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JBLM cuts ARE coming, no matter the posturing!
Crisis calls for Mayor to lead a Forum!

“Mayor Ron Harding voices his concerns [Jan. 21] to Army leadership about potential force reductions at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. At left is Yelm City Councilor JW Foster.”
Photo credit: Steven Wyble, Nisqually Valley News

An Editorial
– “Local Leaders Express Concern Over JBLM Cuts”
“Military Base Could Lose 11,000 Servicemembers and Civilians in 2015”
From Nisqually Valley News.

While Mayor Ron Harding, Councilor JW Foster and other officials pleaded to save JBLM positions, they missed the point – the cutbacks ARE coming, so they’d best get their jurisdictions and budgets prepared.

– Adam Ashton “nailed it” in his Tacoma News Tribune story:
Congress has not stopped a plan that could result in the loss of up to 11,000 soldiers and civilians at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, on top of 5,000 already gone. Its a part of steep drawdown in the size of the active-duty Army that could slash as many as 90,000 more soldiers from todays force of 510,000 active-duty troops around the world.”

The broad cuts to Army personnel, though unpopular in military communities like the South Sound, represent the ‘path of least resistance’ for a Congress that wants post-war defense savings but wont commit to reducing any specific military program, said Rep. Adam Smith, D-Bellevue, the ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee.

Its easier to allow general cuts to the size of the Army than it is for lawmakers to condone distinct programs being canceled in their home districts, Smith said.

‘Since Congress is not allowing those things to happen, then the Armys got do to what its got to do,’ said Smith, who voted against the 2011 budget compromise that set the stage for the Army force reductions.”
Read more
Click here for Rep. Denny Heck’s August 24, 2014 Press Release.

– Recommendation
Society can’t have it both ways – the country cannot tout less military spending and not have cuts.
Our town’s leaders need to diversify and change their former ways of doing business.
This area has grown even amidst a recession due to the huge influx of troops transferred here 10+ years ago when California bases were closed.

– The Yelm area is going to take an economic hit, like it or not.
Yelm has been too dependent too long on attracting military families here and has not diversified, an issue this blog has addressed publicly for almost 10 years.
The sugar-plum fairies dancing in the heads of city officials from property sales tax and annual real estate taxes was what fueled this city’s growth, all with little foresight or implementation of sustainable and slower growth models expounded publicly to the City Council by many.

– This coming crisis calls for a community wide Forum
The time has come for Mayor Harding to convene the community to engage a conversation about the future,
as any leader of vision would do for their people.

The time has come for the city to be a partner in private/public partnerships to diversify the economics of this area. So many leaders in their fields have been in Yelm and quoted in the newspaper recently. Their experience and expertise should be tapped:

– ” Collaboration Is the Model of Yelm Chambers New Director”
“Casey Cochrane Brings 25 Years of Community, Government Relations Experience to Position”

“‘I think its important that tourism and attraction of people to our area is a regional priority and that we work in concert with other organizations here in Thurston as well as Pierce and Lewis counties,’ Cochrane said.”
Read more

– “Yelm Business Association Holds Second General Meeting”
Yelm Business Association Executive Director Dan Crowe of Crowe Law notes members’ work groups, saying “the YBA has more of an advocacy position where the chamber has more of a marketing and networking position.
Read more from the NVN.

– “Regional Tourism Expert Spoke at Joint Chamber/Yelm Business Association Meeting”
“You cant really do economic development if you dont have strong public/private relationships. You can try to do that (create a business culture) alone with the private sector, which we do, but you really cant do it effectively unless you have jurisdictions and partners really working together well to create a culture that is really strong for private sector business to thrive,” Thurston County Economic Development Council Deputy Director Renee Sundee.
Read more from the NVN.

– Olympia tourism official George Sharp recently spoke in Yelm
Gave 15 points on “How to attract and keep Visitors in Your Yelm Business and Community”
Read more

– Bottom line
The Nisqually Valley News question of the week of January 16th asked:
“What is the biggest difference noticed in the past 5-10 years?”
Most of all of the responses had to do with unbridled growth.

Yelm citizen Brian Hess penned a thoughtful Letter to the Editor:
“Which Direction Are the Leaders of This Community Taking Us?”
“When was the last time that the city leaders reached out to the residents of Yelm with an open and honest discussion about what is going on.”


Posted by Steve on January 26, 2015 at 6:12 am | Permalink

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