LETTER: Since Comments Aren’t Allowed in Study Sessions, Here’s a Letter…

Dear SeaTac City Council,

As you well know, I was in attendance at the Study Session and Council Meeting and commented during the RCM (Regular Council Meeting) as allowed on 02/12/13 since no comments are allowed during the alleged “study” session. I will approach the issues in the order that hopefully makes sense to you. I apologize in advance for this being so long and still not covering everything.

Item 1: Rules for Park N Fly operations in the City of SeaTac

My public comments Tuesday regarding the total disregard of the Council (4 members) for their own Advisory Committees, Planning Commission, and Planning Staff efforts needs further expansion. In your decision in the Study Session prior, the Council (4-3) killed the proposed rule changes (that actually were a return to previous rules) in a spate of economic naivety and especially the references (by un-elected Mayor Anderson) to non-documented testimony whereas the facts of the matters were discussed in detail over a three year period in the Committees/Commission/Planning by those who have the expertise to make these assessments/policy advisements to the Council.

The vote of 4 to 3 to defeat even further discussion of these rules alone adds an additional burden to those who wish to do business within our City, sends a negative message to potential development of any kind and to the advisory committees that they will be ignored on an uneducated whim of some Council members with blinders on that there is an airport within our jurisdiction.

The Sea-Tac Airport (Port of Seattle) is obviously within the City limits and is in direct competition with private parking enterprises within our City. The Port has openly opposed any rules that compete with them in a free market. They do not have to meet SeaTac codes in these endeavors (as can be seen by their own construction). Un-elected Mayor Anderson works for the Port in a managerial position and should by logical inference recuse himself from any such matters regarding airport parking but he has not. I will not speculate on why he has not in this case but he has recused himself on other Port/City of SeaTac matters of much less significance.

The significance of the parking matter is to the tune of 5 to 6 million dollars annually that make up ~20 percent of our general fund. The City of SeaTac does not have a Business and Occupation Tax nor a Utility Tax (though being contemplated to pay for salaries) yet businesses are pushed away and the jobs/economic development have gone elsewhere because of regressive policies/beliefs by some current and past Council members.

There is a strange irony here. Three of our four current Council members in 2011 rode in on a wave of money that dwarfed all previous SeaTac elections from labor groups and other like supporters. They seem to be shooting their supporters in the head when these member’s voting/policies have EXACTLY the opposite effect of providing good jobs, good wages, and economic development. The parking issue is just one of these, perhaps the largest. I will go into detail of others in future commentaries, time permitting.

In an unexpected development in the Council meeting, Council member Rick Forshler (in new business) requested a re-vote on the parking rules honoring the 3 years of work by all parties. This was a second chance for some members to pull their head out of a place it shouldn’t be. This again fell by a vote of 4 to 3 (same members). When I cannot draw a logical conclusion for a particular
stance/vote by someone I must go to the old adage of “follow the money” and it is the only inference I can draw from this fiasco.  This majority decision by certain Council members has been publicly called a mistake, shameful, political, and some other words I will not repeat.

In summary, on this issue, SeaTac City Council please reconsider you votes and revisit the facts of the matter!

Item 2: (bet you thought I would never get to it) Council Committees versus Study Sessions

Council Member Fernald again brought up this item however, this time in new business in Tuesday night’s RCM.  Ms Fernald has been advocating for a return to the standing Council Committee format versus the Study Session format. At first I narrowly supported the Study Session format because of expedience (not the changes to the RCM format). After a year of the Study Session format Ms. Fernald is right and I was completely wrong plain and simple.

It has become glaringly apparent the format was changed to limit Public input/participation and to move private agendas forward to the RCM, withhold dissenting discussion (such as the Parking issue), and to place un-elected Mayor Anderson (and cohort Deputy Mayor Gregerson in his absence) in charge of setting ALL agendas/discussions. Perhaps with other leaders this could have worked who shared and valued their other Council member’s opinions. It is now obvious expedience was not the reason for the change/s but sheer arrogance in who knows best at all times. Un-elected Mayor Anderson doesn’t even think other Council members know the words to the Pledge of Allegiance and will not even delegate the leading of attendees of the meetings in that little item.

Further, Council member Fernald brought up that the change to the Study Session format allowed City Manager Mr. Cutts to give an individual a $17K annual raise without Council oversight. The oversight used to be the Council Administration and Finance Committee. With the committee/s eliminated Mr. Cutts used that opportunity to do what I feel was illegal or at a minimum in poor judgment. I’m sure that story is not over.

It at least one respite, Council Member Ladenburg recognized that having Public Comment on the Consent Agenda is useless (my words, not his) and may be better placed in Action Items, New Business, and/or Unfinished Business when the Council is not in unanimous agreement. THIS is where Public Comment has meaning/impact. This will be discussed at the Council retreat and would mean a change to the new Council procedures orchestrated by un-elected mayor Anderson that also eliminated the Council Committees.

