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Does the NVN advocate reigning-in Council by ‘measured’ dissent?
Troubling signs from local newspaper engender this question

Michael Wagar, Executive Editor, Lafromboise Communications, Inc.
Photo courtesy: The [Centralia] Chronicle

* NVN taking aim at 2015’s elected councilors
* NVN wants Council reigned-in to have “measured” dissent
* While NVN Editor speaks of Camrody and DePinto’s remarks, Littlefield’s are omitted
* Council dissent and disagreement have been suppressed in Yelm far too long
* 2015’s elected councilors unafraid to speak their minds
* A breath of fresh air emerges with Carmody’s & DePinto’s stands
* And why did the NVN cut Pastor Sylvia Peterson’s Religious Column, without public explanation
* My online comments about the NVN column of Glen Morgan in being the recipient of a lawsuit for alleged illegal election robocalls against Democrats was not posted.
* If NVN Editor/Publisher Wagar says, “Revealing Cringeworthy Council Emails Has Value,” then why doesn’t publishing the facts about Glen Morgan NOT also have value?
* These are troubling signs from local newspaper who supposedly touts Freedom of Speech!

– Troubling signs from our local newspaper
Are recent signs indicative the Nisqually Valley News (NVN) is taking a stand to stifle dissent from the new councilors.
What the NVN considers Councilor Molly Carmody’s unrefined approach is being made the issue, rather than important issues she is bringing to light.
And Councilor DePinto challenged when proper process was not being followed since he took office.
Yet, the NVN takes aim at the delivery from these “messengers” and not their message.
Democracy calls for unbridled Freedom of Speech and sometimes truth can “bite.”

Camrody “nailed it” and stands by her words to the NVN – How refreshing!
“I do stand by my words, I believe Yelm has been controlled by the same few families over the past few years.”
“My words may not have been elegant but they got my point across, that is what I believe.”

“Previous Mayor Harding was one member of that old guard, and for many years, he controlled Yelm city government as a virtual demagogue, with the sitting council acting as his puppets.”
“They voted exactly how he wanted them to and approved his many grandiose and cost-overrun projects that the citizens repeatedly voted down. For too long, Yelm has been ruled by the same small number of elite families that have lived here for generations, and that don’t acknowledge that Yelm has changed dramatically even in the past eight years, when it has nearly doubled in size. They are content to run Yelm as it was run many years ago.”

– Editor’s Note:
Interesting that NVN Publisher/Editor Wagar decided to pen Opinion pieces on Councilor Carmody and DePinto’s dissent, when he has not addressed the issue of the new councilors having been challenged almost every step in standing-up for the public’s interests. And they all won in 2015, including Councilor Stillwell, against city incumbents on platforms of open government, transparency, and public safety. When DePinto correctly stands his ground on process and Carmody dared to speak her opinion and calls out the closed-door manner in which the city council has operated for over a dozen years, does Mr. Wagar now take aim at them. Former Mayor Harding insured that most all dissent and/or disagreements on the previous councils were kept behind closed doors and Action items were simply routine “rubber-stamped” affairs. Now that the city council study sessions are video-recorded for the public, this last concealment barrier has been removed. Mr. Wagar, you are correct when you say, “It started last year when three new city councilors were voted into office.” EXACTLY, they were voted in because of their outspokenness to serve in the public’s interest and the public has overwhelmingly responded positively to them, even in your newspaper’s online and print editions.
The NVN’s commitment to balance and fairness took a back seat to selling newspapers.

Let’s not misconstrue being unrefined to reign-in councilors to be “measured,” as Wagar has called. Carmody got her point across, as she so aptly stated, and I am very proud of her. Former Mayor Harding reigned-in his councils far too long and Wagar suggests Yelm’s City Council return to that operation by saying, “voice displeasure when appropriate, but make it measured.” I have lived in cities ranging from areas in Miami, San Francisco, San Diego, Houston and New York where fierce public debate rages on many issues by councils, and comparatively have found the Yelm Council to have little public discourse and openness, until DePinto, Carmody, and Stillwell took office.
I salute them for their backbone! Keep it up – this forces the council to rise and be better for everyone.

Bottom line:
* Where was the NVN in reporting Councilor Littlefield’s deriding comments about Councilor DePinto after the November 22nd city council meeting, saying that she doesn’t support her school’s anti-bullying policy?
Littlefield said, “They have this orange day where everybody wears orange. I never do. I’m like, no, I support the bullies.”

* Where was the NVN in calling on Interim Mayor Foster and Councilor Littlefield to apologize to Councilor DePinto and “use this as a teaching moment to curb [such unprofessional] behavior” to quote Wagar? This “teaching moment” deserves a front-page, top-of-fold story!

* Cindy Teixeira’s column critical of Councilor Joe DePinto referencing the Open (sic) Public Records Act instead of the Open Public Meetings Act was merely a slip of the tongue, as anyone would have known who had seen DePinto’s 2017 council and study session comments on following proper procedures. With over 6 years experience working in the WA. State Legislature, this man KNOWS process, yet Teixeira decided to spin the story critical of this ONE oversight, while omitting all of the procedure qualities DePinto has brought to the council, under both former Mayor Harding and now Interim Mayor Foster.
And interesting that Teixeira failed to note that DePinto’s error was logical when he referenced the Open Public Records Act, which is actually titled the Public Records Act, clearly demonstrating DePinto meant to reference the Open Public Meetings Act!
Also, where was Teixeira in not reporting on Littlefield’s bullying comment, as one would think she would be outraged about a school teacher even jokingly voicing support for bullies, having sent her children to public school?
This kind of reporting has a “strangely familiar ring!”

– NVN entries
* December 1, 2016
“SEEKING PARITY Pastor Wonders Why Her Religious Column Gets Cut”
Bald Hill Community Church Pastor Sylvia Peterson’s Letter to the Editor questioned why her NVN religious column was again cut. There was no public response from NVN Publisher/Editor Michael Wagar. hmmm.
Read more

* December 1, 2016
Wagar says, “Yelm has a lot of hugging to do as our town is undergoing rampant change, from continued population growth (a lot of change is also going to come to the Yelm area as the direction of county government has completely flipped with the election of independents John Hutchings and Gary Edwards to the Board of Thurston County Commissioners), but perhaps paramount, from an overhaul of Yelm city government personnel.

It started last year when three new city councilors were voted into office. It was compounded when City Administrator Shelly Badger left, followed by Mayor Ron Harding.”

“There’s been some bad blood on the council when Foster was appointed as mayor, and when the two newest councilors were appointed to fill empty seats. This can all be resolved during next year’s elections.”
Read more

* December 8, 2016
NVN Publisher/Editor Michael Wagar writes in his Opinion piece:
“Today on page one the Nisqually Valley News reports on a less than pleasant email emanating from Yelm City Councilor Molly Carmody. The words are cringeworthy. They also reveal a city council and mayor that have issues with each other.

My hope is that some good comes from this as well. Be polite. Be professional. Try not to let your work or leadership duties get personal. By all means voice displeasure when appropriate, but make it measured. This would be a boring world if we all agreed with each other.

Let’s all use this as a teaching moment to curb our behavior. There is too much good to be done, problems to be fixed and personalities to enjoy.”
Read more

Posted by Steve on December 19, 2016 at 6:44 am | Permalink

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