July 21, 2010

JZ KNIGHT FILES PETITION FOR REVIEW TO WA. STATE’S SUPREME COURT


JZ Knight
Photo Copyright 2009 JZ Knight.
Used with permission

From JZ Knight’s website:
“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 filed a land use appeal in Thurston County Superior Court in March of 2008, challenging the City of Yelms approval of five preliminary plats totaling 568 new residences.”

CLICK HERE for Knight’s full statement.


July 20, 2010

MAYOR’S COLUMN “OFF THE MARK”


Mayor Ron Harding

Mayor Harding’s City Talk column this week in the Nisqually Valley News titled
“Anti-growth groups create hurdles to upping water use”
is off the mark!

Mayor Harding states:
“As I have said before, the city in planning ahead requested permission more than 16 years ago for the right to pump more water. We have been working, and continue to work, through the red tape and complexity of the various interpretations of state water law to be granted that permission.

This work was further complicated by anti-growth groups in disregarding the toll their disruption takes on the citizens of Yelm.

As I recognize the resulting financial and personal cost to our community, I feel discouraged that our system of government enables many special interest groups to be benefited even at the unjust expense of our residents.”

Mayor Harding was very crafty to blame city problems on who he labels the “anti-growth groups”.
Who are these anti-growth groups?
The Mayor never identifies them, plural.
Anyone who asked Yelm to follow the city’s, county’s & state’s regulations?
Did Mayor Harding think he could skirt all three to move forward on his own plans?

Hundreds of people from all walks of life are on the public record making comments to Mayor Harding, the Yelm City Council, Public Hearings with Yelm’s & Thurston County’s Planning Commission, Thurston County Commissioners, DOE & DOH to name a few for city officials to recognize city, county and state regulations to protect & preserve our environment and resources for future generations.

Harding continues saying,
“I feel discouraged that our system of government enables many special interest groups to be benefited even at the unjust expense of our residents.”

Obviously, Mayor Harding does not trust those regulators in charge of DOH & DOE to have discernement and fully execute their regulatory responsibilities.

Former Nisqually Valley News reporter & former City of Yelm Community and Government Relations Coordinator Cindy Teixeira wrote a Letter to the Editor of the same newspaper saying,
“And, remember, just because you read it on a blog or on the Internet, doesnt mean it is true.”

That is also a good excuse to shove the facts under the carpet.
This Blog has ALWAYS given you, the reader, access to the public documents for you to discern with your own mind the truth.
Let’s examine some of them, repeated here now:

As covered here previously,
1. On April 26, 2010, Yelm Community Blog readers could see for themselves
“YELM’S WATER WOES SELF-CREATED, YET PUBLICLY UNACKNOWLEDGED”
Click Here to access all of the public documents.

2. The City of Yelm over-pumped their Ecology allocated water rights in 2009 (796.66 vs. 810.42 afy = 13.76 acy over).
ANTI-GROWTH GROUPS DID NOT OVER-PUMP THE CITY’S WATER ALLOCATION!

3. The City of Yelm has failed to obtain a draft Water System Plan (WSP) approval from DOH & DOE they have presented to the public. That update was due due in September, 2008,
ANTI-GROWTH GROUPS WERE NOT THE ONES WHO DID NOT APPROVE YELM’S DRAFT WATER SYSTEM PLAN!

4. The restriction on Yelm’s water connections comes from DOH.
Click here for that letter to Yelm’s City Administrator. DOH limited any additional water connections at 47.
ANTI-GROWTH GROUPS WERE NOT THE ONES WHO LIMITED YELM’S WATER CONNECTIONS.

5. The City of Yelm’s “1995 Yelm Vision Plan” laid out how this town was to be developed with input from such locally notable people as Glen Cunningham and others. That has been totally usurped and overlooked in the planning process here in recent years, so much so, the city has now removed the link from their website.
Click here for the formerly active link.
ANTI-GROWTH GROUPS WERE NOT THE ONES WHO CREATED THE 1995 YELM VISION PLAN, NOR REMOVED THAT PLAN FROM PUBLIC VIEW!

BLAMING THE CITY’S WOES ON UNIDENTIFIED OTHERS DOES NOT GET TO THE ROOT CAUSE OF THE PROBLEM –
CITY OFFICIALS THOUGHT NO ONE WOULD NOTICE THEY WERE NOT FOLLOWING REGULATIONS TO PROTECT THE PUBLIC’S WELFARE.
WHEN PEOPLE BALKED, THE MAYOR CALLED THEM ‘ANTI-GROWTH’.
LET THE AFOREMENTIONED PUBLIC DOCUMENTS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES…

The Mayor’s ‘Anti-growth Groups’ just asked city, county & state regulators to enforce the rules.

