New Mayor Tony Anderson Wastes No Time in Setting New Tone For City Government


by Greg Wright

The January 10 Regular City Council Meeting signaled the end of one era and the beginning of a new one as the newly-constituted City Council appointed incumbent member Tony Anderson as Mayor and controversially re-elected member Mia Gregerson as Deputy Mayor.

Two outgoing Council members, Ralph Shape and Gene Fisher, had both served as Deputy Mayor and Mayor during their tenures, and former Mayor Terry Anderson failed to win reappointment in a 3-4 roll call vote along partisan lines.  Terry Anderson was also denied appointment as Deputy Mayor by the same vote, with Tony Anderson, Mia Gregerson, Dave Bush, and Barry Ladenburg taking the majority in both instances.  (See video below for the swearing in of Anderson, Gregerson, Bush, and Ladenburg.)

The same majority won out in roll call votes in  Tony Anderson’s and Gregerson’s appointments.  (Also see below for a video of the roll call vote appointing Mia Gregerson.)

With Mayor Tony Anderson taking a strong and swiftly efficient lead on Agenda Bills replacing Council Committees with joint Study Sessions and establishing a permanent Community Building Committee with Mayoral appointments, city government has shifted overnight from a folksy and loosely-run small-town feel to a tightly-orchestrated and hyper-efficient big-city approach.

In what seems to fly in the face of opposition to the Strong Mayor form of government, actions at Tuesday night’s meeting establish Tony Anderson as perhaps the strongest Mayor in SeaTac’s history, presiding not only over Regular and Special City Council Meetings but also all City Council business.  The newly established Study Sessions, held twice monthly on the same days as Council meetings, eliminate the chairmanships of the now-defunct various Council Committees.  The move, resulting from an Agenda Bill sponsored by Tony Anderson, will no doubt improve the efficiency of moving agenda items through the political process, but it also weakens the voice of Council minority members Rick Forschler, Pam Fernald, and now ex-Mayor Terry Anderson.

Further, the Study Sessions also make no provision for citizen input, making public comment prior to Council vote on Agenda Bills largely moot in the face of what will most often be rubber-stamp votes by the Mayor-led majority.

Proposed amendments to both Agenda Bills by Forschler and Fernald were voted down by the Mayor-led majority.

The newly-created Community Building Committee seemingly takes on a new level of importance in the face of a disenfranchised minority opinion and short-circuited public input to the committee process.

The meeting was opened by a presentation of the colors by SeaTac fine Police and Fire Explorers (see below for video).

See the details of Agenda Bills 3396 and 3373 here, pages 9-22.

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The Presentation of Colors

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Council Members Sworn In

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 Roll Call Vote


Comments

21 Responses to “New Mayor Tony Anderson Wastes No Time in Setting New Tone For City Government”
  1. Ron Bensley, Jr. says:

    Councilmember Terry Anderson indicated to the Council, both at the beginning of the meeting and again during the Council’s discussion of Agenda Bill 3396, that she had recently sustained personal injuries from an unfortunate trip-and-fall accident. She left the meeting shortly after her second set of remarks, and ended up missing several votes.

    I hope others will join me in wishing Terry a speedy recovery from those injuries.

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    • Outside Observer says:

      I finally saw a snippet of the video on SeaTV this morning and saw Terri Anderson. I echo Mr. Bensley’s concern and also wish her a speedy recovery.

      If Mr. Kovacs is reading…I saw the recent updates to your website this morning as well, and while I commend your multiculturalism, I assure you I am not descended from canines. Again I implore you to engage in a positive discussion about the future of SeaTac rather than commit yourself to tearing down those who disagree with your viewpoints.

      Have a nice day, sir.

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      • Greg Wright says:

        I really had to work hard to oblige Ms. Anderson’s request that photos of her not be taken Tuesday night. She has been such a big part of SeaTac’s story, it’s hard not to feature her!

