Woodinville City Council Creates Public Spaces Commission

  • Written by David B. Clark
The Woodinville City Council met on the evening of Tuesday, November 13 for their regular Council Meeting. Mayor James Evans was the only member of Council who was not present.  The agenda items were fairly routine covering the consent agenda, the budget public hearing and workshop, the 2019 legislative agenda and the creation of the Public Spaces Commission. 
Prior to the approval of the agenda, Councilmember Susan Boundy-Sanders took the liberty to explain the motion she was about to make to add context. Boundy-Sanders comments detailed that she and Mayor Evans were unable to work out the Sound Cities Association (SCA) appointments between themselves. Boundy-Sanders said, “If we unilaterally allow the Mayor to make decisions…” before she was asked to not attack members of the Council by Deputy Mayor Elaine Cook. “I am not attacking. I am explaining with context,” stated Boundy-Sanders. As she continued, noting that Mayor Evans had no desire to resolve this matter amicably, Deputy Mayor Cook commented that this had become attacking. Boundy-Sanders was allowed to finish her thought. She then made an amendment to the main motion to add a Business Item to the agenda item regarding the SCA. There was no second, so the amendment did not pass. 
During the public comment session, Rachel-Best Campbell spoke to the Council. Best-Campbell opened with, “Last week’s council meeting was embarrassing.” She emphasized this point by referencing the “hour of grandstanding” during the commentary that had occurred referring to the new proposed Public Spaces Commission. Best-Campbell said, “To suggest directly that Parks and Recreation Commissioners are less intelligent, less capable, and less valuable than Planning or Tree Board Commissioners is reprehensible.” She then stated that a citizen’s commission is a group of citizens that want to improve the city. “We all want competence in our elected officials and we want them to be responsive to our concerns,” said Best-Campbell. “Some councilmembers felt the need to disparage their compatriots on the dias.”  She went on to credit the community with being well-educated and engaged citizens. Best-Campbell finished, “In discussion on unilateral decision making, I feel these are personal attacks… both [councilmembers] had the option to decline membership on this commission but I noticed that some councilmembers are here to defend themselves and some are not. To make an attack on someone who is not here is rather cowardly.”
During the Business Items portion of the meeting, Intergovernmental Affairs Coordinator Alex Herzog presented Council with a draft of the 2019 Legislative Agenda. The Legislative Agenda is a list of priority issues or topics that will direct Woodinville’s efforts in the state legislature each year. Before the legislative session begins, City Council considers and approves a new document which it uses to communicate key issues of interest and concern to the City’s legislative delegation.
Herzog outlined the two utmost legislative priorities for the city: the carry-over from 2018 of the SR 202 Capacity and Pedestrian Safety Improvements and a Streamlined Sales Tax. Additionally, the City endorsed four smaller legislative efforts: Funding for Improving City Culverts, Growth Management, Homelessness and Mental Health, and Infrastructure Funding.
Councilmember Les Rubstello made a motion to approve the draft of the 2019 Legislative Agenda. Boundy-Sanders proposed an amendment moving the culverts up into the priorities section of the draft.  Herzog commented that it is perhaps more likely that if the State was going to address allocating funds for culverts then it would happen as a state-wide blanket approach rather than single out one jurisdiction over others.
Councilmember Gary Harris stated a more focused agenda is easier to discuss with legislators.
After more debate amongst councilmembers, the council voted on the amendment with Councilmember Paula Watters and Boundy-Sanders voting Yes and the remaining four present councilmembers voting No. The amendment did not pass.
Following this, Boundy-Sanders made several additional amendments. These ranged from stressing a particular dollar amount regarding the culverts, which failed, to minor syntax and wording on the document, which all unanimously passed.
Assistant to the City Manager Kellye Mazzoli approached council with the requested adjustments by council from last week’s meeting for Ordinance No. 675. It now reads in part, “… the City Council passed first reading of Ordinance No. 675 with modifications, which are reflected in the version presented for consideration this evening. The modifications made by Council included changing the membership composition of the new Public Spaces Commission to reflect a makeup of five (5) voting members, who are residents of the City of Woodinville, and now allows for up to four (4) ex-officio, non-voting members.”
Council approved Ordinance No. 675, consolidating the functions of the Tree Board and Parks and Recreation Commission into a new Public Spaces Commission. Councilmember Boundy-Sanders was the only member to vote No.

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