“Elijah Cummings, a Maryland Democrat and House Oversight Chairman, dies at 68”
Editor’s note: Rep. Cummings was one of the few Congressional leaders that earned my deep respect over the years. A man of immense integrity, impeccability, intelligence, understanding and wisdom. This man’s leadership in a highly fracture government will be a huge loss for the United States. His wife reportedly said Cummings worked for America until his last breath. I honor him and send blessings to his widow, family and the citizens of Baltimore. The nation now mourns for this great man!
Click here to see the passion and sincerity of Cummings as leader of the Congressional Oversight Committee interacting with President Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen testifying before the Oversight Committee.
“Cummings passed away at Johns Hopkins Hospital, his office confirmed.”
“Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings died Thursday after what his office described as “complications concerning longstanding health challenges.” He was 68.
D-Md., passed away around 2:30 a.m. ET at Gilchrist Hospice Care, an
affiliate of Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Hospital, his office said in a
Cummings had represented Maryland’s 7th Congressional District since 1996, serving 12 terms in the House, and was at the center of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump in his role as House Oversight Committee chairman,” by Alexander Smith, Geoff Bennett, Rebecca Shabad and Allan Smith, NBC News. Read more
Rep. Cummings on July 24, 2019: “I’m begging the American people to pay attention to what is going on. Because if you want to have a democracy intact for your children, and your children’s children, and generations yet unborn we’ve got to guard this moment…this is our watch.” Click here for the video.
“Morning Joe: Rep. Cummings, our dear friend, he will be missed”
“Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski reflect on the life and legacy of Rep. Elijah Cummings, who died Thursday morning at the age of 68. Cummings married Scarborough and Brzezinski last year, which Scarborough describes as an honor and perfect,” quoting Morning Joe on MSNBC. Click here for the tribute.
Public Works requires $27 million for maintenance upgrades,
Council keeps postponing funding decisions,
Council asked to consider $350,000 in triage funding to cover emergencies,
Yelm residents need to brace for certain water/sewer rate increases,
Now two department heads are in an acting capacity (Public Works, Finance),
Turnover costs the city in productivity, continuity, dollars to replace personnel,
Something is amiss in leadership with too frequent staff turnovers,
City needs to hire a head-hunter for a qualified Public Works Director.
Our Public Works staff deserve our praise and an expert Director!
Editor’s note: The Nisqually Valley News was invited to the Public Works department last August to write an in-depth report on the aging facility that needs a major and immediate refurbishment, yet there is no funding on the immediate horizon. That means some or a majority of the upgrade costs will have to be born by the users, City of Yelm residents. The NVN story published August 22, 2019, stated the issue clearly:
“But there’s one thing that can’t be ignored — the 25-year-old treatment facility and its technology are quickly becoming obsolete, and there are some repairs that cannot be made.
“That’s why the city council and staff are discussing the construction of a new membrane bio-reactor system that would bring more efficiencies to the system and process cleaner reclaimed water. It would likely cost upwards of $17 million to construct the facilities and install the system.
“Those connected to the facility say it’s likely a question of ‘when a replacement will come and not ‘if,‘” quoting Eric Rosanne.
“Over a three-year period, the City has replaced many components to keep the current facility functional, including the system control software, distribution system, and eliminated single points of failure but still requires an estimated $27 Million overhaul to manage current and future demand. The City is exploring a variety of options to renovate the facility while keeping utility rates as low as possible for the citizens and businesses of Yelm. Options include a widely used Membrane Bioreactor system, and advocating for State Funding and allow Yelm to be a leader for other innovative treatment options including ceramics and algae.”
On October 8, 2019, the public heard for the first time at the Yelm City Council session that City Administrator Michael Grayum was once again the Acting Public Works Director. However, upon inquiring, this blogger was informed Public Works Director Chad Bedlington was not on leave for a family matter as he was last Spring, rather he submitted a resignation letter. This leads to many questions and places the city in a precarious position in a department that REQUIRES a fully-qualified, daily hands-on manager, expert, and department head. Bedlington had been in this post for almost 3.5 years, replacing former Public Works Director Ryan Johnstone, who also resigned.
Bedlington had made a presentation to the city council on September 24, 2019, with a recommendation by public works staff to enter into a water and sewer rate forecasting analysis. That request was tabled by the council, again “kicking the can down the road” due to the council’s concerns that rate increases are in the forecast and will not be favorably received by residents.
At the October 8, 2019 council session, Acting Public Works Director Michael Grayum, recommended a $350,000 “triage funding” to have in the ready with the coming emergency breakdowns that will occur with the Public Works facility in such challenging state, since regular maintenance has been deferred since 2009-2010. Click here begin at 35:00 for the monetary gap explanation and suggested $350K triage funding.
