Regarding rails, the question was whether or not to endorse membership with the Eastside TRailway Regional Alliance, a group which had two members speak once again during public comment.
And whether or not to send a letter to the Kirkland City Council regarding their proposed plans to remove the existing trails to construct a bike trail, which would foul up the works — if it happens — to run railway through Woodinville, as the track runs from Renton to Snohomish.
The vote to endorse membership into the organization passed 5-1, with Mayor Bernie Talmas dissenting, and Councilmember Art Pregler absent.
The vote to send the letter also passed 5-1, with Talmas opposed.
Next up was the annual crime report, delivered by Woodinville Police Chief Sydney Jackson: In 2012 there were 748 total crimes in the city, she reported, down from the 782 reported last year.
Part 1 crimes, major felonies including homicide, forcible rape and robbery were up at 412. Part 2 crimes, including simple assault, forgery and fraud were down at 336.
Overall, crime is down 5 percent, she said, though Part 1 crimes are up 7 percent. Most alarming, she said, is that residential burglary has increased by 73 percent — 52 last year as opposed to 30 the year before.
The council then went on to talk about its annual retreat, scheduled for March 2 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Snoqualmie Ridge Golf Course.
Mayor Talmas, who made the plans in conjunction with Deputy Mayor Liz Aspen, then said he was not in favor of a retreat so far away, apparently not wanting to appear insensitive to citizens who may be interested in attending, and was concerned about full disclosure.
Deputy Mayor Aspen suggested providing an audio recording of the meeting on the city’s Web site.
Councilmember Susan Boundy-Sanders then said she may be unavailable due to family health issues, and Councilmember Paulette Bauman reiterated she was not available on that date, adding she had “difficulty” in the retreat’s location and lack of transparency to the citizens. A motion was made and a vote was taken and the retreat was nixed, 4-1, with Bauman abstaining and only Aspen in favor.
“I’m hugely disappointed,” the deputy mayor said, citing the work that she and the mayor did under previous instruction. “We spent a lot of time, reserved the room … It’s not unheard of (for a city council) to go out of town.”
In any case, there’s no retreat for council scheduled as of now.
After that, there was a discussion on the potential tolling of the I-90 bridge, and whether or not to support a letter written and signed by the mayors of Bothell, Kenmore, Kirkland, Lake Forest Park and Woodinville to be sent to Washington Governor Jay Inslee, looking for traffic mitigation funds.
The letter cites that tolling of the bridge will result in additional traffic on SR 522, already stressed by the tolling of the SR 520 bridge across Lake Washington.
The deputy mayor said she didn’t see any significant impact to the citizens of Woodinville and questioned why it was an issue.
Woodinville City Manager Richard Leahy, who was involved with the process of drafting the letter, acknowledged Woodinville’s lesser impact of I-90 tolling, but believed its neighboring cities would feel a benefit from the joint letter, possibly including mitigation money for all. Then Councilmember Les Rubstello, after stating he would abstain from the vote “for family reasons,” spoke up: “I think this letter is a joke. It’s organized whining, saying we’re a bunch of cities and we want more money … There’s no identification that any (traffic) impacts exist. This letter is worthless and just says you’ve made a change and because you made a change we think we should get money. Woodinville shouldn’t put their name on this unless we can substantiate there are (traffic) impacts … This is just government gone bad…and I think it’s inappropriate.”
A vote was then taken: 4-1 to approve, including Rubstello’s abstention.