The Cactus Speaks: Airport Plan Loses Altitude, Questions Surprise Ballot Measure Salespersons, Running for Office-PDC. But Wait! There’s More!

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This column by Earl Gipson is a view of SeaTac city government. It does not necessarily reflect the views of The SeaTac Blog nor its staff. We are seeking additional regular columnists to reflect different opinions and views of SeaTac residents. Those interested can e-mail us at [email protected].]

by Earl Gipson

This is my commentary on March 24th’s SeaTac Council Meeting/Study Session. Please be patient. There are lots of things to cover so keep reading. Some are amusing, most are not. Would you rather laugh or cry? There is something for everyone here so scroll down if you get bored or tears start rolling for whatever reason.

Flying In To Bad Weather
In a “who knows what were they thinking” the Port of Seattle Airport Planners got hammered by SeaTac Citizens in Tuesday’s meeting. The SeaTac City Council decided to make the Port’s Sustainable Airport Plan Presentation part of the Regular Council Meeting’s agenda with Public Hearing and Comment rather than having the Port host a stand-alone meeting. This did not go well.

SeaTac Airport currently ranks 4th in enplanement density yet 82nd in the size of its geographic footprint. We will be off the charts with the expansion. The following data is from government websites.

  1. Atlanta (ATL) , GA 45 million enplanments on 4,700 Acres-9,640 per acre
  2. Los Angelos (LAX), CA 32 million enplanements on 3,500 Acres-9,265 per acre
  3. Las Vegas, (LAS), NV 20 million enplanements on 2,800 Acres-7,124 per acre
  4. Seattle (SEA), WA 16 million enplanements on 2,500 Acres-6,676 per acre

With the projected 32 million enplanements on our same 2,500 acres, SeaTac Airport would be 12,280 per acre. To bring our airport to the highest density that is in operation right now it would take 1,000 more acres or ~ 1.5 Square Miles in additional land (640 acres per square mile) and possibly a 4th runway. The proposed increase won’t fit as it stands on our current footprint …… or as I colorfully said in the meeting’s Public Comment “10 pounds of crap in a 5 pound bag.”

Thank you to Roger McKracken, Ray Overholt, Peter Kwon, Janice Taylor, Jen Scamen and mom and all the others that testified. It looks like time for another Regional Airport. From my time in the Air Force, jet fumes don’t bother me (hic) and I also “love the smell of Napalm in the morning” (Robert Duvall-Apocalypse Now-1979)

Special Election For Stuff The County Knew About Long Ago
In the Study Session the Council considered a resolution supporting the $240 million replacement of Emergency Radios that will be voted on in a King County Special Election on April 28th. The current vendor, Motorola stated it will not support the current system after 2017 and the new system will take 5 years to implement. Anyone see a gap there? The sales pitch was provided by PSERN (Puget Sound Emergency Radio Network).

Council Member Ladenburg asks a very poignant question (and don’t kill me, but I agree with him on this). He asked, in summary, “wasn’t there replacement funds built into the last levy 20 years ago to allow for this?” Quick answer there was but it was spent on replacement parts and maintenance and there is no such provision in the new contract. And now they are spending 1.8 million on the Special Election alone. The use of Public funds at it finest.

The PSERN sales people could not answer questions about interconnectivity with other State and Federal systems. The Council will vote on this Resolution at the next Council Meeting. I would suggest they just drop it and let the voters make up their own minds.

You would never guess who the vendor for the NEW system will be. Motorola!

Code Enforcement-Council/City Manager Continues Lip Service
In Public Comment, the complaints continued about lack of code enforcement and the Council continued to say it was their number one priority (besides wandering around the State/Country on our dime and creating new taxes).

The City Manager stated in his comments they are going to a “pro-active” approach to code compliance versus a complaint driven methodology which they have been using. Could have fooled me with so many unresolved complaints years old. Mr. Cutts doesn’t seem to know what complaint driven and pro-active even means.

