Council told citizens approve of new Councilmember, reject ‘One America’

By Jack Mayne

Normally only a citizen or two speak at the opening of a Council meeting, but on Tuesday (Jan. 22) there were several, defending the recent selection of a person replacing Amina Ahmed and rejecting an activist group, One America, for its criticism of Stanley Tomb’s selection.

The group, One America, had said that the Council went back on its word by not waiting until February to make the choice and indicated it expected a minority, probably a Somali immigrant, to replace Ahmed, who was killed in a recent head-on traffic crash.

Stanley Tombs. Photo courtesy City of SeaTac.

New Councilmember Stanley Tombs
Stanley Tombs was sworn in as a SeaTac Councilmember Tuesday night by SeaTac Municipal Judge Robert Hamilton.

When Tombs was selected by the Council on Jan. 16, its statement said he “was the council candidate with the highest qualifications to tackle many of the major issues facing the City during the next nine months.”

Next year, the Council said it would “be considering a number of major initiatives including but not limited to: the Comprehensive Plan Update, update of the city shorelines master program, the required federal regulations of small cellular facilities to accommodate the new form of personal and data transmission of a myriad of small cell towers mounted around the city, along with the airport’s unstainable Airport Master Plan (SAMP).” Other major issues before the Council will be a reminder of past problems at North SeaTac Park where Councilmember Pam Fernald discovered discarded needles, sometimes toxic trash along with much garbage discarded by many who had taken up residence there.

A Council statement said that at the Jan. 9 Council meeting, members “decided to pick from the list of 15 previous candidates who applied for the vacant position created last fall, after former Mayor Michael Siefkes stepped down and moved to Tennessee after resigning from the Washington Bar after admitting mishandling the affairs of former clients.

That list of Council applicants was shortened to 10 when former candidates dropped out of the process.

‘One America’ disruptive
Resident Chuck Darielli (pictured above) defended the current Council and said he has been “very disappointed in the behavior of some of the people who have come here lately, many of them who are not residents.” These people think they have the right to “illegally and hostilely disrupt meetings and take over the Council chambers spreading lies…they are interested in their own political agenda and they have accused this Council of being money hungry and corrupt.”

He was referring to a recent release by One America which published a statement on Jan. 15, which was headlined “SeaTac Community Members React with Shock and Disappointment to the City Council’s Replacement of Amina Ahmed.” The group had maintained that the Council appointed a new member, Stanley Tombs, even though promising to wait until a February meeting. The group, following a SeaTac Blog story, later withdrew its claim of the February meeting promise.

Darielli said the Council included a member “passionate enough to the money she made as a Councilmember to help pay for it.”

He was referring to Councilmember Pam Fernald, who lives near North SeaTac Park and has long helped keep it clean and orderly, once even getting rushed to the hospital after accidentally being stuck by an abandoned hypodermic needle.

He also referred to, but did not name, Councilmember Peter Kwon, who purchased locking mailboxes and installed them himself for free, a process that “has reduced crime dramatically.”

Other Councilmembers helped upgrade the agreement between the city and the Port of Seattle concerning the airport, Darelli said, which resulted in seven additional city police officers and allowed for a $25 million rainy day fund so if the economy tanks, they can still manage without raising our taxes.”

He lauded the sale of the much debated SeaTac Center property, which will consist of demolishing the current structures and the construction of apartments, and “provide over 260 residents with highly sought after affordable housing.” The contract for the sale and development of the property was finalized, one Councilmember said on Wednesday (Jan 23).

“This Council has done nothing but work hard for the benefits of all its citizens and has no interest in climbing the political ladder like some of the past members,” Darelli said. He said the Council did a “great job” when they picked Amina Ahmed and “I have no reason to think they haven’t done the same with Stanley (Tombs).”

Resident Doug Hill (pictured above) also lauded the choice of Tombs and quoted another person by suggesting the current council had done more for the city “than the combined councils before them. That is high praise. I don’t have that perspective, but I thank you for treating my tax dollars, my hard earned money with reverence and respect.”

