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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?
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!

Posted by Steve on July 12, 2010 at 5:08 am | Permalink

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One comment

  1. Mr. Klein,

    “Bringing home the bacon” in these times means ensuing taxes to pay for the pork in an economy that continues to tank.

    It’s unfortunate your local newspaper publisher/editor is unable to see that fact, instead pandering to local politicians, unless of course, he feels his newspaper is threatened, which is true hypocrisy.

    Someone has to have the will to say “no” to these kind of expenditures or this state will be in major trouble like California.

    Comment by Ray on July 12, 2010 at 10:55 pm

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