July 31, 2010


Fresh Sandwiches at the Yelm Food Co-op

“The Yelm Food Co-op is happy to announce we now have fresh sandwiches in the store made for us by the Blue Bottle using our own ingredients, including local when available. That means organic where possible and no pesticides, hormones, or nitrates.” quoting the Yelm Food Co-op.

Its Time for Bulk Buying

“Dont forget our Buy Club services, order in bulk for great discounts. Order from United Natural Foods (Mountain Peoples Warehouse), Azure Standard or any other vendor we buy from. Go to www.yelmcoop.com or come to the store for forms and instructions,” quoting the Yelm Food Co-op.

Yelm Food Co-op
Located in Frontier Village adjacent Yelm City Park:
404 First St SE
Yelm WA 98597

Hours of Operation are:
Monday-Saturday 10am-7pm

Now in the 4th year of operation proudly serving Yelm!


July 30, 2010


Yelm Timberland Regional Library
Photo courtesy of Guustaaf Damave

Nisqually Valley News Editor/Publisher Keven Graves published an Op-Ed today titled “Time to focus on a new library”.

While I applaud his efforts in joining me on this call I started some five years ago (I know the lead of time required to acquire land, build a building and get moved), he incorrectly stated the following:

“As it stands, Yelm Timberland Library is refusing to cover any of the costs for leased space in Yelm, as it does at the current location at Prairie Park.
That decision by the Timberland board followed some complaints about the Yelm library being located in a privately-owned building rather than a structure owned by the city.”

This is absolutely FALSE!
The situation had NOTHING to do with any complaints to TRL’s Board.
I know this for a fact as I was Yelm Library Chair in 2007 and early 2008.

Timberland Regional Library (TRL) entered into a contractual agreement with the City of Yelm granting Yelm an exemption to operate a library in a private facility and share rent (TRL & the City of Yelm) for a ten-year period, the ONLY Library in the 19-library TRL system to operate in a non-public building, except Montesano which had their building donated to the city.
Property taxes are collected for TRL Yelm district operations from property owners inside and outside Yelm’s city limits and as public funds, must be used for a publicly operated library.
The 10-year exemption concludes on December 31, 2011, at which time Yelm was supposed to provide a public building from which to operate a library for TRL to continue as a partner. The TRL Board’s decision to not share rent in a private facility after 2011 had NOTHING to do with any complaints, except perhaps by a few other TRL libraries who did not like Yelm’s exemption. Yelm agreed contractually 9 years ago and has done little to fulfill the city’s obligation to property tax payers whose tax-monies are to go for public services, and not for paying rent in a privately-owned facility beyond 2011.

The City of Yelm has been called on this before by the state in collecting hotel taxes for a museum operating in a private facility, the same Prairie Park building as the library. The state then told the city they could only collect taxes if the funds go for a museum housed in a public building.

While Mr. Graves may find me distasteful & repugnant, these facts speak for themselves for those that have the ears & eyes to see them for what they are. No one filed any complaint with the TRL Board that affected TRL’s contract with the City of Yelm, which both signed in 2001.

Graves said in his Op-Ed:
“If the City of Yelm isnt able to get moving on a plan for whatever reason, perhaps its time for citizens to take the lead and launch a grassroots effort to find and fund a new home for the Yelm library.”

In late 2006, my wife & I met with a TRL Foundation representative and then Yelm Librarian Blalack about the potential of us providing seed money for a new library, because as strong supporters, we had donated $25,000 previously to the Yelm Library. We suggested a public-private venture to raise money with us providing an additional $25,000 initially to get others in the community to donate, even suggesting rooms could be named for donors. After our meeting, we were told the timing was not right. Then we learned the city was focused on a discounted land-purchase option provided by the Tahoma Terra developers and located in that development, which the mayor shared previously. Tahoma Terra later withdrew their offer to the city and the development has since defaulted. Since then, the city has done little to nothing. Recently, we told TRL officials that while our $25,000 offer stands, we will not make any further donations until the City of Yelm gets serious about a public library building, gets the community involved and we see some sort of public structure built.
If there is no community will for a library, then why should we commit to this kind of donation?
No future plans for the Yelm Library has been presented to us or this community.

Mayor Harding previously stated the city cannot afford to pay the library rent on their own after December 31, 2011 and will have to downsize. Harding has also publicly stated the library should be of a size to only serve City of Yelm residents, forgetting the Yelm Library is also funded by property owners’ taxes outside of Yelm’s limits.


