The running of the letter from Ethical Woodinville in the September 2 issue of The Woodinville Weekly was an error on my part as it has been and continues to be our policy not to publish anonymous letters unless there is an overwhelming reason to shield the writer’s identity.
I still have not had a response from Ethical Woodinville concerning name(s) that could be used instead of just the name of the group.
I do apologize for the error.
Karen Diefendorf, WW editor
I read the letter from "Ethical Woodinville" last week attacking Bernie Talmas for his "embarassing antics and ... the council members who work on his behalf."
While their phrasing is technically accurate they obviously by implication support anyone opposing Bernie and other council members for re-election. Before writing this letter I looked at their website and sent an email asking for the identity of the authors as it was apparently undisclosed on the site.
Later I saw another letter in the Weekly pointing out the identity is indeed being witheld from the public.
I believe Bernie has managed the affairs of the city council quite well given that it can be, as many city councils are, a fractious group at times.
He has brought an air of calm decorum, in so far as one person can, to the diverse and divisive issues debated and discussed. With respect to ethics, he is the only person on the entire council who opposed placing cameras on the streets of Woodinville to monitor and record the actions of an unsuspecting public.
By contrast, to oppose him and other council members in a public forum while hiding under the name of an "ethics" group seems to me very much an act of questionable ethics.
John Shephard, Woodinville
I am writing this letter in response to a posting from the anonymous group "Ethical Woodinville " printed in last week’s Woodinville Weekly under letters to the editor.
Their letter contained such deliberate misstatements and distortions of the truth it needed a response.
Although this unregistered group "Ethical Woodinville" states that they are not a political action committee, the two robocalls they sponsored, the mailing piece they sent to Woodinville residents, and the letter to the Weekly all directly attacked me in my role as mayor.
Since I’m the only councilmember running for re-election this fall with a registered challenger, their efforts could not be considered anything but political.
As your elected representative, a well-known member of the community and an attorney with more than 35 years of experience, I would not act in any way that would tarnish the City of Woodinville’s reputation, or my own.
The issue of Councilmember Hageman’s residency, which is the subject that their letter is referring to, was first brought to my attention by Councilmember Bauman.
As I stated in my letter to the editor in the March 4, 2013 issue of this paper, I initially decided to ignore this issue since it was only a rumor.
But when I was faced with publicly recorded documents, including a declaration signed by Councilmember Hageman under penalty of perjury that his new Kirkland home was his primary residence, I was forced to bring it up at a public council meeting.
While some thought I should have handled the matter privately, state law, specifically the Open Public Meetings Act, required that it be done at an open public meeting of the city council.
I have no "political operatives" or any "informants" who "staked out the home of another council member."
With regard to the subject of personal attacks at council meetings, as mayor I have conducted the meetings in a straightforward, respectful manner, allowing every councilmember to have their opportunity to speak, regardless of their views on any subject.
I have never acted with disrespect to anyone, even when I was the subject of personal attacks by other councilmembers or during comments by the public.
There have been occasions when other councilmembers have engaged in this type of conduct, and as mayor I do my best on each occasion to discourage it and end it as soon as possible.
I have worked hard in Woodinville and across the region to improve Woodinville’s position in the Greater Puget Sound Region, serving on the council and on several regional committees. I am not willing to waste all of our good efforts on behalf of our city and stand silent in the face of these anonymous misrepresentations. Thank you for your support.
Bernie Talmas, Woodinville
I’m very disappointed in the September 3 Woodinville Weekly, specifically the lead story about a letter containing a needle and thread being sent to Councilmember Liz Aspen, and the anonymous letter to the editor.
The Weekly’s reporter told the City Council that the Weekly’s publisher, Julie Boselly, had said that Ms. Aspen had received a "threat."
Who first characterized it as a threat, Liz or Julie?
The letter insulted Ms. Aspen, certainly, but to characterize it as a threat is an affront to Woodinville’s collective intelligence.
And Ms. Aspen’s attempt to use Woodinville’s police force as a personal retaliation mechanism is an affront to Woodinville’s taxpayers.
As to the letter to the editor from "Ethical Woodinville," I’m grateful for the assurances I’ve heard that Karen Diefendorf, the Weekly’s editor, gave instructions several times that the letter be removed. I would be interested to know how it remained in place.
Anonymous campaigning in Woodinville began with the "Woodinville Free Press" mailed to voters in 1995 and continued with woodinvilleblog.com in the 2000s.
The anonymous pieces always support the same set of puppet councilmembers, always claim to have the best interests of Woodinville at heart, and hide behind disingenuous claims such as that made in the letter to the editor, that "Ethical Woodinville" is not a political action committee.
Seriously, we’re going to let an anonymous unregistered PAC be our guide on ethical issues?
We’re going to listen to robocalls, read a Web site and postcard that all make false statements about Mayor Bernie Talmas and accept their claim that they’re not a political action committee? And the Woodinville Weekly is going to be their free soapbox?
We deserve better.
Susan Boundy-Sanders, Woodinville
Opinions & perceptions – we all have them.
According to Woodinville City Councilmember Susan Boundy-Sanders, I have insulted the intelligence of all of Woodinville based on my idea of what a threat is. I would hope each individual would think for themselves but yes, I actually did say the word "threat" when shown a copy of the mailed needle and thread with a note saying Liz Aspen’s mouth should be sewn shut.
I asked her if she reported it. It was a mailed needle – when did that become okay and acceptable? I don’t find it to be harmless political name-calling. If something similar was mailed to me or either of my children, it would cause concern or even fear.
If I look up threat in the dictionary it reads:
1. a declaration of an intention or determination to inflict punishment, injury, etc., in retaliation for, or conditionally upon, some action or course; menace: He confessed under the threat of imprisonment.
2. an indication or warning of probable trouble: The threat of a storm was in the air.
3. a person or thing that threatens.
If I feel something is "an indication or warning of probable trouble," I have no issue discussing it with members of the community and reporting it to the police. Better to be safe than sorry is an appropriate way to live. Maybe this behavior is acceptable in your world, it’s not in mine and it will be a good talking point with my children about the type of people they will run into throughout their lives.
Julie Boselly, Woodinville Weekly Publisher
Woodinville Heights continues to have speeding drivers that are dangerous to our children.
Several months ago residents along NE 178th Street and 146th Avenue NE signed a petition asking the city to install speed bumps.
The city’s response was to install small raised white markers, also known as turtles.
What an insult!
These devices have done nothing to slow the speeding drivers. Instead these are hazards for the many bicyclist on the streets.
Equally insulting to our pleas for help was Councilmember Boundy-Sanders at the May 7th City Council meeting giving thanks to the city and gleefully adding that "speed bumps were not the way to go."
Really, councilmember? Is that what you will say when (not if) a child is hit by one of these speeding drivers?
School started again on Tuesday and many of the neighborhood children gathered at the three school bus stops in our area.
My wife and I watched in horror as several cars went speeding by our two young children and their classmates.
The City Council, led by Mayor Bernie Talmas, is playing Russian Roulette with the safety of our children.
Quit playing politics with the children of Woodinville Heights and fix the problem.
Kris and Cindy Jones, Woodinville Heights