“The Thurston County Republicans have named three candidates to replace secretary of state-elect Kim Wyman as Thurston County auditor. Yelm Mayor Ron Harding is one of three considered by the Thurston County Commissioners, as Wyman became the 15th secretary of state Jan. 16, leaving her county position open until the election in November.
The Nisqually Valley News (NVN) published Harding-for-Auditor stories heralded on the front pages the last two weeks. However reporter Steven Wyble omitted many facts about Harding’s history, while understandable since he is so new at the NVN, however facts his readers, the public and Thurston County Commissioners should be aware in considering Mr. Harding for any position:
– July 31, 2005:
The Tacoma News Tribune reported, “The city of 4,455 [Yelm] is the fastest-growing city in Thurston County.”
“The Ramtha school brought some of these newcomers, but many others unaffiliated with the group were drawn by lower housing prices compared with bigger cities, work at nearby Fort Lewis or the dream of living in a quaint community off the beaten path.
These transplants never knew a Yelm without Ramtha. And many say the school has been a positive influence in their community.”
Read more by Angie Leventis.
Ed. Note: Now, in 2013, the City of Yelm has almost doubled the population since 2005 with about 8,000 people and is in the top 10 growing cities in the state, thanks to Harding’s unbridled growth policies. Harding has been an advocate of grow-Yelm-at-all costs since first elected to the Yelm City Council in 2001 and acknowledged the growth here is now driven by JBLM military families.
– September, 2005:
Then-city council member and mayoral candidate Ron Harding refused an invitation by the Nisqually Valley News to participate in a candidates’ Town Hall Forum on the issues and to this day, has never held a Town Hall with his constituents.
Ed,. Note: Harding’s State of the City addresses are his only public presentations on city issues outside of Yelm City Council sessions and are delivered before a closed-to-the-public group of Yelm Chamber of Commerce members once a year, a chamber on which he sits as a board of director.
– October 1, 2005:
In the 2005 Thurston County Voters Pamphlet, Harding said he was then 39 years old and had “more than twenty years with “business management experience.”
Ed. Note: So in 2005, Harding asserted since age 19, he has “business management experience.” He was listed only as co-owner of a local contractor and his family has a flower business. Harding has no college education and experience beyond high school and the confines of his Yelm representations.
– October 17, 2005:
The Olympian Editorial Board said this about then-candidate Harding, running for his first term as mayor at the time [Harding ran unopposed for mayor in 2009].
“Councilman Ron Harding is giving up his council seat to run for mayor. As a fifth-generation Yelm resident who is active in the local chamber and community events, Harding sees the mayor’s job as the next logical step in his political career.”
‘He sees himself as more favorable to growth than his opponent.'”
“Where we find fault with Harding is his failure to stand up for citizens who want to speak to the council.
Mayor Adam Rivas in effect issued a gag order against people talking about Wal-Mart at council sessions. And Harding was complicit in that censorship. He should have insisted his citizens be heard.”
Ed. Note: Harding says he wants to advance a political career.
His Yelm growth policies have come at a cost: traffic, pollution, water issues, crime & stress on city infrastructure.
And, the ACLU challenged Yelm City Council’s “speak no Wal-Mart” policy in 2005 on which Harding was Mayor Pro-tem, receiving the Jefferson Muzzle Award for prohibiting citizens from using the terms Wal-Mart or big box stores public council sessions.
– October 23, 2005:
The Tacoma News Tribune asked then-mayoral-candidate Harding:
“How can the city do more to get all its diverse residents more involved in the public process?
“Getting more citizens involved is important to all elected officials. Encouraging diverse groups to get involved makes our process even stronger. As mayor, I would over time reschedule local meetings to be more convenient for the public. In addition the city would sponsor local forums, as needed to update the public regarding our progress.”
In the same column, under Harding’s Education (post high school graduation), was: “none listed.”
Ed. Note: While the Yelm City Council moved their meetings from Wednesday to Tuesday to accommodate the NVN publishing deadline, and then later the start time was switched from 7pm to 6pm, there has been NO city-sponsored local forum since Harding became mayor in January, 2006.
Harding has no college education and experience beyond high school and the confines of his Yelm representations.
– December 6, 2005:
A month after the City of Yelm election for mayor in which he won, the State of WA. Public Disclosure Commission notified mayor-elect Harding of this:
“apparent failure to include real property on your F-1 report filed May 11, 2005. Based on our telephone conversation today [Dec. 6, 2005 where the PDC contacted Harding], it appears that real property was left off your most recent F-1 report.”
“In addition, you need to include the Rental Income from the rental property in Part 1, Income.”
Ed, Note: ANY “20-year Business Management” experienced candidate would never just forget to report rental property on a public disclosure document.
Looking back many years, the only year City of Yelm voters only had choice of mayoral candidates was in 2005, as all other mayoral candidates ran unopposed (2009, 2001, etc.). Harding has NEVER been challenged in a Town Hall Forum with the pubic for his positions on any of his views.
Harding told the Thurston County Commissioners last week he had 20 years business management experience. Shouldn’t he now have 27 years business management experience, since he used the same line 7+ years ago? Can’t he add?
Bottom line: Is this the type of person we want as Thurston County Auditor or in any political position?
Blog writer Klein was a 2005 Yelm mayoral candidate.