Also, Mr. Graves opened his Op-Ed by saying:
“The issue of flush toilets for Longmire Park is entirely separate from the need for a library building in Yelm.
The grant for the Longmore toilets was designated specifically for that project. The money could not be used for anything other than the purpose designated by the grantor.”

Two things on this:
1. I have always said IF the city would have made a public library facility as much as a priority as a public park toilets (for which they have had 9 years to do so), we would be well on our way to a wonderful public Yelm Library building.

2. Second-District Rep. Jim McCune wrote in his public newsletter:
“The capital budget (mechanism for the Longmire Park restrooms’ grant) provides funding for the construction and repair of public buildings and other long-term investments, such as land acquisitions and transfers. It is separate from the operating budget.”

When the city went to our state legislators for a grant, the capital budget does not specify for what purpose the city will request & use that money at the outset. The City of Yelm makes the specified request and once the city states the money is to be used for park toilets, then Graves is correct when he says:
“The grant for the Longmore toilets was designated specifically for that project.
The money could not be used for anything other than the purpose designated by the grantor.”
ONLY after the city specifies for what project the grant will be used is the city then required to use the money specifically for the grant project.

The city could have initially requested a grant for a library building, yet instead, put their energies & priorities for a park toilets grant, full-well knowing the library lease was ending in 2011.
Yelm told our district’s state legislators, “We want money for ballpark toilets” and so that’s what locked in the purpose of the grant.

The ballpark toilets funding and the library building are totally connected, for this shows the city’s priorities when requesting state funds. The city must have felt they would get TRL’s Board to agree to continue the lease partnership beyond 2012, what with Mayor Harding requests to TRL for all sorts of extension options beyond the end of the library lease! So, the city put the library facility on the back-burner, yet TRL has been up-front with city officials for years that they must provide a public building in 2012.
THAT was a major error on the city’s part.

So now you can see that YES, the ballpark toilets funding and the lack of priority for a library building are totally connected !

July 29, 2010


The Office of Financial Management’s (OFM) April 1 population determinations were released June 30th.
“These population estimates are based on the 2000 federal census results or 2000 special censuses conducted by cities,” quoting the OFM.

CLICK HERE for The Office of Financial Management’s (OFM) Press Release.

Yelm’s official population went from 3,289 in 2000 to an estimated 5,900 in 2010, or a 79% increase.
CLICK HERE for the population chart.

July 28, 2010


Yelm Public Safety Building & City Council Chambers

The Yelm City Council held a public hearing on the adoption of the updated Water System Plan (WSP) on Tuesday, July 27, 2010, at 7:00 PM, which was posted to their website on July 15, 2010.

However, the city’s website links to the documents were corrupted and unavailable for public review, so I requested the public hearing should be postponed. Outside of the Table of Contents and the Response to Health Comments, none of the Chapters of the WSP were available online for public access until I wrote the city Monday morning, when upon receiving my letter, they rectified the website issue.

I also wrote the Mayor and City Council:
“Posting the WSP on July 15 and having a Public Hearing 12 days later does not afford citizens the opportunity to read and understand over 900 pages of documents to be able to make comments, even if the website was working.

If I (or any other citizen) would have come in to City Hall and requested 900 pages of WSP documents under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) given your website had the WSP unavailable to the public until the day prior to the Public Hearing, you would have called the Nisqually Valley News (city’s newspaper of record) to have them write a front-page story on how I took up so much valuable staff time requesting those documents. [Ed. Note: which the NVN will assuredly write later this year anyway! And since Ed Wiltsie has passed, I will be the focus of THAT story.]

So, I can only humbly ask you that while you hold contempt & disdain for me personally, that you somehow put that aside for a moment so I may appeal to something that you say you hold dear – and that is your own word.
You each took an Oath of Office to uphold the interests of the citizens and the public process.
Is allowing the public one day to review 900 pages of documents on a Water System Plan on a working website that will affect the wallets of city property owners for 6-20 years upholding the public’s interests & the public process?
[Is 11 days enough time to review 900 pages of documents?]”

