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[This post was written by Steve Klein.
– #1 below – Klein is a former Mayor appointee to the Yelm Library Citizens Advisory Board and subsequently that Board’s chosen Chair.
– # 2 below – Klein and his wife Yael are annual donors to the Yelm Community Center holiday food distribution program.
– # 3 below – Klein and his wife Yael are property owners in the City of Yelm.
– # 7 below – Klein is employed as the Event Services Manager for JZ Knight and Ramthas School of Enlightenment.
– # 8 below – Klein and his wife Yael are contributors to the SE Thurston Fire Authority.
– # 11 below – Klein was a 2005 mayoral candidate and gifted his traffic plan to the citizens of Yelm in full-page newspaper ads in December, 2005.]

This was posted by a reader in the Nisqually Valley News online edition:
“Growing up in Yelm, there was a time when you knew everyones (sic) name and they knew yours. I would walk from Clearwood to Yelm and get rides from lots of people. I never was scared or worried because it was a small town and it was safe. Now you have what you wanted a big town with big town problems, which is why I no longer live in Yelm but another small town.”
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Editor’s note:
As discussed here previously, Mayor Harding can tout all of the physical things the city has done to make improvements, like new sidewalks, a partial bypass, Prairie Trail, etc., however one thing sorely missing in this town is the city’s attention to their people’s issues, as shown by the comment above.

Additionally, the mayor’s vision for growth continues unabated. Indeed, he said in his State of the City Address that just six weeks into 2012, Yelm already doubled its anticipated building permits for the year. City Council member Mike McGowan crowed last night about the Salmon Run Apts. ground breaking ceremony tomorrow for 40 new apt. units on Vancil Road, bringing more traffic, people and growth directly into Yelm’s urban core, regardless of the fact that they are low-income apts (is this for low incomes?
From the NVN:
“There are two one-bedroom units that will be priced as low as $479 and a couple four-bedroom units that will cost $751 and $959 per month, respectively.”).

Mayor Harding was quoted in the Nisqually Valley News Feb. 24th:
“Any jurisdiction’s job is to improve the quality of life for its residents.”

Yet, Harding has still unaddressed these social issues:
1. The over $1 million debt on a $1 million library-purchase bond
2. The cost of another Community Center structure, when this city already has an outstanding Yelm Community Services facility, suitable for all sorts of public activities. Why doesn’t the city promote it?
3. Utility rate increases for Yelm property owners, again: sewer increase of 5.4%, water rate increase of 8.25%.
4. Continued drop in median home prices.
5. South Sound home values declined again in 2011, 6%
6. The intense demand on local food banks from our friends and neighbors.
7. The City spent almost $300,000 in taxpayer money and lost a water case in Wa. State Supreme Court last year, brought by JZ Knight. Seven of nine Court Justices sided with the Thurston County Superior Court opinion that the city appealed. This impact will not be addressed.
8. Potential cutbacks at SE Thurston Fire Authority.
9. Burglaries and crime continue unabated.
10. Forecast continues with slow economic growth
11. Yelm’s number one issue: Traffic
Entries posted here many times over the last 6 years that Yelm Ave. traffic can not be properly handled without its eventual widening. Ask anyone commuting home after 3pm any afternoon through Yelm, especially Thursdays & Fridays.

Posted by Steve on February 29, 2012 at 6:58 am | Permalink

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  1. One has to wonder if Mayor Harding is running for something or building monuments to himself?
    His re-election in Yelm is not until Nov., 2013.

    Comment by Steve Klein on February 29, 2012 at 2:35 pm

  2. Sean,

    No, frankly, it’s NOT unethical to fail to disclose I am on Knight’s payroll.
    THAT has been on this blog enough over 6 years and plenty when I ran for mayor in 2005..

    I do not see the local newspaper list they have an employee on the Yelm Chamber of Commerce Board every time they write a story about the Chamber, as an example, and that includes Mr. Graves’ Op-Ed this week. Nor have I seen your Letters to the Editor about such printed there either!

    However, in good faith to you, while you repeatedly demand only disclosure that I am on Knight’s payroll, I listed everything, since disclosure is what you say will not compromise “credibility as a community advocate”.
    This should now satisfy you, see above.

    Since all is listed here, this is quite enough postings of these facts, your insisting otherwise notwithstanding!

    Comment by Steve Klein on March 2, 2012 at 8:30 pm

  3. You’re right – the paper should disclose it has an employee on the board of the chamber. That would be consistent with the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics.

    The fact that it doesn’t — assuming your assertion is correct — doesn’t excuse your obligation to be forthcoming, especially when you are taking an advocacy position on behalf of the person who signs your paycheck.

    You strive to position your blog as the voice of the Yelm community. You don’t show respect for your readers, and you undermine your credibility if you are not willing to be up front with them consistently about your conflict of interest.

    Is it that hard, for example, to put “(Full disclosure: I am an employee of JZ Knight)” each time you take an advocacy position on behalf of JZ Knight or one of her commercial products or services? Maybe you could have a standing text block on your page that says “I am a follower and employee of JZ Knight.”

    It’s your blog. You can do with it what you want. But if you Google best practices in blogging, you will almost always find an insistence on full, honest and consistent disclosure of even the potential appearance of a conflict of interest. Because credibility is all a blogger has, and it’s hard to recover it once it’s been lost.

    Comment by Sean on March 2, 2012 at 9:18 pm

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