This letter was sent to Mayor Harding and the Yelm City Council on September 22nd in reference to the Mayor’s Column in the Nisqually Valley News:
“Please read this letter in the next meeting, which I believe is tomorrow night [Yelm City Council meeting on Sept. 23rd]
You [Mayor Harding] are supposed to be a person who is open minded and not mired in negativity. Writing in your column that people are a “vocal minority” and “negative viewed” is extremely offensive and smacks of you drawing a division of people that are not “like minded”.
Your personal name calling and assassinations of people that may not agree with you or your decisions is pitiful.
It is not leadership at its best, its nothing but negativity. You spewed out your personal opinions & that is not what I think a person of responsibility is about. You are misusing your column and I hope not your office to negate your constituency.
Some of these people are some of the same people that helped put you in office.
I would like to know also why doesn’t anyone in that same constituency know that 2 of the people on the Yelm City Planning [Commission] had a working relationship with that developer [Tahoma Terra & Thurston Highlands] and that they were listing agents [real estate] for him. And, evidently the rest of the community was not informed.
I would like to know what is your opinion of “undue influence”?
And also conflict of interest?
I ask this question because I feel like people who rub elbows constantly with each other can’t distance themselves from decision making, altruistically.
I am very suspect of the arrangement of Yelm city planning [Commission] officials being on the commission that have had a past working relationship with this developer. Representing the developer of Tahoma Terra [and Thurston Highlands] in past times should not have been kept a secret. It should of been brought out into the open of this community so we could have discussed this issue and understood more fully “that relationship”.
People who have had longstanding relationships with the City of Yelm certainly have influence with decision making processes.
Just so you understand, your column was very offensive and short sighted. Everyone has their own belief system; you have yours, I have mine. But the bottom line is about your attitude; it’s like there are us…and then there is them…which reflects on your ability to lead this community in a non-threatening and intelligent manner.
Since I feel you have maligned the non-like-minded people that you represent in this community, it’s too bad; it just makes suspect the things that you do and represent.
I shall have people in the audience [Yelm City Council] that will let me know if you did in fact read this letter at the next city meeting. Personally, I do not feel you represent most of our interests.
This development will threaten this environment and put undue burdens on city services…..
[Ed. Note: Cindy Teixeira, Community and Government Relations Coordinator for the City of Yelm responded to Ms. Anderson saying, “I received both your emails regarding the Mayors column and will provide a copy of the letter to the City Clerk for proper disbursement to the City Council members.” Mrs. Teixeira copied the Mayor on Ms. Anderson’s email.]
This writer checked the real estate records and found Ms. Anderson’s assertions to be true:
Yelm Planning Commissioners Graver & Kaminski purchased property from Steve Chamberlain, president of SCA Consulting, co-developer of Thurston Highlands & Tahoma Terra.
Is there a conflict of interest?
Should Commissioners Graver & Kaminski have recused themselves from any discussion involving Thurston Highlands & Tahoma Terra?
WHAT DO YOU SAY?
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In response to your letter, there are 2 points:
1. to quote you, “They couldn’t have recused themselves from any discussion involving Tahoma Terra and Thurston Highlands since the Planning Commission doesn’t review development applications.”
While that is true, the Planning Commission has been working on updates to the Comprehensive Plan that involve water, traffic, groundwater recharge and a whole host of other issues that encompass the effects of Tahoma Terra & Thurston Highlands on our community.
These two largest developments have been the focus of much of their consideration in making recommendations to the City Council. I know as I have been to most of their meetings, usually the only member of the public in audience.
Further, the Planning Commission’s silence on the Thurston Highlands Draft EIS, which creates a 2nd downtown of almost 1 million square feet of commercial space in the preferred plan in total opposition to decades of planning work on the Vision Statement of the Comprehensive Plan, is tacit approval of the Highlands application in and of itself.
2. Carlos Perez attending RSE events is not a conflict of interest because RSE is NOT in the city limits of Yelm. RSE has only been connected in city matters recently with the water issues from development at Tahoma Terra brought before the City Council. If the RSE/Tahoma Terra water issue was in any discussions before the Planning Commission, then yes, he should have recused himself as well. However, such was not the case. The matter was brought before the City Council and Ms. Knight has now taken the issue to another jurisdiction, that being Thurston County Superior Court.
Dear Mr. Burkett,
I respectfully disagree,
1. Mr. Graver & Ms. Kaminski are from the same real estate agency and were involved in the land deals with Mr. Chamberlain’s firm.
Mr. Burkett, say what you will, however I was in audience at the Planning Commission meetings last year on the Yelm Comprehensive Plan Updates and I recall seeing no other non-staff person in these sessions, including yourself. The Yelm Planning Commission made recommendations to the City Council about traffic impacts of Tahoma Terra & Thurston Highlands,
both co-developed by Mr. Chamberlain. Mr. Perez even went before the Thurston County Commissioners on-record representing the Yelm Planning Commission’s view on the traffic update to the Yelm Comprehensive Plan. Graver & Kaminski should have stepped aside in discussions involving Tahoma Terra & the Thurston Highlands because of their business dealings with Mr. Chamberlain’s firm.
2. The Yelm Planning Commission has NEVER been required to have any input or comment about Ms. Knight’s property, as her property is NOT in city limits. If any issue comes before the Yelm Planning Commission regarding Ms. Knight’s property, then yes I agree, Mr. Perez should also recuse himself, as should Mr. Graver, Cunningham & Kaminski, all of whom are former RSE students.
Ms. Knight has made the point mute, as she has transferred the jurisdiction for her water concerns out of the City of Yelm and into Thurston County Superior Court, in a legal case that will now begin before a judge on Wednesday, October 1st in Olympia.
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