PASSING THE BUCK IN THE BLAME GAME FOR THE CITY’S OWN SELF-CREATED PROBLEMS IS NOT IN THE PUBLIC’S BEST INTERESTS!


July 19, 2010

WILL LIBRARY’S FUTURE BECOME A PRIORITY?

With all of the fervor over comments from the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on Longmire Park’s flushing toilets, will the city’s (and community’s) priority now turn to funding a public library building?

Former Nisqually Valley News reporter & former City of Yelm Community and Government Relations Coordinator Cindy Teixeira wrote a Letter to the Editor of the same newspaper published last Friday saying,
“In my next letter to the NVN I will address the needs of the Yelm library and the role of the Friends of the Yelm Library.”

Finally, an additional person in the community is stepping up to the plate to comment on this vital issue.
As I have reported here many times, the city’s agreement with Timberland Regional Library (TRL) to split the cost of rent in a private facility ends December 31, 2011, just over a year and a quarter.
At that time, the TRL Board of Directors has stated their contribution to Yelm’s rent will cease. Yelm will be on their own to pay the rent, for which Mayor Harding has stated the city cannot afford. He has previously told the Chamber of Commerce and the newspaper to expect a much smaller library here with reduced services after 2011.

Since property taxpayers in the Yelm library district both inside the city and in the surrounding county area pay taxes to support the Yelm Library, I have been surprised there has been little to no comment from the public on this. I, for one, am glad Mrs. Teixeria is going to add her voice to this looming situation for our community.

Afterall, if there has been such an outcry to support our children to have park sinks & flush-toikets, shouldn’t they have a quality public library building, too?
According to TRL, Yelm’s Library is the 2nd most patronized in the entire19-Library TRL system for children and youth. To have the severe cutback in library size, staffing & servives beginning January 1, 2011 would be a huge blow to this area of the Nisqually Valley…

What do you say?


July 16, 2010

CLEARLY, A CHORD HAS BEEN STRUCK HERE!

With the recent full-court-press by the town’s “big-guns” against my comments or anyone else putting the Longmire Park toilets funding priority in perspective, a chord has been struck here.
To wit:
A citizen speaks to the City Council about priorities related to the park toilets and gets criticized from Council member McGowan, who later apologized.
– Yelm Chamber of Commerce President Glen Cunningham makes a personal slur about me at the Yelm City Council meeting Tuesday, July 13.
– W. McKean wrote a response to my Letter to the Editor in the Nisqually Valley News (NVN) about the park toilets.
Ed. Note: There are spring-activated faucets that do not require any electricity, Mr. McKean, that have been used successfully for decades. By the way, the grant was not free money, rather the toilets grant came from the state, via taxpayers.
– Former NVN reporter & City of Yelm Community and Government Relations Coordinator Cindy Teixeira wrote a letter to the editor of the NVN the newspaper titled “Rhetoric over park toilets is off the mark.”
Ed. Note: Mrs. Teixeira, you were employed by the newspaper and wrote on the Park and then by the city when they asked for the toilets grant.
You say NIMBY & where is the criticism of state legislators?
I say to all government incumbents & candidates alike:
“‘Bringing home the bacon’ in these times means ensuing taxes to pay for the pork in an economy that continues to tank,” quoting one commenter on this Blog.

I spoke here of the $8.7 billion deficit beginning in fiscal year 2013 Washington will face. This fact is not from a blog, rather, the state’s Office of Financial Management.
There are going to be some painful decisions that will be made in our State House that will come home to roost for all Washingtonians. When your taxes go up, each of us will have paid for these toilets & Eatonville’s.
And Mrs. Teixeira, you can’t mix apples and oranges comparing the Rainier Historical Society Building’s funding with park toilets. They got a library kiosk and restored a historically significant structure to community use.
Mark Belknap, Teixeria’s Roy neighbor’s Letter to the Editor of the newspaper.
– Nisqually Valley News Publisher/Editor Graves Op-Ed last week.

Interesting that Dori Monson on Seattle’s KIRO 97.3 FM radio had an hour program devoted to ridulous spending priorities in King County yesterday, along with KING-5 TV’s Chris Ingalls.
“KING 5’s Chris Ingalls talks LIVE about METRO wasting taxpayer money from sales tax increases passed by voters in 2001 and 2006.”
Monson has also been a vocal critic of Sound Transit spending & has not backed down.
He has also been critical of the spending policies of Gov. Gregoire that has led to this state’s massive deficits. This state’s spending is on a path not too dissimilar to California’s, which is in crisis!
Bottom line: It’s about reigning in wasteful policies amongst all areas of government, as Monson stated yesterday on his show.
The populace doesn’t like it when their piece of their pie is threatened or the lights are cast on the true costs to taxpayers.

