“TRANSPARENCY IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT”
Seattle’s KING 5 News Robert Mak asked the question on the program Up Front – Issues That Matter on September 4, 2011, “Are Town Halls Dying?”
While the report dealt with Congressional representatives, the issue was noted here in Yelm in September, 2005.
This is a great question and an in-depth report.
Click here for the video.
However, Town Halls were declared dead in Yelm in September, 2005 when then Yelm Mayor Pro-tem, City Council leader & Mayoral candidate Ron Harding told the Nisqually Valley News he would not participate in their community mayoral candidate Forum. From then on and once elected, Mayor Harding drew a line in the sand that he will hold NO Town Hall or public forums as long as he is mayor, concerned about the backlash to his policies from those residents & city taxpayers outside of Yelm’s city limits in Thurston County who speak-up on issues that affect them. Harding will ONLY take 5 public comments limited to 3 minutes each twice a month at city council meetings in the Public Safety Building. If one goes over the 3 minutes and the council does not like the comment, they will be cut-off, even if the only commenter!
I find Yelm officials to be an embarrassment when County Commissioner Romero, State Legislators and our Congressional Representative hold regular public forums and not our own town’s own Mayor or City Council!
What is Mayor Harding and the City Council afraid of?
Harding and most of the the Council members ran unopposed.
Keven Graves is quoted from his November 25, 2005 editorial in the local newspaper:
“We (he & then Mayor-elect Harding) agree that a transparent government is better government.”
The lack of public Town Halls by City of Yelm’s government covered here for 5+ years is far from an environment of being “a transparent government”. This is a sad commentary of our local society.
– An unaware and uninvolved public are Yelm City Council’s greatest allies in carrying forth their agenda.