches, and everything else we want to reach. I just sat for 20 minutes in a long line of cars trying to get off Mud Bay road over on the Westside, all those cars sitting there and idling, just so I could buy some milk and a box of grapes. Some studies say that traffic is the biggest source of carbon emissions within Washingto n state, and traffic is certainly a growing problem within Thurston County. explained Livable Thurston member Gayle Broadbent.

Global warming is not only an environmental problem, said Sister Mimi. At its core, it is a moral and ethical issue, and the responsibility of everyone.

Global warming is the challenge of our generation, said Donna Ewing, global warming activist with the League of Women Voters of Thurston County. How we address this challenge will determine the health of our states environment, the strength of our economy, and the future we will give to our kids.

Public participation is invited and encouraged.

August 20, 2007


Dear Yelm Community Blog Readers;

I have attended most Yelm Planning Commission & City Council meetings for the last three years, as any of the members of those sessions can attest. I have found some of the language, timing & logic of many of the things discussed under the auspices for the public good to be intimidating, at best.
I came from an eastern banking family and worked my way up in the management of a Fortune Top 50 company by the time I was 30. I received an undergraduate and graduate degree in business management, so I do have some education and experience.
I can see why the public does not attend many of the city’s sessions;
A. they think their voice will not be heard or their situation understood unless they are a developer waving $$$ – why bother.
B. The lingo is just too daunting to learn to understand to get across to officials.

I can assure you such was the case for me, a somewhat educated man.
For the last three years, I have attended, listened, commented, & learned all I could about this city’s policy at meetings. While my timing has sometimes been off and I am labeled a nuisance, bothersome, a pain and complainer by some amongst city officials, I can assure you that learning all I can to benefit the public has been my main goal.

The city’s Transportation Plan dictates policy for our roads and one of the policies is that the city accepts the failure of our main roads to handle the traffic. All of the community finds the traffic here and those city policies about our roads to be an abomination, however only Professional Engineer Ed Wiltsie and myself gave official testimony about the Yelm Comprehensive Plan Updates to the Planning Commission tonight.

This Plan states that levels of service for Yelm’s roads and facilities and services reflect the preference of the community. However, if the community does not speak up to the very people elected to create the policy as to what they want, then the community deserves gridlock.

How do you feel that the city accepts failed roads as official city policy?

You have until September 4th to get written documents to City Hall on this subject.

While some of this may be difficult to understand, I list my public comments in the open here for all to review:

Testimony to Yelm Planning Commission on the Comprehensive Plan Update
Monday, August 20, 2007.

My name is Steve Klein,
I reside at … outside of Yelm City Limits & I am a taxpayer inside city limits as a property owner ….

According to the opening of the Comprehensive Plan Chapter on
A. Objective of Transportation Planning
The objective of Transportation Planning is to provide a cost-effective network to
accommodate all modes of travel in and around the core area. To accomplish this
objective, Yelm will actively pursue:
1. A connected-streets policy to promote the efficient flow of traffic, and travel by all
modes within the community.
2. A series of connected arterials which will permit traffic to bypass the urban core if
it is merely passing through, to reduce congestion in the central core.

Do we have a cost-effective network now?
Hardly, as the city is in gridlock most afternoons and weekends, pollution spewing forth as vehicles idle for a mile or more and public safety compromised daily. And, unsafe conditions have developed on numerous side streets as vehicles attempt alternate movement around congestion, streets ill-equipped to handle the load and streets where our citys children play.

How is the objective of transportation planning a cost effective network?

Continuing: The analysis of any given proposal should consider all modes of transportation and all methods of efficiently managing the transportation system. The decision-making process should include the public and all affected units of government.

Has that been done? I have seen no meeting that included the public and all affected units of government together. Rep. Tom Campbell said in his last Town Hall meeting in Yelm he would work to get just such a meeting here this Fall. That is the first from any official!

Policy 1.3. Regional Transportation Policy:
The City will coordinate with other jurisdictions improving regional connections to Yelm prior to permitting future development. These methods may include identifying any physical, Transportation System Management (TSM), or Transportation Demand Management (TDM) improvements to mitigate potential deficiencies, and financial responsibilities for implementation.