Council Funds Council Member Campbell’s Travel to Salmon Recovery Conference-Salmon On My Plate Very Confused
Oblivious to any criticism about her travel expenses, Council Member Kathryn Campbell is off to the Salmon Recovery Conference on our dime in Vancouver. The salmon I just pulled from my drainage ditch could not be happier. Oh wait, that was a rat. There are no salmon in SeaTac.

Council Member Fernald had this travel item pulled from the Consent Agenda for discussion (a very convoluted one followed in unfinished business). In the end, the Council voted 4 to 3 to send her anyway with Bush, Fernald, Tony Anderson voting no (mumbling does not help so correct me if I’m wrong). Is everyone comfortable where your new 6.25 percent utility tax is going?

In another brave attempt (and still convoluted), Council Member Fernald tried to get all travel expenses approved in open Council as policy. Okay, I had to figure that out (and watch the video) because by the time the above crazy discussion was finally over I was wondering what the heck it was they were talking about. Proposal defeated 4 to 3 with Council Members Tony Anderson, Kathryn Campbell, un-elected Mayor Mia Gregerson, and Barry Ladenburg killing it.

Council Member Campbell later in Council Comments scolded the Public in the audience for being “restless.” Ya think? During this lecture, my mind wandered to the Wizard of Oz. What was it the Scarecrow wanted? A brain!

Run Forrest Run! Candidates and the PDC (Public Disclosure Commission)
Some candidates find PDC reporting daunting. It is a pain true, but complex it is not and let me help you. Download form C-1 and F-1 to start with. Don’t file these until you have committed to running by filing with King County (see previous column) but knowing what to expect is invaluable and there is no point in giving your opponents a heads up at this juncture. You have 2 weeks after you declare for office to file these forms.

Your bank may set up your campaign account requested on the C-1 for free. You DO NOT want to commingle campaign funds with your regular accounts. Initially you can name a trusted friend or relative as treasurer so you can concentrate on the campaign and not paperwork/cashing checks. You can change this later if need be.

You may also want to attend a class put on by the PDC for candidates and get the software for electronic filing (free). See Filer Resources

You will find the PDC staff friendly and accommodating. Ask them anything. They are a “tad” understaffed but they really work hard at preventing candidates from messing up in the first place.

Next column we can talk about money (how much things cost) and perhaps some strategies.


4 Responses to “The Cactus Speaks: Airport Plan Loses Altitude, Questions Surprise Ballot Measure Salespersons, Running for Office-PDC. But Wait! There’s More!”
  1. Melissa says:

    So Campbell can scold the public for whispering among each other while she’s spending my money on her salmon field trip? I think she better just sit there and mind her P’s and Q’s. MOST of the council isn’t listening to public comments anyways, and Gregerson is too worried about making sure that timer is set.

  2. Mike Condon says:

    Earl, as a concerned business owner in SeaTac. I tried to help Kathryn’s salmon trip, today when I went to pay my 600% increased business license at city hall. My $250.00 in change had $2.75 to much, when the finance person called me, I stated please give it to Kathryn so she can stop stealing the hard working people of SeaTac’s tax dollars for her vacations.
    She stated well I can’t do that!!! I said why not I am tired of seeing her rip of the people of SeaTac please give it to her, it could pay for a hot dog at the airport.
    But no luck, guess I will have to drive to city hall and pick it up.

  3. Dan Decker says:

    And this Little Piggy Went on Vacation, that would be me big toe?

    Understand the finance person could not give Kathryn the $2.75 because she was, “You Know Where.”

    I hear tell the SeaTac Air Port has an Under-Ground FEMA Re-Education Camp.
    I hear tell it will hold 250,000 people.
    I hear tell those that have complaints will see the light once they have been Re-Educated.
    Dan Decker

  4. Earl Gipson says:

    All PDC forms, requirements, etc can found under Filer Resources at: