The Leadership Void

19 05 2010

Let’s see, I first found out about KCWTD’s potential plans for siting a CSO tank in the Lowman Beach Park neighborhood by “hounding” Martha Tuttle, whose official title, as I understand it, is Water Quality Planner/Project Manager lll, but who is often identified as a community relations representative for KCWTD. When I finally landed a direct phone call with her in February 2010 in my attempts to get updated on why I hadn’t heard from KCWTD for so long about the plans for the underground electrical generator that a team of neighbors (including me) and KCWTD had been working on since late 2005, she said “We are working on CSO plans that incorporate the electrical generator. . . you aren’t going to like it.” That was it, until the three alternatives showed up at our neighborhood’s door-step on or about March 29, 2010.

Literally, almost within seconds of getting back home from that KCWTD informational meeting of March 29, 2010, I started writing to my city, county, and state representatives about the significant lack of true community involvement in the plans that KCWTD was clearly going to go forward with, come hell or high water. To date, I have continued to beat the drums and communicate to those same “leaders” what I see happening with King County’s complete lack of respect for our community’s desires to do the right thing for our neighborhoods and Puget Sound. The lack of respect continues, and our “leaders” are, as far as I can tell, missing in action.

So, while a very large group of residents of West Seattle try to get to the table to get a true vote, and offer their clout, assistance, and willpower in finding the solutions they feel are best for the West Seattle community, our “leaders” more-or-less twiddle their thumbs, I guess (until proven otherwise), hoping for us to disappear. Ain’t gonna happen!

While our “leaders” twiddle their thumbs, two communities with different agendas, different stakes, and different sets of “sacrifices” start to go at each other. Hmmm… and, where are the “leaders”? Still missing in action. I guess that is what they want, “war” and hard feelings being created between neighbors and communities. Hard-earned time and money being paid out to find the right solutions, stop the KCWTD madness, and look for legal strategies. That’s what our “leaders” want? To keep offending us, making us spend our hard-earned money and time to get the right thing done? Us?

I can only assume that is what they want until they prove otherwise. I wrote to them a couple of days ago about this very scenario. See the FCA’s allegedly “Draft” letter to Dow Constantine, basically saying “your problems (Lowman Beach Park) are not our problems.” I would debate that one, anytime, anywhere. Mr. Butterfield, are you listening? It was a cheap shot by the FCA, alleged “Draft” or otherwise, and the idea was not passed by any of the Morgan Junction Community Association officers prior to the FCA going public with a “Draft.” For goodness sake, a “Draft” slap in the face?

The FCA apparently has a very short memory (or, they don’t give a rat’s behind) as to how much many of us helped them in their very recent fight to keep Washington State Ferries from expanding the Fauntleroy Ferry Dock, something THEY did not want. It could have been good for some businesses in West Seattle. Many of us could have taken a different path. But, no, we supported the FCA’s efforts. Hmmm… so much for reciprocal neighborliness.

So, Executive Dow Constantine, Councilmember Jan Drago, Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, where are you for this community?

P.S. I am sending copies of this to our state representatives. I wrote them more than a month ago, but the only one who responded at all said “it isn’t really a state issue.” Really? So, you want to see subsections of the 34th District at “war” with each other. Well, do you?


Keep Beating the Drums! “Moratorium Plus True Stakeholder Representation!”

10 05 2010

The meeting of Save Lowman Beach Park people this evening (5/10/10 at Puppy Perfectors in White Center), sponsored and organized by Gary Cobb, was a great start for the core of a true stakeholders group with voting rights for the plans for CSO facilities to be sited in West Seattle at or near the Barton and Murray pump stations.

Kudos to Gary! Lots of passion and lots of ideas and the main theme was “Moratorium on all plans and establish a true and significant stakeholders group, now!” Also, don’t let them head fake us with “informational meetings,” as if that constitutes a true stakeholder consultation process.

Read my lips “Moratorium on all plans for Barton and Murray CSO facilities and back to the drawing board with true consultation and voting power of a stakeholders group.”

Otherwise, quite frankly, this group and many more individuals who are ready to join up, will make life as difficult as possible for any of the current plans to ever see the light of day. Are you listening, KCWTD?

One other thing — politicize this as much as you can. My current phrase goes like this “If [insert elected official’s name] is going to drag their feet on assisting this community to get what it unanimously wants, and, on top of that, force our residents to put out hard-earned cash and expensive time to get what is right, there WILL be a price to pay come the next election, period.”

On that note: Thank you “Mac” McElroy” again, for showing an interest in this very hot and controversial, and dear to the heart issue, by coming to the meeting this evening. He’s running for Washington State House of Representatives 34th District Pos. 2 as an Independent. I would thank other candidates, and will always thank elected officials and candidates who show this kind of interest in something that is clearly dear to the hearts of the residents of West Seattle.  So, show up, so I can thank you!

