Commentary

The Cactus Speaks: Council retreat and attack


[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

It has been a while since I wrote a column but you know what they say, “absence makes the heart fonder.” Damn, I crack me up. : -)

Some Ethics finally …
I attended the Council Retreat on Friday (June 10) for the discussion of a code of ethics and the budget.

After 5-plus years of myself and others asking for one, a draft Code of Ethics was approved to go forward to the study session and to the Council for vote. This version will only apply to the electeds. Subsequent versions that will apply to the staff (one for those represented by a union and another for the non-represented employees) will be coming soon — I am told.

It was emphasized that the Code of Ethics proposed was not to be used for personal vendettas. There are penalties in the code for false accusations or claims. Of course politicians will forget that part pretty quickly so lets see what happens. The latest published draft of Electeds Code of Ethics can be found (here). There were further changes made during the retreat.

The budget…
There was a budget presentation in the retreat that was somewhat lacking.

For the part-time Council to make micro decisions on a budget that most have not read or understand is somewhat backwards. While the presentation is called Macro it is actually Micro (here). In my world the department heads (directors in our case) submit a budget with proposed cuts and new revenue possibilities (numbers please) under parameters from existing/projected funds. The CEO (city manager) approves the department budgets or changes the cuts and/or revenue strategies. That is presented to the board of directors (Council). If it don’t work out the CEO is replaced or gets a huge raise (they flip a coin).

Maybe I’m wrong and the city’s method is how it should be done but I have always felt it was my responsibility as a manager/department head to propose cuts, etc. before someone else did it for me. Then the fighting begins. Managers win most times. Opinions?

Council Attack…
After the Council Retreat was adjourned about 30 people appeared in the Council chambers with banners with Love Thy Muslim Neighbor, etc. and accused the Council of Islamphobia. Unfortunately since the retreat was adjourned (they missed the public comment period) this is not on the public record but I’m sure some media types were in there to record the non-event.

Former and defeated Councilmembers Mia Gregerson and Dave Bush were in the bunch so I have my own take. They appear to be suffering from Sourgrapesaphobia (new word) and orchestrated the “event.”

Why do I say such a thing?

One Somali gentleman (he identified himself as such) requested that Mayor Michael Siefkes resign. I think he meant former Mayor Forshler (still Councilmember) who created the Interim City Manager Donny Payne fiasco where an investigation forced Mr. Payne’s resignation for allegedly trying to “map” Muslims in SeaTac. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Gregerson’s and Bush’s (hiding in the margins of the Council Chamber) lips moving while the Somali gentleman was speaking. Could be just me.

Forschler extensively disagrees with the characterization of Mr. Payne’s “tactical mapping” (here). Where was this months ago? Why no counterclaim against the City? Together with other boner moves by Forschler, his credibility continues to diminish. Let’s just hope he doesn’t take the rest of the Council with him.

Former and defeated Councilmember Ladenburg was surprisingly not in attendance for all the fun. He is now the 33rd Democratic chair so he has other race-baiting, religion-baiting and minority baiting duties to perform. Both parties do it so no one should be shocked at my terminology or the reality of the tactic/s. Lust for power knows no bounds.

Another item of note in this gathering: It was mentioned that the immigrant/refugee community wanted a say in who is hired is as the city executive (city manager in our case). That is not legal and it’s up to the Council in our form of government. I gave everyone that chance in 2009 and 2011 by getting a change of form of government to Elected Mayor on the ballot. The measure was narrowly defeated both times with the Sourgrapesaphobia bunch in virulent opposition. Paying attention and voting: priceless.

Cactus song selection
A bit dark but I have my moments.

“Stand or Fall.” The Fixx. 1982:

Lyrics:

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/fixx/standorfall.html


Comments

3 Responses to “The Cactus Speaks: Council retreat and attack”
  1. Mysty Beal says:

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  2. Vicki Lockwood says:

    Welcome back Earl! Your dedication to SeaTac is appreciated. So happy to see that our Council is moving forward in a positive direction. I’m pleased that we’re on the verge of getting a Code of Ethics for our politicians. Hopefully the ones that need such a document will make the effort to understand it and internalize it’s spirit.

    I disagree with your evaluation of the budget process that occurred at this Retreat. The Staff MUST know what the Council’s current priorities are before they can create a budget proposal. Once the Staff knows what the Council’s larger vision is then they can create the detailed line items with accompanying costs. The first staff-prepared budget will not be the final product, as budget preparation is a re-iterative process until eventually the projected income and expenses balance while preserving Council priorities. In my opinion the budget process is occurring in the proper sequence.

    As for your comments about our future City Manager, I am hopeful that whoever is selected to fill this role is as capable as our current Acting Interim City Manager, Joe Scorcio. He has performed admirably with just the right mix of experience, maturity, good judgement, leadership, common sense and people skills. He will be a difficult act for anyone to follow. Fortunately we have a tremendous example in our midst now that can be used as a yardstick to measure future applicants.

    Things are looking brighter in SeaTac!

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