Isn’t LOS (Level of Service) F a deficiency?
For almost 3 years, I have called for coordination between the State, County, City & public for all of the jurisdictions to come together to mitigate potential deficiencies, and financial responsibilities for implementation of improvements to the Yelm Ave. corridor conditions, and that includes coordination PRIOR to permitting any more development here. The Mayor said at the July 24th STIP Hearing 67% of Yelm traffic originates outside of the city and cast it away to the County, while Council member Don Miller stated Yelm Ave. is comprised of 2 State highways and the city must surrender to the WSDOT, while the bypass is always pointed to as THE answer. Enough of such folly!
[The Mayor suggested the public contact our State Reps. about Yelm’s traffic. I did!
Wal-Mart is on a state highway and the city approved that with no problem.]

Policy 2.1. Road Adequacy Policy (Level of Service Standard) states
To adopt levels of service for roads and facilities and services that reflects the preference of the community.

Has that truly been done? Time and time again, Ed Wiltsie, Bill Hashim, myself and a whole host of others have stood before this Commission, City Council and Mayor stating that the Transportation Chapter is woefully inadequate. Every time the community is polled on the #1 issue here, traffic is always at the top and all of you know that. When IS the preference of the community going to be followed by the Planning Commission?

Continuing Policy 2.1. Road Adequacy Policy (Level of Service Standard)
For concurrency purposes, the following standards shall apply in the Urban Growth Area:
3. In the urban core LOS F is recognized as an acceptable level of service where mitigation to create traffic diversions, bypasses, and alternate routes and modes of transportation are authorized and being planned, funded, and implemented, and can result in improved LOS.

This is so nebulous, very inconclusive and lacks definitive, measurable commitment to action. This needs to be rewritten to something like this:
In the urban core, LOS D is recognized as an acceptable level of service where mitigation to create traffic diversions, bypasses, and alternate routes and modes of transportation are authorized, have been planned, 100% funded & known to be able to complete the implementation of that road, and can result in improved LOS.

The statement the way you have written means you are working on it – however you have been working on it since 1992, while allowing multi-thousand vehicle trips per day to be added from approved developments, plus all of the vehicular traffic at Wal-Mart.

The public testimony of Professional Engineer Ed Wiltsie to the City Council on Oct. 24, 2006 stated that since 1992, major intersections of Yelm Ave. have been graded LOS F, the lowest grade possible. There is no lower threshold and no method for measuring or establishing how far below LOS F the system can go. Considering the full scenario in Yelm, LOS F means the road conditions need to be immediately improved because of safety issues. Development adding to an LOS F road needs to be kept to a minimum until the road is improved to a higher threshold.

Mr. Wiltsie added that a city can temporarily approve development with a major road graded LOS F as long as there is some remediation to improve that LOS F roadway, such as a bypass. He said that when and if the bypass is open in approximately 2015, almost 25 years will have passed with Yelm Ave. intersections graded LOS F (1992-2015). Therefore, this is not a temporary condition, since this road has had grades of LOS F since 1992. Why is such a condition been deemed acceptable by you & this Plan?

The Mayor said he would not listen to LOS during the STIP Hearing on July 24, 2007.
City Development Director Grant Beck said at that meeting that public safety has nothing to do with LOS. I differ with him and say public safety IS a part of the citys responsibility in accepting LOS F as official policy.

At the opening of the Staff Report July 24th City Council meeting, Mr. Beck told the Council that the Hearing Examiner of July 23rd commenting on Tahoma Terra, instructed him that the citys method of separating the phases of Tahoma Terra when determining LOS on Longmire St. was improper. When the phases were thus added together as required, Longmire was now an LOS F road, Mr. Beck said. So now, newly expanded Longmire is already an LOS F road that feeds onto LOS F Yelm Ave. W. Interesting, there was not one question or comment from the Council about that subject. What other roads is such the case and no one knows, except perhaps Mr. Beck.

An LOS F does not even meet the objective of Transportation Planning!
Therefore, I do not accept LOS F in the urban core as an acceptable level and as policy.

Policy 2.6. Transportation System Management (TSM) Policy
To efficiently operate the transportation system through TSM strategies
Using signal coordination, turn lanes & access control for arterials…”
Why is there no mention of traffic circles?
Why can Olympia & Lacey effectively use those to keep traffic moving and they are not even on Yelms radar screen.
There are too many ways to remediate an LOS F condition such as with traffic circles, to making Washington St a through one-way eastbound street from Longmire through the Yelm-Tenino Trail to Third street, and biting the bullet to eliminate parking on the street between 1st & 3rd, where those affected businesses would use their rear parking for access, make three lanes in each direction to improve flow at the light [507/510], just to name a few.

Policy 3.1. Environmental Protection and Conservation Policy, 3.1 Goal states:
A transportation system with minimal environmental impact and energy consumption that provides for a high quality of life to be enjoyed by the citizens.

