LETTER: ‘OMG! Citizens Have No Idea What They Are Missing’ at Council Meetings
Dear SeaTac City Council,
Having attended both the Study Session and Council Meetings yesterday I can say Oh My God (OMG)! SeaTac Citizens and businesses have no idea what they are missing by not attending these meetings live. Oh where oh where to begin?
Let’s start with Study Session Agenda Bills #3480 and #3481. This was to authorize the construction of, and the equipment for, a water spray area at Angle Lake Park. This project has been in the making and moving at the speed of light for 16 years now. SeaTac Park’s Director Kit Ledbetter’s enthusiasm was so overwhelming, as he spoke, I could just picture him jumping up and down in his own recycled water. SeaTac Citizen, Judy Williams at the Council Meeting logically pointed out (remember, no Citizen Talkie at the Study Sessions) that Angle Lake Park already had a water feature, the lake.
Moving on to study session’s Agenda Bill #3489. This bill was a renewal/extension of an agreement to grant developers an easement on Public Park Lands (Angle Lake Park entrance) for commercial use (new Hotel) in exchange for a 10′ path to nowhere on the lake front and some paltry cash payment to the City. Rewind to 2009 where this same agreement first reared its head and was heavily criticized then. Patricia Carter had collected almost 200 signatures in few days from the neighborhood opposing it. At the time Planning Director, Steve Butler, reported to the Council there was minimal opposition to the plan. Mr. Butler is no longer with the City and since this “fact reporting” to the Council was so consistent you could imagine many do not miss him. Continuing on, the developers of the proposed hotel were in the audience but with the newly muted public in “study sessions” (no studying appears to occur) they were not allowed to speak even if they wanted to.
But wait, there’s more! Much more. Next is Agenda Bill #3479 that revises Commercial Park ‘N’ Fly regulations in the City of SeaTac. This revision has also been moving at the speed of light. Three years of review, compromise, and approval by a ~ 10 member ad hoc committee made up of SeaTac businesses, Citizens, and Council members and a 5-0 Planning Commission voting in favor of the revised the rules yet four members of the Council (Ladenburg, Tony Anderson, Gregerson, and Bush) went where no logical person has gone before. The voted in the Study Session not to even move it to a regular Council meeting for discussion. Basically, these “maverick” Council members told the ad hoc committee, the Citizens and businesses of SeaTac, and the Planning Commission to stuff it. Un-elected Mayor Tony Anderson cited his “airport financial/economic advisors” at the Bow Lake Retirement Community during a pancake breakfast said they don’t like parking garages. I don’t either, but as long as its not on my lawn, by an airport, provides jobs and revenue to the City, and keeps my taxes lower my opposition kind of drops off.
Oh gosh I wish I was finished but no. Study Session presentation of justification for SeaTac non-represented employees by the Director of Human Resources who just got a 17K annual raise. That took guts (and our tax dollars). I am speechless here.
We are now finally getting to the Council Meeting itself. Public comment is allowed though very limited. Again thanking those same “maverick” Council members for changing the rules. Joining in all the fun I had my lovely wife accompany me on the violin while making my comments regarding Public Record Requests and the Council ignoring their advisory committees. That’s enough about me and the extremely consistent public comment on some Council member’s bad behavior by almost every Citizen that stands up and speaks.
The real fun happened at the end where most of the audience left and thought all the vital voting and discussion was over. The next half hour of Council Comments was truly priceless.
Un-Elected Mayor Tony Anderson in a memo unilaterally cancels the March 12 Council meeting citing there will be no critical Agenda items and he and Council member Gregerson will be in DC and attending a resume building conference (NLC). His powers of foreseeing the future are something to observe and while there will still be a quorum to hold a Council meeting with his and Gregerson’s absence we understand there will be this giant void of common sense available to those remaining Council members (that was a joke by the way).
Council Member rightly points out in her comment that unilaterally canceling a Council meeting goes against procedure (seriously, she really reads all this stuff-hats off to her!). Un-elected Mayor Anderson then defends himself saying that precedent has been set where the Mayor (whomever it was at the time) cancel led the 2nd Council meeting in August (vacations) and the 2nd meeting in December (Christmas). Wrong. This was done by consensus of the Council not someone who may not be even able to spell consensus.
At this point City Manager Todd Cutts ‘falls on his sword’ saying it was all his fault the memo was sent out and a misinterpretation by him. Nice try Mr. Cutts but I think more of you than that and by extrapolation I figure this was not your fault at all but thank you.
I really, really wish I was done but if you have hung in there this far please keep going. Next Tony Anderson asks for a vote/consensus to cancel the March 12 meeting. Consensus (all members agreeing) would have been fine even though it was in Council Comments. A VOTE with ANY member dissenting should be in New Business per Council procedures/parliamentary rules NOT in closing comments. Mr. Anderson is rumored to have some type of advanced degree, been on the Council for 6 years plus, and hopefully has read the rules by now. To him I say, stay by the phone. If your Alma Mata saw that they may want their degree back.
Ok now its time for insult to injury. Mr. Anderson suggests that all critical Agenda Bills (being able to see the future) be dealt with at the Council Retreat instead of the March 12 Council meeting. There are some teeny problems here. No Public Comment is allowed at Council Retreats, that Agenda is already full, and again we have procedural issues on so many levels its pathetic (equivalent to some Council members knowledge of their own rules). Council Member Gregerson now pipes up saying that Council Member Fernald is accusing Mr. Anderson and her (guilt by association I guess) of doing something sneaky. Shame on you Ms. Fernald for such suspicions. J Ms. Gregerson is ONLY under investigation for doing some “sneaky” things in a couple of elections by the PDC. I’m sure she will be completely exonerated because, by her emails, she says she has friends in high places.
Citizens of SeaTac, you have no idea how much fun you are missing! Hope to see you at the next Council Meeting. Don’t tell un-elected Mayor Tony Anderson you are coming. He may try to cancel it.
Thank you one and all.
– Earl Gipson
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