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  2. Kathleen Brave says:

    A sad night at SeaTac city hall last night. We said goodby to two good men who have done a lot for our city but were vilified and slandered in the recent election. Many of us were there only to say goodby and thanks to Gene and Ralph. We certainly were not there to welcome the two new members and one re-elected member who bought and paid for this election.
    Our city will now be run by Angle Lake, that’s a shame. And, no, the lakers are not smarter than we are, just richer and can afford to buy an election.
    When I moved to McMicken Heights 40 years ago, it was a nice little area. We also had the best school district in the state. No longer is SeaTac a nice area in which to live but our school district is at the bottom of the heap. And, yes, I would move but my house is now worth 1/2 of what it was just 2 years ago. I wonder why? Maybe because our city has become a not nice place to live and has gone down hill faster than I can keep up with.
    As stated at the meeting last night, voter registration as dropped 25% because of the people who are not eligible to vote and those who simply don’t care about our town.
    I left after the coffee, cake and chat with some of those attending. I had heard about, and now know for sure, what this new mayor (who should not be mayor) and deputy mayor are now doing to us. (Read it here). I can’t believe they can get by with all of this but unfortunately the people of this city have let it happen. We tried to be able to vote for a mayor and that didn’t pass. Why people would think that NOT being able to vote as being a good thing?
    I am saddened at all of this. Extremely concerned what all of this will mean and can’t see that it will be of any good.
    Respectfully,
    Kathie Brave
    40 year resident of McMicken Heights

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    • Outside Observer says:

      Mrs. Brave,

      I don’t deny that SeaTac has changed a lot over the past 40 years…but you have to realize that so has the rest of the state. 40 years ago, the number of people living in the SeaTac area was roughly half of what it is today. 40 years ago, the state’s population was roughly half of what it is now. Those people had to go somewhere, and that meant things were likely to change.

      Nor is SeaTac alone in it’s housing slump. Home prices in SeaTac have dropped roughly 40% since the peak of the market a few years ago, but they have also dropped by roughly 40% in Kent, Renton, Federal Way, Des Moines, Tukwila, and many other surrounding communities. My own house has dropped more than 15% in value just in the past two years. Unless you are going to compare SeaTac to places like Bellevue or Issaquah (who have only seen their home prices drop 30% since 2006/7), SeaTac is not unique among its neighbors in it’s current situation; nor is it suffering particularly badly when you compare it to places in the southwest like Las Vegas, where homes have lost two-thirds or more of their value over the past few years.

      I actually almost bought a house in McMicken Heights off of 172nd Street a couple years ago when I was looking to purchase a home. I got all my financing together, but got outbid by another buyer and ended up moving to another city closer to where I work. I’m happy where I am now, but I would have been happy in McMicken, too. No, SeaTac isn’t Bellevue, and it hasn’t been for a long time…but it doesn’t have to be Medina to be a nice place to live.

      Yes, voter registration is down since 2001, when the number of registered voters in SeaTac hit its peak. What the speaker at the council meeting neglected to mention is that a comparatively small number of those voters actually voted. In 2001, when there were 13,000+ registered voters in SeaTac, the voter turnout was only 33%. Hundreds of more people actually voted in THIS November’s election than in that supposed heyday of public involvement in SeaTacten years ago…when there were 3000 more registered voters than there are today. In 2003, the voter turnout was a mere 29%, compared to the 50% turnout this year.

      Now how can that be? Why weren’t the 13,000+ registered voters exercising their right to vote? Were they more apathetic than today’s voters? In your words, did SeaTac residents simply not care about their town back in 2001?

      I mean no disrespect to you or others here, Mrs. Brave; I’m simply saying there’s much more to this story than meet’s the eye, and it doesn’t have anything to do with most of the claims being thrown about on this blog having to do with royalty and corruption.

      Have a nice evening, Mrs. Brave.

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  3. Jeff Bachman says:

    It was with a heavy heart that I watched the video of the January 10th Council meeting AKA the coronation of Prince Tony and Princess Mia as Queen Julia watched from the audience. Her mission is complete and now she has total control of the city of SeaTac through her minions, Prince Tony and Princess Mia. Vicki Lockwood was spot on with her plea to Mr. Anderson and the council to think of the city’s and citizens’ best interests, asking them not to vote him in as Mayor, thereby serving two masters, due to his employment with the Port of Seattle. Her plea, of course, fell on deaf ears. Actually, Ms. Lockwood, he does only serve one master … the Queen. Our city is gone. With the termination of the committees and the 4 votes on the council, we are facing a dictatorship. And Mrs. Brave is correct. We would all move except for the decrease in property values … and we all know who played a huge part in that!