Council member Mike McGowan painstakingly asked City of Yelm Project and Program Manager Stephanie Ray if the city fulfilled the requirements to notify the public. He stated copies of the WSP were located at City Hall & the Library for public review, regardless that the city’s website accessing the WSP was corrupted for the entire time until Monday, July 26, when I finally wrote them.
[Ed. Note: So two WSP copies at City Hall & one at the Library are to cover the entire area Yelm population, and only available within City Hall & Library business hours? So much for upholding the interests of the public first and foremost. HMMM!].
Mayor Harding pointed out the website was provided as a convenience only and some other cites did not have a website, implying the public should not use the city’s non-working website status to say the documents were not accessible. Ms. Ray pointed-out that the Executive Summary report highlighted all of the changes to the WSP from the Draft WSP and one could access that online to see everything, even with corrupt web links. Ray added that the 900 pages were unchanged from the Draft Water System Plan except as outlined in the Executive Summary & the public could have accessed that.

The only person to address the Council in the Public Hearing on the Final Water System Plan was Bill Hashim. He mentioned the intent of the city was really not to consider the public at all because a resolution for ordinance adoption of the WSP was scheduled to be held directly after the Public Hearing. He said this was “disingenuous” since there was no discussion time after hearing the public’s comments scheduled in a Study Session or subsequent Council meeting, allowing time to pause and consider the public point of view.
Hashim also noted the disconnect between the City Council and the public in that no one attends City Council meetings besides the media & staff. That there is such lack of participation here by citizens in their government is sad. The city does little to foster the public’s involvement in local government, & as a matter of fact, works to discourage such interest.

As per usual in Yelm’s Council, that was the case last night – slam dunk, no discussion, except for a bristling remark by Mayor Pro-tem Isom in response to Mr. Hashim! The WSP was unanimously adopted.

Look folks, let’s be real here –
The City Council & Staff KNOW that no one from the City of Yelm residing public and/or property owners come to the majority of Council meetings nor get involved to comment on important issues that will affect them in the future, except for a mild kerfuffle over the first of the water rate increases in 2009. The Mayor knows who he labels the “anti growth groups” will be the ONLY people who take interest, turn up at Council meetings & comment. Some of these people are proactive, informed and articulate.
ALL of the comments from people in these so-called “anti growth groups” will be ignored and basically negated, unless the city needs to fix their website or citizen comments go to DOH or DOE, whom the city must answer.

So, ordinance adoptions are always scheduled here to immediately follow Public Hearings, as “anti growth groups” comments in those hearings will be on the record as the minimum required by the state and then the Council will ignore them.

This is exactly the same reason there has been NO Town Hall meeting ever held by Mayor Harding since he took office 5 1/2 years ago and will not hold one as long as he is Mayor. He is too fearful of what he considers “anti-growth groups” would do in a public forum. Were it not for citizens going to county & state officials and to state agencies who enforce the public’s interest, the City of Yelm would have run roughshod over state rules designed to protect the public!

AND, the same disingenuous city removed the WSP from their website’s homepage already!
The only way to find it now is under Utilities & Streets, which many citizens would not know how to locate.
Or, the public can go to the Library to access, but only during business hours, when most have jobs.
How public friendly!

July 27, 2010


Joe Bongiorno
Photo credit: MellowSounds.com

Yelm’s Blue Bottle Espresso will again host a
Piano Concert with Joe Bongiorno.
Joining Joe will be Louis Landon –with special guest pianist-composer Amy Janelle.

When: Saturday, July 31st, 8pm – doors open at 7:30pm
Tickets: $20.00 Purchase online – (only 30 seats available)

An intimate evening of original solo piano… music to quiet your world!

July 26, 2010


Yelm Public Safety Building & City Council Chambers

“The City Council will hold a public hearing on the adoption of the updated Water System Plan on Tuesday, July 27, 2010, at 7:00 PM in the City Council Chambers at 206 McKenzie Street,” which was posted to their website on July 15, 2010.

However, the city’s website has not had the documents available for public review, so therefore this public hearing should be postponed. Outside of the Table of Contents and the Response to Health Comments, none of the Chapters of the WSP are available online for public access.

How can the Yelm City Council hold a Public Hearing on something the public has had NO opportunity to review?
This would be a sham if they do so anyway!

July 25, 2010


“With time running out for another bailout of state budgets by Congress, Gov. Chris Gregoire is preparing for more spending cuts this summer.

If the last two rounds of budgeting have required a scalpel, with lawmakers choosing programs based on their importance and political heft, Gregoire would use a set of shears to cut a little off the top.

Unlike the Legislature, Gregoire doesnt have the authority to make surgical cuts, so she would simply reduce spending items in the budget by 3 percent to 5 percent, said her budget director, Marty Brown,” quoting The Olympian’s Jordan Schrader.

