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“Councilman’s ‘no’ vote a refreshing deviation from business as usual”

This Letter to the Editor was published in the June 1, 2012 edition of the Nisqually Valley News, by this blog writer.


Yelm Council member Mike McGowan
Photo Credit: City of Yelm website

Dear Editor,

With a closed-to-the-public Executive Session item, Council member Mike McGowan was the only one voting “No”, saying public notification and responses were required. Rarely has anyone voted in favor of citizens’ interests in the last dozen years and against the council’s usual unanimity. McGowan’s stand was the right thing to do.

Many examples abound of council’s actions usurping constituents, including:

– Seizing a citizen’s water rights
– Denying a military family home occupancy because of a development’s fire hydrant issue, even after the Fire Chief approved issuing the permit. The home sits vacant.
– Mayor Harding said Yelm could only afford a $600,000 library purchase, yet proposed a $1,000,000 condo deal, without prior notification to council or citizenry.
– Adding $1,000,000 to the library bond for a community center without public input, one the city said it cannot staff. Yelm has a center and a second proposed by the Lion’s Club; can the city afford a third?
– Council approved a test well agreement on a Tahoma Terra parcel. AFTER Tahoma’s bankruptcy, why did council authorize $615,223 to dig the well on dispossessed land? When title transferred from the trustee to a second bank, council invoked eminent-domain to get at the property; still unresolved.

Yelm’s Comprehensive Plan states, “A sustainable community thoughtfully provides or the needs of its residents with efficiency and stewardship for the future. Do council members use this to guide their actions?

Many city officials grew up here, attend church with their families and friends, and celebrate wonderful occasions with the community. Yet, do they consider their constituents’ well-being first and foremost? Are officials’ views obscured by the aphrodisiac of growth’s revenue, instead of favoring residents over the almighty dollar?

With the nation looking to the Presidential election for candidates’ accountability, doesn’t that begin right here locally? While I am certain city officials are doing their best and their service is laudable, isn’t doing the right thing for citizens what is noble above all other motives?

Actions speak louder than words. Shouldn’t McGowan’s vote for the public’s right-to-know be the norm for Yelm, rather than the exception?

Steve Klein
Yelm, WA.

– City of Yelm Oath of Office
I do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution and laws of the United States and the State of Washington and ordinances of the City of Yelm, and that I will faithfully and impartially perform the duties of City Council Member of the City of Yelm to the best of my ability.

Posted by Steve on June 1, 2012 at 12:05 am | Permalink

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