    Jeff Bachman

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    • Inside-Out Observer says:

      Mr. Bachman,
      You are so right! SeaTac now has it’s royalty, and JP reigns! I have a plan. SeaTac should make residency in it’s city a condition of employment as a City employee. This would create a huge influx of outsiders living off of our dime having to move to SeaTac. In addition, all members of the Royal Family (including extended family) should be required to live within SeaTac, too. We could sell our houses to these overpaid folks and Royal relatives and let them live in the mess the Royalty has created. And the new council member/realtor could orchestrate the home sales at no charge to us fleeing the City since he and his cronies are so happy with the mess they have created. Bet it wouldn’t take a year for the Angle Lakers to secede from SeaTac and form their own city, because they certainly don’t want to have to live amid the mess. They remain on the perimeter, off stage from the panhandlers, druggies, homeless, unemployed, illiterate, illegal, rude, non-contributing dumbos they’ve welcomed to your neighborhood and mine!

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  4. Jill-Chloe-Dexter says:

    What “mayor” Tony Anderson did was make damn sure no public comment will be heard. With him presiding not only over Regular and Special City Council Meetings but also all City Council business he has eliminated our voice. I think his “title” should be changed to “Dicktator”…mispelling intentional.

    JCD

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  5. So the tear down of small business in SeaTac Begins. Now our rights are being taken away by this Council and Mayor. As Newly elected Council Member Bush wants people not to mention City Employees by Name for not doing Their jobs he states this dose not go on in Public Business’s. Maybe he should read the business section in the papers our internet as this happens almost daily. If the City Manager Todd Cutts and his Community Development Lackey Cindy Baker were fully doing their jobs not just for Mr Bush’s Union Pals small Business’s in SeaTac would thrive.I would like to run for City Council but do not have $150,000.00 laying around to buy a Council Seat as I hear they go for at least $50,000.00. So the last small Business out of SeaTac please turnout the lights.

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    • Outside Observer says:

      Concerned Business,

      I’m curious: what specific policies do you believe the new council will enact that will be so detrimental to small businesses in SeaTac? What reason do you have to believe that they will do so?

      On a related note, what policies currently exist that you think the new council needs to change or address to make the climate for small business in SeaTac better?

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      • Concern Business says:

        This council will install A B&O Tax and utility tax that will further take money from small business that they need for their survival. New members of the council are already trying to censor small business by tell what theycan and cannot say, I thought we had freedom of Speech but Not in SeaTac with this council.

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        • Outside Observer says:

          Concern Business,

          Why do you think the council will implement a B&O tax? Granted I haven’t been following SeaTac politics for years like I’m sure many of the frequent commenters here have, but I’ve watched at least a dozen meetings now and haven’t seen anyone even hint at a B&O tax.

          If voter pamphlet statements are to be taken at face value, Barry Ladenburg stated in this statement that he thinks the city needs to do more for small businesses, which makes me think he would not support a B&O tax. Dave Bush mentioned in his statement how he has been a vice president of two businesses himself, which makes me think he wouldn’t be likely to support a B&O tax either. I don’t know where Tony Anderson or Mia Gregerson stand, but I think I can safely assume that Pam Fernald and Rick Forschler would not support a B&O tax either. I am unaware of Terry Anderson’s views on the matter, but it already looks to me like a majority of the council is likely to oppose a B&O tax if it is even proposed. Perhaps I’m just naive.

          Where did you hear that the new council was going to implement such a tax? Do you have reason to believe that I’m wrong about Barry Ladenburg’s intentions? Did Dave Bush come to your place of business and tell you that he was thinking of proposing such a measure? The only time I’ve heard the words “B&O tax” and “Utility Tax” uttered by a SeaTac councilmember was when Gene Fisher said he expected them to happen when he gave his farewell address during the closing comments at the council meeting back in December.

          Outside of then-Deputy Mayor Fisher’s comments, I see no reason to assume that such taxes are inevitable, but I am admittedly not as close to the action as you probably are. You obviously feel strongly that this is going to occur and I don’t want to simply dismiss your point of view. Perhaps if I knew what it is that convinced you so strongly, I would have a better idea of where you and others are coming from.

          Thank you for your understanding. I hope the power outages this week weren’t too hard on your business.

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  6. Earl Gipson says:

    In 2001 all of King County’s turnout was trending 33 to 40 percent. King County now has more registered voters overall while the City of SeaTac has fewer. Unfortunately in SeaTac many registered voters voted with their feet and left. I would expect more of the same should the area continue to decline and the Angle Lake centric Council members continue to live in a bubble of security while the rest of us witness the mess firsthand in the remainder of the City.