Bottom line: With Bedlington taking the heat for Splash Park cost overruns that would have had to have been approved at a higher pay-grade than his, a council that keeps deferring tackling the Public Works debacle, no foreseeable funding, while the city keeps adding more hook-ups, the Public Works Director’s job would have to look like a lose-lose for anyone. To properly replace Bedlington, the city is going to have to jack-up the pay to attract a quality Department Head to take over the issues in Yelm!
I am deeply saddened that a man of Chad Bedlington’s integrity, experience, genuineness and public likeability is leaving Yelm. However, I wish him well in his next endeavors and thank him, for his service to Yelm during a challenging tenure.
Secondly, Department Heads are a vital team for any city. They lean on each other, share ideas, discuss solutions and work through issues for the upliftment of the public, the Mayor and City Administrator under who they serve, the City Council, and their City Hall colleagues.
Therefore, I am VERY concerned that Chief Stancil and Community Dev. Dir. Grant Beck have once again lost two of their vital Department Head colleagues (Finance Director Wolf and Bedlington) with whom they were able to kick-back and “blow off some stream.” As a former corporate director, I can tell you morale among management leaders and their staff must be top priority. And this city is operating with 2 Acting Directors as Department Heads, which leaves the city vulnerable in these key areas.
“We hope you join the City of Yelm, the City of Yelm Police Department, and Yelm Community Schools, by participating in the Great Washington Shakeout event at 10:17 a.m. Oct. 17. As part of the Shakedown [Ed. note: must be an error, for obviously the city does not mean “Shakedown,” rather Shakeout!] , the Police Department will test our emergency notification system by sending an internal alert to staff and elected officials, who will then simulate what they would do in an actual earthquake event. Have you thought about what you would do in an earthquake or other emergency?
Editor’s note: The time for change and fiscal responsibility is now for the Port of Olympia. Property owners in Thurston County fund the port through property taxes and should take a vested interest into seeing this asset is properly managed. Continued losses and doing business the same way for years is not working.
I am pleased to endorse the leadership, experience and vision exhibited by Helen Wheatley.
A former Fulbright scholar with a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University, Helen taught history at Seattle University and has worked for over two decades as an advocate for cleanup of the Hanford nuclear site in Eastern Washington. In 2018 she was honored as Thurston County Democrat of the Year.
“The Port loses money every year. Port taxes have increased 27% since 2016. Let’s stop using taxes to make up for losses and debt. $6.5 million a year is too much to pay for poor decisions. We can turn the Port around with better transparency and more rigorous oversight,” quoting Wheatley’s Voter’s Pamphlet statement.
Please consider casting your vote for Helen Wheatley, Port of Olympia Commissioner!
From the website of Helen for Port:
Helen’s Vision for Improving Governance at the Port
Commissioners oversee the annual budget and approve significant capital expenditures. As
your Commissioner I will demand transparent reporting and require that all budget information be available to
the public. I will hold the Executive Director accountable and act to spare the Port from making costly
with taxpayer’s funds.
Minutes, policy documents and financial reporting should be accessible for the public to
evaluate and respond. As your Commissioner, I will make sure that better shared information results in better
practices and decisions.
Plan for the Future
The Port’s strategic planning is years out of date. As your Commissioner I will work to
develop a financially sound strategic plan for the next decade based on an environmentally sound and
economically sustainable vision with broad public input.
Commissioners must be able to work together in order to move the Port forward. As your
Commissioner, I will work to make the deliberations of the Port Commission productive and civil, even when
individual commissioners don’t completely agree.
The Port of Olympia serves its community best when it collaborates with other governments
and agencies to achieve our common goals. As your Commissioner, I will make sure that the Port is an active
participant when our communities address important issues.
The Triad Theater seems to be leaving the historic Wolf Building:
On Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019, Yelm Council member Terry Kaminski reported to the mayor pro tem, city council and the public that The Triad Theater’s lease in the Wolf Building ends in November and she hoped they find a new home in Yelm citing, “It would be horrible if we could not have our live theater.” Click here, begin video at 1:20 for Councilor Kaminski’s comments.
Requesting a comment, I reached out last week to The Triad Theater’s director and city council Position 2 candidate Cameron “Calamity” Jayne [her name as listed in the Thurston County Voter’s Pamphlet]. To date she has not replied, though has responded on her candidacy issues.