The Latest from Drago’s Office and KCWTD

6 05 2010

I spoke with Linda Robson at King County Councilmember’s Jan Drago’s office this morning, and they are definitely on this – “this” being the unanimous community support for a moratorium on plans and much more substantial stakeholder input. Drago asked for several things from KCWTD’s Director, Christie True, for the next Regional Water Quality Committee meeting which will include a detailed briefing to the committee from KCWTD about the Murray and Barton CSO tank and facilities plans. I was assured that Drago’s office is hearing us and fully supports transparency and substantive community involvement.

The next RWQC meeting is June 2 at 3:00 p.m.

In addition, the West Seattle Blog reports a call from Martha Tuttle today in which she stated that there is no current closing date for comments — “We have decided to extend the comment period on the CSO Beach Projects. Right now there is NO deadline. We want to encourage comments and questions and give adequate time for community members to respond. May 14 is not a deadline anymore.”

I am not particularly reassured (yah, it takes a lot). If only Martha Tuttle had said something like “we want to substantially involve the community, not just ‘give them more time to comment,’ but actually develop a consultative stakeholders group to work with us on the best solutions for the Sound and the neighborhoods in this matter. In these types of situations, we have found that engaged and activist community members can help us make the right thing happen. After all, they are the voters, and if there is some political will that needs to take place to get the right thing done, the community can do that, among many other things.”

Am I dreaming, again?  Probably.  My cynical side says, um, guess it is going to take THEM more time to get their act together so that they can counter our emerging arguments in a substantial way, so before they open their mouth again, they want to make sure they aren’t, you know, sticking a couple of feet in it.  I am still NOT hearing they are going to shelve these plans which have been strongly rejected unanimously by the West Seattle community.

I think I already stated I was playing “devil’s advocate” this time around. Are my horns showing?

Where is Don Theiler When You Need Him?

1 05 2010

As many of you may know, the former Director of King County Wastewater Treatment Division was Don Theiler.   He retired in 2007, and Christie True was appointed to the position by Ron Sims.  The retirement and appointment were announced in a March 21, 2007 news release. I can tell you this: In my experience, Don Theiler was much more hands-on with community efforts and concerns than what I am experiencing from Christie True so far. True seems to be staying true to those old bureaucratic rules (you know, we are going to get what we want, no matter what you want) much better than Mr. Theiler did (to his credit!). I miss him. Does anyone know where he is and how to contact him?

Recent E-mails to Neighbors from Two Department Heads

28 04 2010

You can read the following two e-mails (4/27 and 4/28/10) recently received by Jan Bailey of West Seattle by clicking on them below (small Adobe Acrobat files). I won’t editorialize too much, but, I think it is obvious that one of these folks is clearly toeing the “party line,” and the other is open to discussion. Thoughts?

Letter from Tim Gallagher, Superintendent, Seattle Parks and Recreation, to Jan Bailey, dated 04/27/10 (small pdf file).

Letter from Christie True, Director, King County Wastewater Treatment Division, to Jan Bailey, dated 04/28/10 (small pdf file).

Call Jan Drago’s Office (and More)!

27 04 2010

As much as I think Councilmember Jan Drago (Chair of the Regional Water Quality Committee (RWQC)) is paying attention and may be concerned about what is going on with the KCWTD plans for Barton and Murray pump stations in her district, she seems to be approaching it on the slow side (sorry, Jan, KCWTD is blitzkrieging this community and a slow response might be okay — since we are not insiders and don’t know what the “inside” processes might be — but KCWTD promises SEPA applications and hearings in June this year, so it seems we need a rapid response on this — I could be wrong).

Calls to Councilmember Drago’s office noting your desire for a public hearing, complete briefing and allowed questions and answers would be helpful. You can call Drago’s office at 206-296-1008. Her Executive Assistant is Holly Krejci and her Communications Director is Linda Robson.

Other councilmembers on the Regional Water Quality Commission are Larry Phillips and Kathy Lambert. Larry Phillips: 206-296-1004. Kathy Lambert: 206-296-1003.

An Apology, and More about Politics

23 04 2010

Geoffrey “Mac” McElroy contacted me yesterday and let me know he is running as an Independent for Washington State House of Representatives 34th District Position 2.

So, I take back my statement that I have contacted all the candidates for 34th District state legislative positions. Uh, I guess I can be narrow-minded now and then. This would be one of those times. Sorry, Mr. McElroy! My bad, for sure.

In my haste to get this all moving along, I did not consider that there might be any 34th District candidates who would have a chance in the 34th District as anything other than a Democrat. I could be wrong, but, as you all may know, the Democrats have had a stranglehold on the 34th District for years and years.

So, to correct the record, I have not contacted anyone other than the Democrat Party candidates for 34th District positions, and, now, one Independent candidate, Mr. McElroy.

Kudos to Mr. McElroy for contacting me and being so on top of current events to note what we are attempting to do in West Seattle, and to take the initiative to contact us.

On that note, let me say this. As candidates contact me and voice an interest in what we are doing, I will list their campaign websites on our right sidebar.

Thank you, Mac!