    It is a known trend that voter turnout increases with voter dissatisfaction. The slow but steady rise in turnout is a result of what people see as an overall deterioration in the County with South King County leading the way. With the voters actually abandoning the City of SeaTac even with the higher turnouts it is not enough yet to over come the entrenched philosophy that is slowly dragging SeaTac and the County down.

    The 19 percent quoted at the SeaTac Council meeting was the decline in real estate for 2010 only. The overall decline since the “housing bubble” is far greater and Southwest King County still leads the way in the total percentage decline.

    The SeaTac Council member who stated all the “other” reasons (mainly noise) for the SeaTac decline is a Real Estate Agent and to say anything else would be not be very business savvy now would it?

    As with most addicts, whether addicted to drugs/alcohol/social programs/power the first step is to recognize you have a problem. Our City of SeaTac and County leaders have not taken that first step and continue their addictions at the expense of the Citizens. Do we HAVE to hit rock bottom before we turn things around and take that first step? I hope not.

    The Cactus

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  7. Outside Observer says:

    Mr. Gipson,

    So according to you, the more people that are REGISTERED to vote, the better, but it’s a sign of bad things if they actually vote. I don’t buy that 100%, but I’ll agree to disagree.

    For interest’s sake, SeaTac in this past election had the highest number of registered voters since the 2003 election, and voter registration has seen a steady increase in SeaTac since it’s low point in 2007. Based on that, it seems to me that your statement that voters are abandoning SeaTac is not supported for at least the past five years.

    Also, I am curious where the data for the 19% drop in housing prices during 2010 came from. I looked up prices on Zillow.com (I admit it’s not a perfect source, but it’s one that’s readily available) and the highest drop in 2010 for a city in southwest King County that I could find was16% in Tukwila. SeaTac’s drop in housing prices was about 13.3% according to Zillow’s data. I’m not denying your numbers, but if you’re willing to share your source, I would like to know where your statistics came from so I can look at the data myself.

    Thank you.

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  8. Ron Bensley, Jr. says:

    Agenda Bill 3400, which is on tomorrow’s agenda for the Council Study Session, will change the Public Comment component of Regular Council Meetings, and make other modifications regarding Council meetings.

    I encourage those who are interested in this topic to read Agenda Bill 3400 in the current Council meeting packet.

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  9. Jill-Chloe-Dexter says:

    At last nights city council meeting, Mr. Bush made some comments about our schools..

    He said thata lot people say a lot of bad things about our schools and that he has worked in our schools for over 15 years…..Coincidence?

    He also made the comment…I know we have problems in our schools BECAUSE OF THE DIVERSITY AND LANGUAGE PROBLEMS…Sounds to me like Bush is equating Diversity with Problems?

    Dave Bush is a tool.

    JCD

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  10. Janice Taylor says:

    I spoke at Council last night, on their effort to reduce citizen input and on medical marijuana. Here’s the text of the e-mail I sent them today regarding the MMJ issue:

    “Last night’s council meeting certainly was an eye-opener for me. I spoke to you regarding the moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries.

    “I must say I am utterly appalled at your city-wide ignorance of the MMJ laws, procedures and processes. How do you have the audacity to make any decision on a subject of which you have no knowledge? More appalling to me was the fact your city attorney also was clueless. I understand your only concern was covering your proverbial posteriors in the event of a dispute, but ignorance is hardly an appropriate cover-up. According to the city web site, the legal department employs seven people. Just what do they do in the course of a day? I’ve attached a link to the law to make it easier for them:

    http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=69.51A&full=true

    “Concerning this issue, obviously no one thought to research the state law six months ago when Ms. Gregerson remarked you had a “robust” discussion. Just what did you discuss? Dirty hippies and stoned slackers? Knowing the issue was up for review in six months, still no one felt a need to educate him/herself. Perhaps you thought the issue would just go away. And to further underscore your own cluelessness, no one thought to research what avenues surrounding cities such as Seattle were pursuing to remediate the governor’s reaction for the good of those dependent on the dispensaries. Was this again ignorance, or arrogance?