Sorry, but this is all I have time for this week. See you all at the next meetings and thank you for your service to our City.

Earl Gipson

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16 Responses to “LETTER: Since Comments Aren’t Allowed in Study Sessions, Here’s a Letter…”
  1. Dear Citizens of SeaTac,

    Its time for a Recall Election 2013, to take SeaTac back from Tony “Vladimir Putin” Anderson, Mia “Brain Dead” Gregerson, Dave “Mommas Boy” Bush, and Barry “Circus Clown” Ladenburg. Citizens will be knocking on your door asking for signatures to support this recall election. After reading Mr. Gipson regular updates of where the city is headed something needs to be done now to stop the end of SeaTac demise.

    Well your at it KC Council member the dishonorable Julia Patterson is up for election in 2013. She is the one on all committees helping destroy your city also.

    Take SeaTac Back!

  2. Outside Observer says:

    Mr. Kovacs,

    I wish you luck with your petition, although I’d like to point out that publicly belittling your opponents at every turn has not been a winning strategy for you in your previous campaigns. I am wondering if you might want to try a different approach this time around. Just a thought. I had wondered if you were turning over a new leaf when you let your website’s domain name expire a few days ago. I guess not….

    I’d actually like to address some oversights in the points Mr. Gipson made in his letter here, but that’s going to have to wait until I have a little more free time at my disposal. Until then, I wish you well, Mr. Kovacs.

  3. EthicsHound says:

    The King County Superior Court would have to find grounds for a recall before an election could be held. It is not just a matter of gathering signatures. The courts have historically set a very high bar….tending to usually err on the side of respecting the will of the voters. Just because a sore campaign loser (shockingly) disagrees with decisions of the elected officials chosen by the voters doesn’t mean that a court is going to authorize a recall election. But, if you think it is a good use of your time, by all means go door-to-door gathering signatures. This time next year, there will be a councilmember removed from office by voters– and that is right-wing extremist Rick Forschler– who is WAY out of step politically in this progressive city– and will need to face the music in November.

    • Aileen Fisher says:

      OUCH! Progressive, Socialist, Communist: there is very little difference between the three. There are those that believe that the Progressive movement leads to Socialism,which leads to Communism. 99% of these people have never owned a business or battled ridiculous regulations to survive, so it goes without saying that they categorize progressive movements, socialism, and communism as a series of steps. Where they are absolutely wrong is that there is not enough difference to define the steps leading to Communism. Being an Army brat, and being married to a Navy Master Chief for many years, where both my father and my husband served almost 60 years collectively to combat communism, If it quacks, folks, it’s a duck! It is unbelievable that someone would proudly admit that SeaTac is a progressive city, even though, unfortunately, it is true!

      EthicsHound, you must be a close friend of Outside Observer, and we all know who that is!

      Aileen Fisher
      A Future Ex-Pat of SeaTac

  4. Outside Observer says:

    Mrs. Fisher,

    I can tell you quite honestly that I have no idea who EthicsHound is. Since my identity is apparently common knowledge, why don’t you reveal it publicly right now so I don’t have to bother with the pseudonym anymore?

    I disagree with EthicsHound about Councilmember Forschler. I don’t always agree with the councilmember’s viewpoints or decisions, but I certainly respect him as a person and respect his worldview; I even agree with him on many things when I listen to the ideas he puts forth at meetings–more things than you would expect, given the caricature you seem to have created of me. I like that he is a respectable person and is generally respectful of his peers on the council, even in disagreement. He even went as far as to mention his admiration of Mayor Tony Anderson’s actions at the YMCA, words I highly doubt I would hear out of the mouths of Mr. Gipson, Mr. Kovacs, or even you yourself, Mrs. Fisher.

    EthicsHound is correct, though, in that a successful recall is very difficult to accomplish; ask the citizens of Pacific, who are trying to recall their ELECTED mayor, who nearly (and may yet) cause the century-plus old city to dis-incorporate and be annexed piecemeal by surrounding cities. They have run into nothing but legal hurdles and will be lucky if they can get a recall approved before their mayor is up for reelection in a couple years.

    Finally, having military in your family does not make you better than everyone else. I, too, have military and businessmen in my family, and while I know quite well the sacrifices they have made and hardships they have faced and red tape they have endured, they and I seem to manage to hold different points of view than you do, all without the hate, bitterness, and derision that you seem find necessary.

    The fact that I don’t agree with you does not make me a communist, a fascist, or a terrorist; it makes me another American citizen who like you is exercising its right to be heard.

    Have a pleasant evening, Mrs. Fisher.

