- Editor’s note: Mayor JW Foster’s public denigration of the Homelessness Taskforce in last week’s Nisqually Valley News (NVN) has drawn stern rebukes from Taskforce councilors Carmody and DePinto, and rightly so.
- Foster’s comments were totally unnecessary and inflammatory to the Taskforce, who did extraordinary work for our community.
- The mayor’s public vindictiveness towards councilors sets a bad precedent!
- This blog has extensively covered Mayor Foster’s multiple end-runs around and condescending attitude toward the Yelm City Council, which caused a ruckus in this NVN excerpt by Eric Rosanne:
“Yelm Councilors Balk at Absence of Cost Estimates for Added Homelessness Services”
“Mayor JW Foster said its likely the seven [Homelessness Taskforce] recommendations that have been put forth to the council will be voted down or deferred into committees to be refined.”
“According to the ordinance that formed the task force in 2018, members appointed to the ad hoc group weren’t required to provide an itemized cost breakdown in the report.”
“Foster said a cost breakdown of the recommendations should still have been an assumed responsibility by members doing the work.
“Including that information would have helped city staff and council members weigh the return on investment and measure the impact from first glance, Foster said.”
“‘I volunteer for a lot of things. I don’t do them half-assed. I do them,’ he told the Nisqually Valley News.”
Click here for the full NVN story.
- Posted on Molly Carmody – Yelm City Council’s Facebook:
“Wow. Just wow. We sent cost estimates DIRECTLY to Foster’s staff and asked them to tell us how much each proposal would cost, for staff time and building use (because we didn’t have exact staff salaries at hand). They blew us off. Didn’t even bother to answer. Foster blew us off when we begged for help in negotiating the big meetings. They assigned a police officer as their “staff representative” when we had specifically asked for someone from Community Development, and then muzzled her so that she was only allowed to parrot Foster policy, instead of participating meaningfully in the discussions. We conducted an unprecedented series of talks in our community, proposed a package of solutions, all in a one-year time span, and are accused of “half-assing” it? FOR SHAME, Mr. Foster! You distanced yourself from this issue as much as possible in order to preserve your political reputation. Your community deserves better.” Read more from Councillor Carmody’s Facebook page.
- Excerpt Posted on Joe DePinto – Yelm City Council’s Facebook:
“I wanted to comment a bit on the NVN article regarding the homelessness taskforce which I co-chaired alongside CM Carmody.”
“There were some strong criticisms from the council and Mayor on the report and work done by the taskforce. Let me start by saying we did something that has never been done before in Yelm, having a council led taskforce. We ventured into new territory which not only the citizens of Yelm were keeping a close eye on, but also many communities around the Puget Sound who wanted to see how this taskforce unfolded and in particular the community reaction. Of course there was room for improvement and many lessons were learned during this process.”
“As for the Mayor and Council wanting more information in the report including financial projections and cost analyses, the taskforce met our obligations provided by the ordinance which was passed by council. I’m glad the NVN pointed out that financial projections were not in the ordinance. I was shocked and disappointed in our Mayor when told the NVN that the work done by the taskforce was “half assed”. Not only was that very disrespectful to the taskforce’s work but also the people who participated in the process by voicing their concerns at our open meetings on the homelessness. Plus it also sets a horrible example as a leader and ironically to the students he visited during kindness week only a week ago. It’s not becoming of a Mayor, imo.
Click here for Councilor DePinto’s full comment.