    “While your lack of knowledge stunned me, what really angered me was Mr. Anderson’s blatant refusal to recognize me and allow me to answer some of the questions you all had. To paraphrase one of last night’s citizen speakers, you, Mr. Anderson, were not only not the smartest person in the room, but at that point in time, you were the most inflexible and pompous. If you so disregard other people’s knowledge, I suggest you strive to increase you own.

    “Also, I found it incredibly disrespectful to my self, my late husband and every user of MMJ past and present when you voiced your “compassion” for their plight. Cow puckies! Your words were hollow vocalizations trying to make yourselves look better. Your ignorance of the issue proves how much you truly care about it or the people it affects. Shame on you.

    “Over the years, I have come not to expect too much from government regarding the will, health and welfare of the people. You all managed to lower my expectations further. If you have so little disregard for facts and information when deciding on a course of action, how can you be respected to govern SeaTac on any level?”

    We need more people attending council meetings!

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    • Pam F. says:

      Dear Ms. Taylor,

      I am very sorry that you feel let down by your council. I try very hard to research all issues on which I need to vote.

      After thinking about it, though I am not against the use of medical marijuana, my concern was more for city staff and repercussions they might have because of the ‘gray areas’ in the laws.

      As a council member, there are bound to be votes in your career on which you would like a ‘do over.’ I thought I was acting in the best interest of the city of SeaTac, thinking that if there were other places to fill medical marijuana prescriptions that a patient could still have their medication.

      But now I am thinking that the federal gov. has wasted tons of money on the war on drugs–to no avail, imo. The feds do need to get their act together– in so many ways–because this issue is literally causing people pain …

      I do apologize that you were not allowed to speak and give answers to our questions to help further educate us. I hope you will attend future council meetings and that your opinion of our work will change.

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  11. Earl Gipson says:

    The issue of Medical Marijuana should not even be an issue. What kind of Country do we live in that denies its Citizen’s medication to mitigate a condition and relieve suffering? There is no doubt marijuana has medicinal benefits and therefore should be and can be dispensed as such at the very least. The provisions exist to do that right now.

    I understand that this puts public employees and the local police at odds with the Federal government but so what. Do you think this will stop people from obtaining marijuana another way as they watch their loved ones suffer with debilitating pain and nausea? What I would like to see is the public employees and their unions take a stand because they are Citizens too and may be watching their own family members suffer as we speak or will in the future. “I’m just doing my job” is not good enough here.

    Lets say prohibition was in effect during the Civil war. Would the field medics not administer alcohol as a painkiller to soldiers while they amputated a leg while they were still conscious? We eventually found the folly of prohibition but at what cost? The rise and bankrolling of organized crime, making criminals out of ordinary citizens, and a host of other ills that still plaque us. Must we learn the same lessons over and over?

    Marijuana does not frighten me or better yet I would rather take that than some of the prescribed/legal medicines already available. The advertised side effects of some of these currently legal drugs are appalling and yes there is even a couple that one of the side effects could be death. I can’t recall a side effect from medical marijuana that includes death yet the FDA stands around and lets the drug companies poison us with designer drugs that are sometimes engineered just to make a profit and does not even do what it was approved for. Only after people die do they react, pull a legal drug off the market, and/or place warnings on the packaging.

    The Federal government needs to back off or State and Local officials. Do not let their own continued idiocy affect another suffering person in our state/City or make criminals out of our public employees/officials for trying to ease that suffering.

    Thank you Janice Taylor for educating us even when the Ceremonial Mayor would not let you speak to the questions that arose. I got it and agree with you. I hope that none of my loved ones need marijuana in the future for a medical condition because I WILL obtain it for them even if the dispenser does not have on a pretty white coat behind a counter (who may also dispense drugs with lethal side affects).

    Not even “the Cactus” (as I am called) is that cold.

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  12. Alfred Johnson says:

    We have lived in Seatac for about 12 years, sure there are changes, most important to us is to be able to live in our home with out being priced out by the PRIVATE UTILITIES Companies! We have a real concern with the price of our utilities keep going up every month and every year with out a RATE increase being given to the Utility Company. The price of Gasoline which is out of CONTROL! the high charges that the Finanical Insitutions are putting on us! We have many families living in the area that is on fixed incomes and the working families that is trying to make end meet to just take care of their families.
    We as struggling families need the attention of our Council Members to be foused on the issues that is going to help the families standard of living and quiality of life.

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  13. Please go to http://www.takeseatacback.org to see the insurmountable road blocks with why you will never get help with your concerns Alfred.

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