LETTER: ‘In SeaTac Free Speech … Is Feared’

Hello Everyone,

In last night’s SeaTac Council meeting Agenda Bill #3400 (restricting the public’s input) passed with some modifications partially restoring Public comment during meetings.

With amendments put forth by Council Member Forshler some Public Comments were allowed/restored.

  1. The 3 minute individual speaking time and the 10 minute speaking time for groups of 4 or more was restored for Public Comments at the beginning of the Council Meetings. The vote was 6 to 1 with ceremonial Mayor Tony Anderson voting no (attended by phone last night).
  2. The comments at the end of the Consent Agenda were also restored to its previous time of 1 minute/2 minutes (individuals/group). The vote was 4 to 3 with Council members Forshler, Terry Anderson, Bush, and Fernald voting YES and Ceremonial Mayor Tony Anderson, Council members, Gregerson, and Ladenburg voting NO.

The chance for the Public to speak at unfinished business remains deleted. This was an important one that gave the public a chance to comment on what they had heard on things that were not unanimous in the Council Meeting. Also Public Comment at Study Sessions is not allowed. The Study Sessions are a consolidation by Tony Anderson of all previous Council Committee Meetings where the Public was allowed to speak on an ad hoc basis if the Chair of the Committee so recognized them. This was also important yet eliminated by Ceremonial Mayor Tony Anderson in Agenda Bill #3400. In essence Tony Anderson is now chair of all Council Committees and by his votes/actions would like to have NO public comment in meetings at all.

In other news from last night’s meeting Council Member Terry Anderson was removed from the Chair of the Hotel/Motel Tax Advisory committee with Tony Anderson and/or Mia Gregerson presiding over this committee. In her closing comments last night Council Member Terry Anderson thought this was a vindictive act by now ceremonial mayor Tony Anderson possibly in conjunction with Gregerson (my personal interpretation). Others share that opinion.

In summary Council Members Tony Anderson, Mia Gregerson, and Barry Ladenburg vehemently oppose the Public’s input/comments during Public meetings. Council Member Dave Bush was at least willing to comprise on the comments on the Consent Agenda comment period. Council Members Terry Anderson, Rick Forshler, and Pam Fernald remain SeaTac’s staunch supporters of the Citizen’s freedom of speech/public input.

Following is a poem I read at last night’s meeting regarding Agenda Bill #3400. As a courtesy I have copied the SeaTac City Council, City Manager, and City Attorney on this email (this time):

Thank you to all those who attended the meeting and please do not be discouraged by the actions of this “Angle Lake” Council to restrict your freedom of speech.

Things change. đŸ™‚

Earl (the Cactus)

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One Response to “LETTER: ‘In SeaTac Free Speech … Is Feared’”
  1. Ron Bensley, Jr. says:

    Earl raised important points for the public to consider.

    We need to encourage citizens-at-large to learn more about what is going in our local municipal government, and to give feedback directly to elected councilmembers about their concerns.

    In late 2009, the SeaTac City Council made a poorly-thought-through decision to pursue an “urban renewal” real estate redevelopment project in the “City Center” area with the use of eminent domain powers to seize property from existing property owners. It was only after receiving a great deal of critical public input, including use of the public comment period by a variety of individuals, that a few months later the Council withdrew from the eminent domain-fueled City Center project.

    Interestingly, at the September 22, 2009 Regular Council Meeting which had passed the agenda bill that incorporated the eminent domain invocation, the only member of the 7-member Council to vote No was our current Mayor, Tony Anderson (Terry Anderson was absent from that meeting and did not vote).

    My recollection of the events which transpired during that period are a key reason I strongly support open government here in the City of SeaTac.