Ed. Note: This writer has been saying the state’s budget deficits must be dealt with soon!

July 24, 2010


Yelm Public Safety Building & City Council Chambers

The City of Yelm posted to their website on July 15th their Final Water System Plan

“The City Council will hold a public hearing on the adoption of the updated Water System Plan on
Tuesday, July 27, 2010,
at 7:00 PM
in the City Council Chambers
at 206 McKenzie Street.”

CLICK HERE for the city’s Staff Report.

CLICK HERE to city’s links to the Final Water System Plan are still inactive, as of today.
That the public is barred from seeing the Final Water System Plan information is modus-operandi for a city known nationally for limiting the populace’s voice!

Ed. Note: Though the notice was published in the Nisqually Valley News, July 16, did you see this important story for city residents’ in the newspaper of record (Nisqually Valley News) as a front-page story this week?
Of course not!
Yet, for those people that own or rent parcels inside the city limits, THIS issue alone will come out of our wallets monthly MORE than any flushing-park-toilets funding, yet the silence from local citizens & newspaper is amazing.

The focus in the newspaper about my letter on flushing park-toilets funding diverted attention from the 32% water rate-payer increase in Yelm in the last year, courtesy of the city’s Water System Plan, the final version being released to the public last week. AND, more water rate increases to come in 2011 through 2015!

Letter writers to the NVN Cindy Teixeria & Mark Belknap reside in Pierce County, do not own property in Yelm & are unaffected by Yelm’s water rate increases, a city budget drowning in hundreds of thousands of dollars in uncollected developer taxes & fees, a City Council that seizes a citizens water rights and a Mayor & City Council that stifle constituents’ rights of redress when they disagree with them!
And this week’s NVN letter writer Wes McKean is employed by Tacoma’s (also Pierce County) Cross Engineers, who worked on the Yelm High School & McKenna Elementary School reconstruction projects.

Ed Note: Isn’t it funny that standard operating procedure in Yelm for years is to bring out those people that have had monetary interests with the City of Yelm to write against me, yet do not pay city taxes by living or owning property in town?
(Teixeira was employed by the newspaper and the city, Belknap acknowledges local contractors being hired by the city for park toilets & McKean’s company was contracted by Yelm Schools. HMMM!)

Will we be hearing from those letter writers about the city’s Water System Plan rate increases?
Of course not!

July 23, 2010


Sandra Romero

Commissioner Sandra Romero Hosts Monthly Coffees with Area Residents

Please join Thurston County Commissioner Sandra Romero, as she hosts her monthly informal coffee hours in Rainier & Yelm on Monday, July 26th.

This months coffee will focus on the Port of Olympia and its work around the county. From the commercial center at NewMarket Industrial Campus to the diversified specialty marine terminal, from the Swantown Marina & Boatworks to the strategically located Olympia Regional Airport, the Port of Olympia is committed to Thurston County. Our special guest will be Marketing and Business Development Director, Kari Qvigstad.

Commissioner Romero stated,
Many people think of the Port as only serving downtown Olympia, when really they work on projects throughout the County, even in the rural areas.
These coffees give you the opportunity to talk about issues, ask questions about the county, and share ideas.
Commissioner Romero provides to participants coffee that she pays for herself. She is the representative of District 2, which includes Yelm, Lacey, and Rainier.

What: Citizen meeting with second district County Commissioner Sandra Romero

When: Monday, July 26, 2010

– Rainier
9:30am 10:30am
Rainier City Hall 102 Rochester St. W.

– Yelm
11:00am Noon
Blue Bottle Espresso 309 East Yelm Avenue

Lisa Paribello
Commissioner Staff


July 22, 2010



JZ Knight seeks Washington Supreme Court review & reversal of Court of Appeals decision

Yelm humanitarian states Court of Appeals decision undermines water supplies for the City

Yelm, WA, July 21, 2010 JZ Knight filed a petition Monday, July 19, 2010 seeking Washington Supreme Court review of a Court of Appeals decision issued on April 13, 2010. Knight, humanitarian and founder of Ramthas School of Enlightenment (www.ramtha.com), The Original School of Consciousness and Energy, based in Yelm, Washington, has been involved for the past two years in legal challenges to the City of Yelms approval of five preliminary plats totaling 568 new residences.

CLICK HERE to see the entire Press Release.


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