To all of you, YES the bathrooms are nice.
We all paid “big-time” in the end!

That this issue has drawn so many personal rebukes about me indicates a chord has been struck.
I love it!
That there is discourse on this is wonderful, for we have never had a Town Hall Forum to have a public discussion on any topic during Mayor Harding’s 2 administrations.
Mrs. Teixeira states in her letter,
“In my next letter to the NVN I will address the needs of the Yelm library and the role of the Friends of the Yelm Library.”

Great!
If Yelm’s Longmire Park toilets letters finally get a conversation going on the future of a Yelm Library Building, then I consider all of the letters aimed at me well-worth-it, for there has been little shown by the city in the 9 years since this issue was penned by city agreement with TRL for Yelm to provide a public facility!


July 15, 2010

THURSTON COUNTY LEADS STATE IN PROPERTY TAX APPEALS – YIKES!

The Olympian reports:

“Thurston County owns a dubious distinction. The backlog of property tax appeals is greater in Thurston County than any other county in the state.

While setting the 2011 budget, county commissioners must remember that justice delayed is justice denied. And property tax payers who are waiting a year or two have their appeals heard are being denied justice.

And the statistics show taxpayers have good reason to be upset. In almost half the cases from 2007, taxpayers proved their case for lower property valuations. Thats a significant error rate on the countys part…

Its clear that todays system is broken.

Anytime you have hundreds of taxpayers waiting 16 months or longer to have their cases heard, the system is broken.

Anytime Thurston County leads the state in the number of pending appeals, the system is broken.”


July 15, 2010

SEATTLE TO PORTLAND BICYCLE CLASSIC THIS WEEKEND

From the Cascade Bicycle Club website:

31st Group Health Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic
Saturday July 17, 2010 to Sunday July 18, 2010

“Welcome to the 31st Group Health Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic official web site. This 200-mile bicycle ride is the largest multi-day bicycle event in the Northwest, with up to 10,000 participants riding from Seattle to Portland in one or two days. The route takes you through the scenic valleys, forests, and farmlands of western Washington and Oregon. Come join what Bicycling Magazine has listed as one of the best cycling events in the nation!

This event is now SOLD OUT!

Who rode in 2009?
9,999 other riders
Oldest rider: 87
Youngest rider: 2 years 4 months old
18% first-time riders
100 safety and medical riders
310 riders who have participated in 10+ STPs
Two riders who have ridden them all: Jerry Baker and Paul Wantzelius! In 2009, riders came from 46 states plus Australia, Bermuda, Canada, England, Puerto Rico, and Sweden.”

The Olympian says:
“Look out for STP cyclists this weekend”


July 14, 2010

WATER ISSUES BRING YELM TO STATE OFFICIALS

Yelm’s City Council June 23rd Study Session Minutes caught my eye where they state,
“Mayor Harding also met with Representatives Campbell, Becker & McCune and Congressman Adam Smith about the water issue and plan to meet with Dept. of Ecology [DOE].”

Given the City of Yelm will not be forthcoming without a Freedom of Information Request (FOIA), for which I will then be written-up in the newspaper for being number one in 2010 FOIA requests now that Ed Wiltsie has passed, I went directly to Rep. Campbell to request the purpose of this meeting.

Campbell reported,
“The meeting I went to was not with Adam Smith but Becker and McCune’s aide. The topic was DOE handling of the McMonagele (sic) water right transfer. The purpose of the legislative delegations presence was to promote a meeting with the Governor to discuss the problem directly.”

For those of you not aware, Mayor Harding & the Yelm City Council seized a citizen’s water rights last year.

Ed. Note: Is the City of Yelm not getting their way in their McMonigle Water Rights SEIZURE & enlisting the aid of State Legislators to go to DOE for the Governor for assistance, after spending what the city reports as hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills? HMMM!
The great thing about our Legislators is they represent ALL constituents’ requests, whether any individual or the cities in their district.

Further, recent news reports show some locations in southern Oregon have no water unless they drill deeper wells:
“Klamath Basin groundwater levels at historic lows”
“…that the heavy use of groundwater to supplement surface irrigation supplies is depleting wells,” from KDRV-TV.

Similarly, the City of Yelm has spent over 2/3 of a million for a test well to drill deeper for water here, for which the city has a bond.


