The Yelm Community Blog received this letter in follow-up to the story last week titled “NVN REPORT ON THURSTON HIGHLANDS EIS IS CURIOUS – IN WHAT WAS OMMITTED!”
“Yelms community oriented citizens are in a pickle.
The very tenet of the community concept requires participation.
Those who wish to participate in Yelms growth are locked out of the process.
There is much lip service from Yelms government, but actually service is achingly lacking.
For example, the City of Yelm Community Development Department requested public comment on the environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Thurston Highlands Master Planned Community. It was long, technical, and tedious to get through. Ive spent the last 30 years of my life as an environmental professional, and I had difficulty wading through it. One of the comments I had, among others, was that the community needed more than an extra 15 days to read this document. In addition, I pointed out a number of areas that needed work in order for the environmental impact be used as a decision making document. In typical fashion, comments were received by the City of Yelm, but not heard. Im not sure the city made any changes to their EIS based on public comment.
Was the EIS perfectly written?
Were there errors in both fact and substance, errors pointed out in comment?
Was there a need for additional information before the document could truly be used as a decision making document?
The City of Yelm does the absolute minimum required by law to incorporate public participation. Ive worked all over Washington State with small communities and have even worked with small international communities; the worst local government Ive ever dealt with is Yelmsmy home. That is the pickle I experience living here. I want to have a voice in the way my community grows, but at every turn it is denied or nor heard.
If the city were to truly open up themselves to public participation and to give voice to the community that calls itself Yelm, people would come out of the woodwork and participate in a way that would make Yelm a garden spot of Washington. But that wont happen until our city government gives up their pride and prejudice.”
Mr Hashim has been an environmental professional for over 30 years and currently works for Washington State’s Dept of Ecology. He has lived in Yelm for the past 14 years.