Hill’s wife, Joanne, said she just wanted to show respect for the Council following the assault from the One America article, adding about the group, “we don’t want you here when you don’t have anything to do with our city.”

One America, she said, are “using and lying to and not telling the truth to about what is going on.” She also defended the current Council as one of the best the city has had.

Resident Roger Kadig, who said he has lived in the area for 60 years, said “one needs to research” the One America group and will see “it is agenda driven and they have no real interest in the politics of our city. They are interested in power.”

He said he wanted to thank the SeaTac Council for using good judgement and “not on color of skin.” He referred to the choice of Tombs for the Council as a good one and said he wanted to thank him for “his willingness to serve.”

Police have failed
In a change of pace, SeaTac resident Martin Kendricks (pictured above) told the Council during pubic comment time that he was concerned about police and crime in the city and his area near a light rail station where “crime has increased 300 percent” but police have been increased “zero percent.”

For the past 20 years, Kendricks said the police have operated on “a minimum standard for all of those 20 years.” That means three officers per shift, he said, with no change for 20 years while population and transient population has increased, and so has crime.

Kendricks said “my personal experience has included an increase in trespassing of over 500 percent since light rail has opened — people climbing over our fence” and a break-in where he said he “personally lost over $4,000 in tools.” He listed a litany of problems he and his neighbors have faced since the light rail was opened.

“In my opinion, we have been abandoned by our city government and our police department with “over $120,000 invested” in his neighborhood including a camera system, upgrading lighting, and the residents are considering an electrically operated gate that “will cost an additional $15,000.”

“In my view the city should be paying for it,” Kendricks said, “they caused the problem, they should pay to correct it.”

“All in all, the city government in SeaTac is an abstract failure, you failed the citizens,” Kendricks told the Council, adding that “you guys have failed again if you don’t let the police do their job and control crime. Most of all, uncut the police department and let them do their job. If you have to hire five more cops, hire five more cops – I don’t want to hear any more of this bragging about you’ve got more money than usual, you’re not running in the red, you are running in the black.”

“So spend some of it on something that matters,” Kendricks concluded his comments to the Council and said he was leaving a two-page list of complaints about problems in his neighborhood.

A Councilmember later told The SeaTac Blog that police immediately contacted Kendricks and told him they did not see his complaints listed, and the Councilmember said police were told that he did not actually report the incidents, but would fully investigate his concerns and damages and thefts he discussed.


One Response to “Council told citizens approve of new Councilmember, reject ‘One America’”
  1. Jen scaman says:

    In addition to listening to residents, there are guidelines, rules, regulations and laws that a city council must follow. There are no special guidelines, rules and regulations that say everybody has to follow these except for immigrant communities, or that everybody has to follow the same laws unless a certain part of the community doesn’t want too.

    SeaTac is a majority minority city. But the Somali community is only a small percentage of the majority minority and is the only minority that has a problem

    It comes down to this. The city has followed the exact same guidelines, rules and regulations. A responsible decision is NOT based on ETHNICITY, it’s based on qualifications. instead of picking the person who is most qualified for the position, the Somali community seem to be of the mind that a person should have been chosen based on skin color or immigrant status regardless of their qualifications. Knowing that they represent only the people by immigrant status or color of skin, will be the reason they would not have a position on the council.

    Articles attacking our mayor or council aren’t going to help the Somali immigrant community, in fact, when Peter Kwon’s name was mentioned, that just made the majority (white and non white) of the community realize that these accusations were just lies. He is that respect

    Unfortunately, you have drawn the public attention to the businesses at the Seatac Center. Your actions against the city could have caused more harm to the businesses than anything in your favor.

    So if you want to a peaceful world where every person’s human rights and dignity are respected- You have to be respectful to be respected

    If the Somali community is so unhappy in the City of SeaTac and believes that their needs to be a council member that represents them, Mayor Jimmy Matta welcomed them relocate their businesses in the SeaTac Center to the City of Burien.