How is burning fuel in gridlock consistent with this policy?
Our transportation system providing a high quality of life to be enjoyed by our citizens?
You must be kidding?! Our citizens and those surrounding Yelm think of ways to avoid Yelm in peak hours and weekends, which ends up hurting our local merchants’ bottom line.

Policy 3.1. Environmental Protection and Conservation Policy
The City of Yelm will fulfill this need by:
To design transportation facilities within Yelm and the Yelm Urban Growth Area
that minimize adverse environmental impacts resulting from both their
construction and operation. The City of Yelm will fulfill this need by:
Soliciting and incorporating the concerns and comments of interested parties.

Since when has anything done on our major corridors minimized adverse environmental impacts except planting a few trees and adding curbs and sidewalks? And when has soliciting and incorporating the concerns and comments of interested parties been a priority? That has mostly been given lip service. Adding more developments to an already choked corridor has not been of benefit. What is the framework for the city committing to this? Accepting a policy of LOS F with pollution from gridlock is anathema to this Environmental Protection and Conservation Policy.

Policy 3.2. Compatibility with Adjacent Land Use Policy
To ensure that transportation system improvements are compatible with adjacent
land uses and to minimize potential conflicts.

Land use issues here drive transportation rather than the other way around. Change that.

Policy 3.3. Economic and Development Policy
To develop a transportation system that is compatible with the economic and
development goals of the City of Yelm.
The transportation system will allow for and promote the ongoing economic development and current land use goal of the Yelm Urban Growth Area. The system will be designed to provide ready access to all industrial and commercial areas of the City.

Development is driving transportation here. This needs to be tightened up in this Plan.
The potential for economic development here is severely impacted with the citys main arteries in gridlock with little movement at times. Who wants to locate an industrial site here when entrance/egress to town is so negatively affected on our main arteries?

And, the traffic mentioned in the STIP should not outgrow the STIP.
Development should therefore cease.
I call for a new standard for all new development.

To address Mr. Perezs comment recently, What do we do, stop all growth?
Well, Mr. Perez, frankly YES; to stop any more developmental approval until the traffic infrastructure here is brought into balance with already approved developments.

This is the time and place to determine city policy and we, the citizens of this community want to change the policy as we no longer accept the LOS F as acceptable in the urban core. Why is the city choosing to be different than what the community wants?
If you can’t address these points, I suggest this be tabled until these can be addressed.

While these are but a few of the issues I saw in this document, I demand the Yelm Planning Commission keep this open for more input and beyond the September 4, 2007 deadline for written comments. The City of Yelm is in a transportation crisis. This is a plea for different thinking.

August 20, 2007


Road signs at Yelm intersection of SR 507 & 510
Photo courtesy of Yelm-based photographer Guustaaf Damave

This Planning Commission Public Hearing on revisions to the Comprehensive Plan is tonight.


The Comprehensive Plan specifically states as its mission:
“To adopt levels of service for roads and facilities and services that reflect the preference of the community”
under Policy 2.1.


The City of Yelm’s Planning Commission is holding a Public Hearing on Monday, August 20th at 6 p.m.

The Yelm Planning Commission, with the assistance of the Thurston Regional Planning Council, is proposing editorial changes to the transportation, capital facilities plan, and other zoning related changes to ensure the Comprehensive Plan is consistent with the Washington State Growth Management Act.

The Public Hearing is scheduled for Monday, August 20, 2007, at 6:00 PM in the City Council Chambers at City Hall located at 105 Yelm Avenue West. Written comments will be received up until 5:00 PM, September 4, 2007.

Written comments will be received up until 5:00 PM, September 4, 2007.


August 19, 2007


The Cell Tower Resolution by the Clearwood Assn. members passed with 219 votes against & 319 votes in favor of a feasibility study.

Further, the $100 per year budget increase failed to pass with similar numbers as the cell tower resolution: 219 in favor and 316 against.

One thing these issues brought out is whether the Clearwood Assn. Board carried out their fiduciary responsibility to all members in an ecumenical way. With a budget that clearly needs a second opinion and mounting deficits, that was clearly called into question…

What is next is yet to be seen. Stay tuned!