    • Aileen Fisher says:

      Outside Observer, it is not up to me to publicly reveal who you are … you should do that yourself, rather than hiding behind a pseudonym. You obviously missed the entire point of my comment. I do not think I am better than anyone else because I have military in my family. I am humbled by that gift. I am surprised that you label my view of progressives, socialists, and communists as hate bitterness, and derision. Or maybe I shouldn’t be too surprised. I am saddened to see SeaTac become progressive, socialist, and communist. That is my opinion, and I think we can still express our opinion in this country, and should without fear of reprisal.

      Stating that the city of SeaTac is a Progressive city is not something that the majority of the citizens really want. Those of us that have really studied history understand that progressive is one baby step away from Socialism (where the belief is to take the majority of everything away from those who have worked so hard all of their lives and spread it out between all citizens). If you had read Karl Marx, you would realize that there is very little difference between Socialism and Communism. SInce you have lived in France, you should realize this.

      You have a good evening as well, OO..

      Aileen Fisher (yes, my real name)

      • Outside Observer says:

        Mrs. Fisher,

        No, I have not lived in France; I’m not sure what would make you say that. In any case, I won’t argue the difference between Socialism and Communism because while like you I’m familiar with the ideas and philosophies of Karl Marx, I’m no scholar on the ins and outs of Marxism. I agree that it is a bad thing when the state has control over wealth and the means of production, and that private enterprise and innovation is an indispensable part of what makes America great. I think we can at least find common ground on that.

        So to your point:

        I do not see Progressivism as either Socialism or Communism. Progressivism in America was born of the need to weed out corruption in government in a time at the turn of the 20th century when local and state elections were determined by corrupt party bosses. The term “smoke-filled room” came from that era for a good reason. I know that some would argue that little has changed, but I choose to be less cynical.

        Progressivism was born of opposition to the idea of monopolies and businesses becoming “too big to fail” — of the idea that competition is essential to the success of capitalism and the health of the free market — the idea that regulation is at times necessary to prevent large corporations from abusing their power, but NOT that corporations should be taken over and run by the government. Regulation is not communist; it’s required to maintain a healthy capitalist economy.

        It is not socialist or communist to believe that 10-year-olds should not be working 12 hour shifts in an unsafe factory with no breaks in order to support their family, all of whom work the same shifts at the same factory in order to have a roof over their heads and food on their table. That is a primary reason America does not look like China…that and the fact that Progressivism was also the root of environmentalism. No, not the everyone-needs-to-use-only-one-sheet-of-toilet-paper environmentalism, the let’s-not-have-our-rivers-catch-fire-or-breathe-in-a-pound-of-soot-like-in-Beijing environmentalism.

        Progressivism was also born of a cry for efficiency in government; not the idea that government ought to be as non-existent as possible, but that government should not waste, and that government should serve its purposes both honestly and reliably.

        Progressivism is born of the idea that we need to live and govern responsibly; that we should be good stewards of our resources and not wasteful; that we should be wary when power gets concentrated in the hands of the few, rather than being derived from the will of the people. That is not communist, Mrs. Fisher; in my view, that is American, and I think that IS what most citizens in this area want.

        Have a pleasant evening.

    • Michael T Kovacs says:

      Deb Anderson

  5. Aileen Fisher says:

    One more comment: Please see what was printed about SeaTac in the 2011 Election Progressive Donor’s Guide (what more needs to be said?):

    SEATAC CITY COUNCIL: A progressive slate versus a Tea Party slate
    Seatac is a divided city. Thousands of low-wage workers – many of them recent
    immigrants – are struggling to find good paying jobs at the Port and in the hospitality
    industry. The Port is a major economic driver, but currently many of the jobs are
    low-wage and low-benefits, with little access for Somali and other immigrant workers.
    Conservatives have built a backlash against social services and are running a slate of
    right-wing candidates beholden to powerful hotel and development interests. Progressives
    – including SEIU, the King County Labor Council, and Washington Conservation
    Voters – are backing a progressive slate of pro-union, pro-social service, pro-environment
    candidates who could be a strong voice for progressive policies not just in Seatac
    but at the Port, impacting tens of thousands of jobs and the environment.
    The progressive candidates are:
    …. Mia Gregerson
    …. Dave Bush
    …. Barry Ladenburg
    How to Contribute: SeaTac
    The most efficient way to contribute in these races is to give to Fuse Votes, which
    will then support the progressive slate of candidates both through direct contributions
    and independent expenditure efforts with partners.
    Fuse Votes: SeaTac City Council Races
    1402 Third Ave, Suite 310, Seattle, WA 98101

  6. Mike Condon says:

    Missed you Deb.

  7. Outside Observer says:

    Who knows by now, Mr. Kovacs. Over the past two years people here have claimed I’m so many people, I must be half of SeaTac by now. Ironically, as we’ve been through many times (sorry, I forgot: some of those were with Gort the Robot and Concerned Business), I live in Kent. I know how much you folks love conspiracies, though.