Yelm Councilor Joe DePinto with Rep. Denny Heck (D-Olympia)
2016 Best of Nisqually Gala, DePinto named “Best Public Official”
Photo credit: Elect Joe DePinto Facebook page
Opinion of Steve Klein:
The October 18th mayoral candidates’ debate underscores my support for Joe DePinto. The candidates have enunciated their vision on campaign websites, in social media, and now in 2 forums. The small Oct. 18th public debate audience was largely comprised of Foster supporters, many of whom are not city of Yelm voters. Not the essence of a true debate, rather a Foster pep rally with many adorned in his campaign t-shirts. Even when Foster made inaccurate statements about DePinto, his audience interrupted by rote with their applause. DePinto was excellent in correcting the narrative on several occasions.
Yelm has grown to 9,000 residents and this town has issues that require a youthful, elastic mind, and someone not connected with the past in being beholding to so many politically-entrenched endorsers. Yelm is now in the grips of major challenges with a limited water allocation, Public Works infrastructure needs, and a residential base burdened by ever increasing taxes and fees. We need Joe DePinto’s clear head, willingness to pause and ask questions before voting, not being afraid to say “no,” his interested listening skills, and all-ways foremost in the serving the public interests ahead of his own.
DePinto represents our future, not our past!
Yelm’s issues can NOT be resolved with the same mindset that created this in the first place!
Foster was complicit in his years of lockstep votes with Harding’s failed policies.
DePinto has more than held his own integrity and grace with former Mayor Harding and Interim Mayor Foster during his almost 2 years on the council. He has been the lone voice in educating the mayors on following proper procedures in council sessions, long overlooked because of their lack of knowledge or experience in the public meetings process. Yet Joe has acquired fine leadership skills with over 7 years experience working for a Congressional Office, in our state legislature with U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, and as executive legislative assistant to Rep. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver, and currently in a lobbying firm specializing in local government.
And DePinto is absolutely correct in calling-out Interim Mayor Foster in touting himself as a full-time mayor. Foster’s full-time mayoral status is determined by council vote, not by a mayor’s dictatorial decree, as the Yelm Municipal Code (YMC) states the City Administrator is the full-time operations manager of Yelm. DePinto wants to reign in the mayor’s $30,000 salary here, the highest paid in the county for this part-time position. He has called for an independent audit of the city budget to learn more. He also supports term limits here on elected positions to allow the opportunity for new minds, new ideas to serve in public offices.
Where I find fault with Foster is in his lack of leadership in standing-up to stop a derogatory comment about DePinto by another councilor off-the-record yet unaware there was an operating camera on the council’s system. Foster should have been the leader he touts himself to be and immediately put a stop to that kind of attack, both in-public and on his social media pages, yet he “fosters” them instead. As DePinto noted in the Chamber debate, Foster has been on the council and as interim mayor for a total almost 7 years and never once brought-up the issue of public transparency. While Foster asked for my endorsement prior to the May filing date, I responded a decision would be made once we know who would be his opponents. After witnessing the campaigns and platforms of both candidates, I found Foster a nice guy, yet his politics I can not support. Foster is not the kind of leader for our town’s future.
Michelle Obama said: “Being President Doesn’t Change Who You Are, It Reveals Who You Are.”
This was so true as we discovered with former Mayor Harding. Now Foster’s 2017 campaign for mayor has been so similar to the nastiness of the Harding campaign, from creating sign placement issues to unchallenged attacks of DePinto and his supporters on his social media pages. This also reveals who Foster will be as mayor.
DePinto initiated a conversation with YMCA management, working with city staff to get this idea underway. He has taken stands to avoid additional taxes/fees on residents, suggesting other potential revenue-stream development, often times voting singularly against imposing new taxes/fees. Joe brings a youthful vitality and focused interest in seeking alternative and innovative solutions to city funding issues and examining areas of cutting expenses, instead of the usual taxes/fees increases on residents.
Joe DePinto is a leader with an impeccable record in his stands for transparency, open government, following proper procedures, and in expressing his deep respect and appreciation to all citizens who address the council. Since the day he filed for Yelm public office in May 2015, his participation in our local government created an awakening in the community from those who usually like to hide behind the scenes. Joe has made this town take notice. No one can argue with the public vote making Joe DePinto Best Public Official in the NVN’s 2016 Best of Nisqually contest. His is no slogan, rather a commitment for all of Yelm, whether those inside city limits, those residents in rural areas who shop and pay taxes here, and our visitors:
“I’m Joe DePinto and this is our town!”
– Learn more about Joe DePinto for Mayor of Yelm:
Blogger Klein contributed $1,000 to the DePinto campaign and $500 to the Foster campaign.