August 19, 2007


Washington State University is offering classes through their Thurston County Extension:

During the year there are many opportunities to get involved with the Master Gardener or Master Composter programs, here are just some of the opportunities: [For Fall]

September 2007

Build a Rain Garden – Sept 8
By Bob Findlay & Paula Nelson
DirtWorks 10:00 – 12:00

Growing Grapes – Sept 15
By Jim Wilson
DirtWorks 10:00 – 12:00

Compost Workshops
September 22 – Farmers Market
Green Cone 10:30am – 10:50am
Yard Waste 11:00 am – 11:45 am
Worm Bins 12:00pm – 12:45 pm

October 2007

Leaf Composting – October 20
By Master Composters
DirtWorks 10:00 – 11:30

August 18, 2007


Photo taken by Karsten Drre on Wikimedia


Beekeeping: What does it take and how to get started

Tuesday, 28. August 2007, 7.00 pm

in the Rose Room of Arnolds Country Inn (717 Yelm Ave E, Yelm)

(Cost: $10)

Sign up for the class by calling Thomas Mani at (360) 894-6038

August 17, 2007


Logo courtesy of Survival Center website

“Tune into ETTARO LIVE with Samuel Ettaro on August 17th from 8pm to 10 pm EDT [5pm to 7pm PDT] on We The People Radio Network on this crucial show with special guest Richard Mankamyer Author, Preparedness Trainer, Consultant and General Manager of The Survival Center located in McKenna, Washington.

Richard will be sharing his expertise of 33 + years on all levels of preparedness including long term food storage that is our greatest insurance for our families and our main weapon against the plans of the New World Order and the growing threat of martial law being declared.

The Survival Center carries a full line of Grains, Beans, Seeds, and Legumes Packed for Long Term Storage, in Poly Buckets –Plus Air Dried Foods in #10 and #2.5 cans, Freeze Dried Foods.

The show will be 2 full hours on the various foods that can be stored for an extended period of time, including foods that do not have to be cooked. Richard is an expert on seeds that are NOT genetically modified, water filters, solar power, underground shelters, emergency medical supplies, nutritional supplements needed to boost the immune system and is currently offering classes on all facets for being prepared for short and long periods of time. There will be a time allowed for callers to ask Richard questions.

Join us for this enlightening show to begin your food storage right away. Do not be caught unprepared, we are living in perilous times with the Bush regime preparing his path to be a dictator and stripping away our rights and freedom, with new executive orders that give him the ultimate power to enslave us his crucial show with special guest Richard Mankamyer Author, Preparedness Trainer, Consultant and General Manager of The Survival Center located in McKenna, Washington.”

This is Samuel Anthony Ettaro, National Media Director of Aaron Russo’s organizations, and Samuel is the host of two talk shows,”The Citizens Advocate” broadcast Thursday nights primetime on Revere Radio Network and EttaroLIVE! broadcast on satellite and the web every Friday night primetime on …,” quoting their Press Release.

Please check out our website and learn about the Samuel Ettaro or you can view his homesite.

Listen live 8pm EDT (5PM PDT) August 17th, 2007

Click on listen live at the top of the left menu,

Scroll down to your player or download your player.

August 16, 2007


Joe Bongiorno
Photo credit:

Joe Bongiorno has just released his third album
“Somewhere Within.
This writer has known Joe and his family for 21 years and has seen Joe evolve into an accomplished pianist, composer, and audio engineer. Joe’s piano music is entirely original. All tracks were composed, recorded and mastered by Joe at his private Mellow Sounds studio in suburban Seattle.
You can listen here to samples of Joe’s music.
Joe’s story
tells how he has developed his unique talents.
Joe’s mother Madeleine and sister Maddy live here in the Yelm area.

Further, Joe is General Manager of Piatti Italian Restaurant in Seattle’s U-district. Stop in and tell Joe you read about him in Yelm’s Community Blog!

August 15, 2007



Chuck Marchand stated in his Letter to the Editor of the Nisqually Valley News last week,
“Every week, we have in the “letters to the editor” – people criticizing each other over towers, Wal-Mart, police, the mayor and NASCAR.

It’s great to have the privilege to debate such things….

Do you want to really have the “American Spirit?” Then spend less time vilifying your brother and sister, and more time serving them…”

While Mr. Marchand makes a point, he overlooks that this is a Constitutional Republic where government is of the people, by the people and for the people. That requires participation by the people to tell the government their desires, not the other way around. Our elected officials took an oath to support the Constitution, which is to serve everyone.

I believe standing up and questioning our government, including local officials, is mandated by us, the people, for this Constitutional Republic to continue.

