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YELM CITY COUNCIL SURPRISES LAST NIGHT


Yelm Public Safety Building & City Council Chambers

The Yelm City Council meeting last night had some distinct surprises:

1. Regarding this agenda item:
Adopt Resolution Number 524 establishing the temporary name Walmart Boulevard for that portion of the future SR 510 Alternate between SR 507 and 103rd Street.

Council member Mike McGowan voiced his concern that for the City of Yelm to endorse naming a street after a local business was setting a precedent he preferred the city not engage, citing an unfair advantage of one business over another, regardless of the size and stature of Wal-Mart here.
Ed. Note: I absolutely agree with him. What has all-ways been a surprise in this town is that the members of the Yelm Chamber of Commerce, mostly comprising our local businesses, do not speak-up on issues such as this that affect ALL of our local businesses.
Now that question has been raised, should the City of Yelm change the names of:
– Creek St. to Brown Auto Car Way
– 103rd St. to Prairie Hotel St.
– 1st St. to Tim’s Pharmacy St
or
– 4th St. to Gordon’s Garden Center Ave.?

Kudos to Mike McGowan for raising this issue AND for voting against the rest of the City Council on this resolution. Not often does one see a non-unanimous vote from the Yelm City Council and frankly, I think Mayor Ron Harding was taken aback there was a dissenter on a vote.
Well-stated and well-done in support of all of our other local businesses, Mike!
DOES YELM’S CITY COUNCIL CAVE-IN TO MULTI-NATIONAL CORPORATIONS HERE, AT THE EXPENSE OF OUR LOCALLY OWNED BUSINESSES?
Ask a locally-owned business owner.

2. We heard a question raised from Council member Russ Hendrickson, who never speaks on anything, outside of his required council member report. THAT was a surprise in itself.
After Yelm Community Development Director Grant Beck’s Staff Report on the STIP, Hendrickson questioned Beck about a letter received from me on this action item:
Adopt Resolution Number 526 establishing the 2011 to 2017 Yelm Six Year Transportation Improvement Program [STIP] for the City of Yelm.

Hendrickson ‘s remarks about this writer’s letter and his confusion about what I was requesting demonstrate time and time again certain members of the Yelm City Council have no grasp on key issues and rely too much on city staff’s explanations on which to cast heir vote. Beck’s always-evasive answers and Staff Reports are relied upon for key votes without question, as was in Hendrickson’s case last night. Beck gave his usually evasive answer without cross-examination from Hendrickson, never addressing the points about dividing Loop Phases on the STIP. Hendrickson should have asked to “table” this item until he got clear and could learn more.

Russ: what was remarkable in Beck’s presentation & answer was that nothing was mentioned about dividing Phase 1 & 2 of the Loop, the key point of my letter. THAT should have provided you enough to further question!
SIMPLE QUESTION: WHY IS THE MUCH-HERALDED PHASE 1 OF THE NOW-OPENED SR 510 LOOP STILL ON YELM’S 6-YEAR PLAN TO OBTAIN FUNDING?

So, I wrote Hendrickson a letter after the meeting to summarize my points:

Dear Russ,

You comment/question at the City Council meeting tonight regarding your confusion about my letter was NOT addressed by Mr. Beck.

I raised two points about the city’s STIP, which were not addressed by Mr. Beck’s presentation or response:
1. Beck told the Council the city’s STIP is the funding, planning document for the next 6 years.
Then, what I suggested is that Phase One be separated (Y3 on your map) and shown on the STIP as an operating road.
I suggested only listing Phase 2 of the Y3 as unfunded.
There is no longer any need to have the entire Y3 on the STIP, since Phase One is funded, completed & open to traffic.
Only Phase 2 of the Y3 corridor should be on the STIP as being a desire for the city to have funded for planning purposes the next 6 years.

2. With the SR 510 Loop now complete from Mudd Run Rd. to Cullen Rd. and terminates at Cullen, the same wording from the city’s 20 year plan AND on the city’s Joint Plan with Thurston County should have this wording listed on the STIP, as well:

“Joint Plan Only – Y3 SR 510 to SR 507 (SR 510 Loop):
As of 2010, improvements beyond Cullens Road are not funded, aside from right-of-way acquisision (sic).
These Improvements are expected to be funded within the 20-year planning horizon.”

Afterall, the STIP IS the city’s planning document for road/sidewalk funding for the next 6 years.
Why would the city NOT show the aforementioned 2 facts on the STIP?

Sincerely,

Steve Klein

BOTTOM LINE:
Both of these issues raised by Council member McGowan and my letter on the STIP are for the public benefit now and in the future. While Council member Wood ran on a platform in 2009 of being the person to vote to support the general public and the working man/woman, his silence on these two issues and others in the past has been palpable. He has voted straight-up for the continuance of the Yelm Cabal, as one local figure terms the leadership here! And Hendrickson’s capitulation to Beck without further investigation for himself was not in the public’s interest.

Posted by Steve on June 29, 2011 at 6:58 am | Permalink

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