Wolf Building owner, Steve Craig, confirmed to the Yelm Community Blog that he received a letter in early September from theater director Cameron Jayne that said the Wolf Building lease would not be renewed at the end of November 2019, and The Triad would be vacating the premises.
I also contacted the Standing Room Only (SRO) Theater Company who has an agreement with The Triad to have their performances in the building. SRO’s Daniel Wyman promptly responded this statement, “We are incredibly grateful to the Triad Theater for the support we have received over the last few years. Our next full-length production is Calendar Girls in March of 2020, and we are fully committed to producing it–along with many after–regardless of the venue in which we perform, so we hope our audiences will rest assured that the show absolutely will go on.”
The Yelm Community Blog looks forward to the show going on with Yelm’s live community theater robustly continuing into the future.
“Sen. Mitch McConnell on impeachment: 1998 vs. 2019”
“In a 1998 interview, now Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was “shocked” by how partisan the impeachment process was, saying that congress had a constitutional duty. In 2019, McConnell is calling the impeachment inquiry into Pres. Trump a Democratic “obsession,” by MSNBC. Read more
“‘Extremely Dangerous’: Trump Tweet Calling Impeachment Inquiry a ‘Coup’ Heightens Fears of Refusal to Leave Office”
“The orderly transfer of power in the United States has always depended on the active cooperation of the outgoing president. What happens if that cooperation is not forthcoming?” by Jake Johnson, Common Dreams. Read more
“Federal government has dramatically expanded exposure to risky mortgages”
“Republican Party needs to ‘get a grip on itself,’ says former Secretary of State Colin Powell”
“The retired Army general stressed the need for members of the Republican Party to “get a grip” and speak out with regards to President Trump’s impeachment inquiry,” by CNN. Read more
“Where Trump’s conspiracy theories come from”
” Where Trump’s conspiracy theories come from The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer tells Chris Hayes about the right-wing ecosystem that creates scandals — and might well inadvertently bring down a president,” quoting All In, MSNBC. Read more
“Paul Krugman: Here comes the Trump slump”
“Now it’s starting to look as if Trump really will achieve something unique: He may well be the first president of modern times to preside over a slump that can be directly attributed to his own policies, rather than bad luck,” By Paul Krugman, The New York Times. Read more
“Dominion buys pipeline support at Supreme Court through GOP Attorneys General”
“With a key Atlantic Coast Pipeline appeal before the Supreme Court, US Attorney General Barr and Republican state Attorneys General have intervened in Dominion’s favor – while sharing close financial ties to the utility,” by Energy and Policy Institute. Read more
“Fired EPA scientists to release air pollution report they say agency unqualified to issue”
“‘In the history of the agency this has never happened. The new panel is unqualified and the new panel has said they were unqualified,’ said a former EPA official,” by Phil McCausland, NBC News. Read more
“Trump’s Syria decision divides white evangelicals as impeachment pressure builds”
“After Trump announced he was unilaterally pulling U.S. troops out of northern Syria, a potential crack appeared in Trump’s evangelical foundation. Here’s why.”
“‘President Trump has committed an egregious act of betrayal,’ conservative Christian radio host Erick Erickson tweeted,” by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Author, “Reconstructing the Gospel: Finding Freedom From Slaveholder Religion.” Read more
“We’re not the Saudis’ mercenaries”
“Robert Gates, the former defence secretary, once scoffed that Saudi Arabia ‘wants to fight the Iranians to the last American.’
“The danger is that we slip toward that nightmare. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that Iran has committed an “act of war” by attacking Saudi oil processing centres. Influential hawks like Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., have suggested carrying out strikes on Iranian oil refineries,” by Nicholas Kristoff. Read more
“Law classmates tell Trump lawyer Cipollone he distorts Constitution by blocking impeachment witnesses”
“Law classmates of White House Counsel Pat Cipollone sent him a letter on Thursday [Oct. 10], claiming his decision to block material and witnesses from the House impeachment inquiry ‘distorts the law and the Constitution,’ according to a copy of the letter obtained by NBC News.
“We are sorry to see how your letter to the congressional leadership flouts the traditions of rigor and intellectual honesty that we learned together,” said the letter from members of the class of 1991 at the University of Chicago Law School, by Julia Ainsley, NBC News. Read more
Click here for the copy of the letter obtained by NBC News.
Your seasonal resource for local produce and products. Read more
“2019 Market Financials”
“Commitment To Transparency”
“Bounty For Families [non-profit organization under which the Yelm Farmers Market operates] is committed to our donors, sponsors and the community to streamline our operations to provide instant access to our financial data. Here you will find the data from our 2019 Master Spreadsheet published in real time.” Read more