With that as prologue:
I have heard the council say on several occasions that the developmental approvals are necessary for growth to
obtain property tax revenue to fund city projects and that since residential tax rates are so much lower then industrial/commercial property tax rates, the city needs alot of homes. I have always thought of that as the basis for approving such tremendous growth as showing a lack of knowledge about the economics of procuring revenue for a municipality, bringing with that kind of thinking for fellow citizens ensuing traffic, water, sewage and environmental issues. Unbridled growth to raise tax money to provide services? Where does growth end, when all of the city’s land is developed? There are other ways.

Now, the unwise decisions approving so many homes & developments here is on the precipice of coming home to roost.

This is very easy to understand as explained in the New York Times August 10:

“What’s been happening in financial markets over the past few days is something that truly scares monetary economists: liquidity has dried up. That is, markets in stuff that is normally traded all the time – in particular, financial instruments backed by home mortgages – have shut down because there are no buyers…

The origins of the current crunch lie in the financial follies of the last few years, which in retrospect were as irrational as the dot-com mania. The housing bubble was only part of it; across the board, people began acting as if risk had disappeared.

Everyone knows now about the explosion in subprime loans, which allowed people without the usual financial qualifications to buy houses, and the eagerness with which investors bought securities backed by these loans. But investors also snapped up high-yield corporate debt, a k a junk bonds, driving the spread between junk bond yields and U.S. Treasuries down to record lows.

Then reality hit – not all at once, but in a series of blows. First, the housing bubble popped. Then subprime melted down. Then there was a surge in investor nervousness about junk bonds: two months ago the yield on corporate bonds rated B was only 2.45 percent higher than that on government bonds; now the spread is well over 4 percent…

When liquidity dries up, as I said, it can produce a chain reaction of defaults. Financial institution A can’t sell its mortgage-backed securities, so it can’t raise enough cash to make the payment it owes to institution B, which then doesn’t have the cash to pay institution C – and those who do have cash sit on it, because they don’t trust anyone else to repay a loan, which makes things even worse.

And here’s the truly scary thing about liquidity crises: it’s very hard for policy makers [meaning the President, Congress, Governor, Mayor or City Council] to do anything about them.

But when liquidity dries up, the normal tools of policy lose much of their effectiveness. Reducing the cost of money doesn’t do much for borrowers if nobody is willing to make loans. Ensuring that banks have plenty of cash doesn’t do much if the cash stays in the banks’ vaults.”

Now, let’s do an assessment for Yelm:
1. “Consumer spending growth slumped in June, while the construction sector was pulled down by the dreary housing market,” according to the Commerce Dept. last month.
You can figure the consumer has clamped their pocket book further for July & August. Even Wal-Mart waved the red flag this week cutting its outlook.

2. Business Week says builders helped fuel the housing crisis by rushing into lending they knew nothing about.
“Traditional mortgage companies and banks unleashed a barrage of loans, many to borrowers with iffy credit histories who didn’t bother to read the fine print about upwardly mobile interest rates. Wall Street egged on the often-reckless underwriting by buying vast quantities of home loans for repackaging as securities. Now that the boom has fizzled and foreclosure rates are rising, the important role of large homebuilders as lenders is also coming into sharper focus.”
HMMM! Let’s see if Tahoma Terra & Thurston Highlands or Quadrant want to be in the lending game now.”

3. What has sold these homes in Yelm is “zero down” and “adjustable rate mortgages.”
Zero down is over–no lender will go for that now, says the Washington Post. A buyer has to “show the money” to get to be a mortgage holder.
Adjustable rate mortgages are wiping out the uninformed home buyer as the rates skyrocket.
“1.7 million people who will lose their homes to foreclosure this year and next,” says the New York Times.
Today’s Olympian says, “More than 50% of banks tighten lending rules.”

4. This city council agreed to fund a water study for a private developer to the tune of 2/3 of a million dollars without a written agreement or contract with that developer for repayment of their part of the study. With things the way they are, what assurances do the city taxpayers have that the city will be repaid if that developer pulls out?

5. Were I developers invested in the next phase of Tahoma Terra, Thurston Highlands & the City of Yelm with the 2008 budget session just weeks away, a 2007 budget the largest in city history, and the city’s ability to provide water in question, I would be shaking in my boots.

I can only say to the city that it’s time for Yelm to pull in the belt and prepare for a potentially rocky road in the coming months ahead, for certainly this will trickle down as funding expected from state and other sources, like for a bypass, may soon be in jeopardy.

On July 31, 2005, then Mayor Pro-Tem Ron Harding was quoted in the Tacoma News Tribune saying Anyone in elected office really has to serve the best interest of the entire city.

I ask you, has the best interest of the entire city and greater community been served by our elected officials?


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