July 13, 2010

VENTURE BANK ASSETS SALE IN-PROGRESS BY FDIC

The Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal reported yesterday,

“Bidding for the assets of the former Venture Bank that was recently closed by state regulators in Lacey, Thurston County is now in progress in an online auction sale that is open to the public through July 13.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) conducts online sales of the assets of closed banks throughout the U.S. The number of lots of merchandise in these auctions varies from dozens of items to hundreds of items depending on the number of branches or locations formerly owned by a closed bank…

Items may also be viewed online at www.ricklevin.com by clicking on the FDIC auction link.”


July 12, 2010

PARK TOILETS LETTER PUTS SPIN IN HIGH-GEAR

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED HERE ON FRIDAY, JULY 9, 2010 at 5:08PM

The Letter to the Editor I submitted to the Nisqually Valley News and published in online & print editions today garnered an interesting SPIN in the same publication.

CLICK HERE to read my Letter to the Editor the newspaper titled: “Money for park toilets could have been better spent”

Nisqually Valley News reporter Megan Hansen filed these comments:
“The ribbon cutting for restroom facilities at Longmire Park is about more than just flushable toilets.

In the larger picture, the new facility makes the park more appealing to tournaments and therefore brings more people into the community.

Yelm Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Cecelia Jenkins said anytime an event comes to Yelm, it brings more business to the area.”

Ed. Note: Spare us such babble. The teams would come to Yelm & Longmire Park whether or not porta-potties & a portable concession stand were there instead of flush toilets & a hot-dog counter.

The Chamber’s Executive Director should know, as she has overseen many annual events for years (including Yelm Prairie Days & Christmas in the Park) which bring thousands to Yelm City Park annually without benefit of flushing toilets & a permanent concession stand there, which is closer to the downtown core and serves as a year-round city-magnet, with an adjacent skate-board park.
And, THAT has not diminished community participation in those events!

Hansen went on to report,
“In total, the City of Yelm has contributed about $1 million to the entire Longmire project.

‘This park has been a priority for our city council,’ Harding said.”

Ed. Note: Yes, that is the truth; flushable toilets & a concession stand HAVE indeed been a priority for our city council, over a public library building for our children and the public.
Has this been discussed here alot?
Absolutely!
The lack of priorities and justification is just amazing!

Then we have Nisqually Valley News publisher/editor Keven R. Graves weighing in on this issue in his Op-Ed this week titled “Public restrooms at park a welcome addition” saying:

“The $400,000 state grant was money specifically intended for community parks projects.’

That is not what one of the WA. State Legislators who was responsible for the grant reported in his letter to the community. Second-District Rep. Jim McCune wrote:
“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.”
Interesting that McCune was not there to be included in the ribbon-cutting!

Would the city requesting a state grant for a Yelm Public Library Building be a better use of public money?

Perhaps Mr. Graves would take a different view of what his newspaper reports about flushing toilets expenditures [“In total, the City of Yelm has contributed about $1 million to the entire Longmire project”]
if Yelm’s Mayor & Chamber of Commerce President-elect Ron Harding proposed an electronic billboard in front of the restroom facility for the Chamber to accept advertising, in competition with his newspaper.
You will recall Mr. Graves had an issue with the mayor proposing such a billboard in another location recently. HMMM!
Quoting Graves, “For any parent whos had a child in an organized sport such as baseball, soccer or youth football, the new restrooms and concession facility at Longmire Park make a world of sense.”

Ed. Note: That is not the issue!
Of course, “the new restrooms and concession facility at Longmire Park make a world of sense.”
The question is in terms of priorities: going after money for flush-toilets vs. greater priorities.
How about showers at Longmire Park, too?
Don’t our children deserve to have those funded as well, when the state deficit is projected at 8.7 billion dollars?
And don’t use the excuse another city would have received the funds if Yelm did not get them.
When are our elected officials going to reign-in such a folly?
Only when the public has had enough of ensuing tax increases to pay for such.

Common sense & priorities went out the window on this one folks, no matter the spin!

July 7th, 2010 is indeed a day that will be one for the Yelm History Project!


July 11, 2010

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED TO MONITOR FOR STREAM BUGS IN YELM

Stream Team is looking for volunteers to stir things up this summer, specifically stream bugs in local streams in the Yelm area. No experience is necessary. Stream bugs, known as ‘macroinvertebrates,’ live in the bottom of streams and provide valuable information regarding water quality and the biological health of streams.

Volunteers are needed at
– Eaton Creek on July 15 at 10 a.m.
– Yelm Creek on July 19 at 10 a.m.
– Thompson Creek on July 25 at 11 a.m.

People interested in volunteering should contact:
Ann Marie Finan
Phone (360) 754-3355, ext. 6857
or via e-mail at finanam@co.thurston.wa.us.


TELL STEAM TEAM YOU READ BOUT THEM ON THE YELM COMMUNITY BLOG!


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