[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
Changes are a com’in
Council Meetings 02/23/16 and A&F Committee 02/24/16
City Council welcomes new Airport Director Lance Lyttle, sort of
Prior to the update on the SAMP (Sustainable Airport Master Plan) by port executives the Council welcomed Mr. Little. In Public Comment, before he and Port officials spoke, they got an earful from the residents and then followed by the Council after the presentation.
Lopsided ILA agreements, increased traffic (without Impact Fees), noise, risks to SeaTac’s business community, and general bad behavior by the port over the years finally brings the Council and residents on the same page. I hope the Port understands that Community Outreach is not where only they get to talk.
The challenges the airport and our city face with the record growth will require everyone to be very creative in a limited amount of real estate. The SAMP plan Concept No. 4 (which the port favors) will have the largest and negative impact on the South 200th Street area where commercial development is planned around the new Light Rail Station (Angle Lake).
If the airport and surrounding cities can pull this growth off, mitigate its impacts in that amount of space, SeaTac will be a model for the rest of the country. The projected density of commercial airplane traffic has never been done before.
Council meets new business and comments
Oh my! I am going to do something different here and pretend it didn’t happen and give the Council some time to view the video of the meeting and see how silly/obnoxious they looked. The pettiness, personal attacks, and beating dead horses is just too embarrassing to write about and I am embarrassed for them since the first part of the meeting went so well with a united front by all.
Someone let it go on – and on and … – like a deer in the headlights and didn’t even grope for the gavel or call a point of order to put a stop to it. I was just waiting for the spitballs, paper planes, and food fight to break out. I suppose if I email that to someone and opine on how to run a meeting he will ignore it for fear he will violate the Open Public Meetings Act.
The old, now new again A&F
The Administration and Finance Committee meeting was a breath of fresh air. Chaired by Councilmember Sitterley, the atmosphere in the meeting was jovial with residents, staff, and Councilmembers sharing opinions, covering the agenda in total, and no one walked away mad. This was how it used to be and the experiment with “working groups” that were closed to the public and formal Study Sessions in the Council chambers has proven mostly a failure – this meeting was in the Riverton Room.
Councilmember Fernald was right all along and thank goodness our Council sub-committees are back. There is something intangible about these types of meetings. It builds comradery with residents, staff, and Council in a relaxed atmosphere even though it is not their intent. You could say they are business meetings with a side of community building (do we really need a separate Community Building Committee?). It also provides leadership roles for Councilmembers who are not the un-elected mayor/deputy mayor.
Some highlights were outstanding presentations by our executive secretary Lesa Ellis on membership fees/travel and Bart Perman, our IT guy on our obsolete and costly phone system. Sitting at a microphone looking up at the Council in the chambers does not seem to bring out the best in people. It probably feels more like a grilling by a bunch of prosecutors. This was much better.
A & F recommendations to the full Council
Deputy City Manager vs. Assistant City Manager. Increase duties/direct reports for position per Prothman Report (this recommendation never implemented). The Prothman Report can be found (here). Further, starting pay reduction to $110K annually. Hire by contract (same as City Manager).
Replace outdated/obsolete phone system. It has reached the end of its use life. No parts/support.
Review of citywide memberships. Keep some. Others already eliminated.
Travel approval to remain on Consent Agenda. Requires a Councilmember to move to unfinished business if they object.
Finally-Oprah has a book club….
I like music that doesn’t yell at me and has lyrics that make me think, of well, something anyway. I don’t pay much attention to the videos per se. Let me know if you would like me to add a single music recommendation section to the column routinely. Here is one for a trial. Hey, I can get kind of deep. ☺
In City Dreams-Robin Trower: