|Letters to the Editor - March 4, 2013|
|Written by Readers|
This letter is in response to some of the letters in the Weekly concerning my handling of the issue of Councilmember Hageman’s residency.
The issue was first brought to my attention by another council member after the Chamber of Commerce luncheon on January 17. I was told there was a rumor at the luncheon that an unnamed council member was going to resign, and the caller wanted me to know that it wasn’t the caller.
I made some phone calls that afternoon and learned that the subject of the rumor was Mr. Hageman and the source of the rumor was a neighbor of Mr. Hageman who had seen the moving truck at his house removing items and thereafter other people living in the home.
I then called the first council member back and said the rumor should go no further because Mr. Hageman may have moved within the city, and if he had moved out of the city I was sure he would resign.
Shortly before our February 12 council meeting, in response to a citizen request, I looked at the King County website, including the assessor’s records, and discovered the information that I disclosed at the council meeting, including the fact that Mr. Hageman had purchased a home in Kirkland in August.
I could not discuss the matter with Mr. Hageman in private before the meeting, as two of the letters suggested, since there were already three council members (including myself) that were aware of the issue, and to discuss it with a fourth member outside of the public council meeting would be a violation of the open public meetings act.
Also, and contrary to Mr. Jaffe who considered this a “trivial issue” or Mr. Heald who considered Mr. Hageman’s residency a “potential anomaly,” I consider Mr. Hageman’s residency of paramount importance.
State law is clear that when a city elected official moves out of the city his seat becomes vacant.
I do not have “secret spies,” I have not followed Mr. Hageman anywhere, I have not hired a private investigator, and I have not obtained any bank records, as were suggested in the above referenced letters. I do, however, have a responsibility as an elected official to support the laws of Washington and to bring to the public’s attention in an open public meeting information that suggests an elected official is no longer qualified to hold office because he may have moved out of the jurisdiction.
Once I became aware of this information I could not keep it secret. The above referenced letters are a distraction from the one real issue, which is where has Mr. Hageman lived since August?
He still has not provided the city with his residence address.
Bernie Talmas, Woodinville mayor
“Mayor” Bernie Talmas should be ashamed of himself for his latest high school behavior (Mayor calls out colleague on residency). Really? Is it necessary to embarrass one of your sitting council members in such a public way?
Maybe the council should start worrying about more important issues — the traffic in Woodinville. The 195th intersection is a nightmare. Seems the council is more concerned with proper protocol than the issues that Woodinville still faces every day.
Our city government is a joke and has been criticized since we became a city. Let’s quit with the tattling on people and be a little more professional, Mr. Mayor.
The meetings are always canceled or changed or someone doesn’t show up — rarely are the issues ever dealt with. You listen but never take action.
I am fed up with the entire council.
You have lost my vote.
Sindi Giancoli, Woodinville
I’m appalled by Mayor Talmas; he could have handled this situation in a more private manner, but chose to publicly attack Mr. Hageman. I can only assume Mr. Talmas has personal issues with Mr. Hageman which he’s bringing into his job as mayor. Could he not have said at the beginning of the meeting that any votes would need to be tabled until a council issue was dealt with? Could he not have approached Mr. Hageman with his concern before the meeting, asking Mr. Hageman to excuse himself?
I also agree with the previous letter about Mr. Hageman having been investigated. I think that’s a lot of trouble for someone to go to when they could have just approached him and asked for proof of residency. I certainly hope my tax dollars weren’t used to pay for this effort.
I urge Woodinville City Council to elect someone else as mayor in the next term. And I urge Woodinville citizens to vote for “anyone” other than Mr. Talmas during the next council member election. If no one runs against Mr. Talmas, I will be voting for Mickey Mouse.
Jamie Loonam, Woodinville
1. Where is the crime being committed in Woodinville? I would like to know as I will avoid those areas in the future.
2. Did the Department of Homeland Security give the City of Woodinville a grant for these cameras?
And if not, how much did they cost and how much will it cost to monitor them?
3. Don’t the establishments that have the “most crime” already have these cameras? I am thinking grocery stores, banks, eating establishments, traffic intersections, etc? And don’t most also have alarms?!
4. There were fewer crimes in Woodinville last year according to the Woodinville Weekly except residential burglary which increased by 72 percent. Perhaps the cameras would be put to better use monitoring everyone’s homes instead!
5. Did you guys think this through or just decide to implement it without any public discussion. Don’t you work for us?
6. I think you need to put this to a vote to the citizens of Woodinville.
As a frequent shopper in downtown Woodinville at the Aaron Bros, Molbak’s, TJMaxx, Whole Pet Shop, Starbucks, InSpa, Jamba Juice and many more, I will be less likely to do my shopping in downtown Woodinville if these cameras are installed.
Susan Milke, Woodinville
To: Dave Somers, other council members, Aaron Reardon, Tom Tiegen
As you know, the highly controversial Wellington Hills Park Plan may be coming before the County Council within the next several months.
Many in the surrounding area believe that the plans to turn the property into a very large tournament level athletic facility are completely wrong and in clear violation of the Growth Management Act, the State Environmental Policy Act and the Snohomish County Parks Comprehensive Plan. These interested persons intend to present their views to the council if the matter comes before it.
In light of this background, the immediate neighbors were shocked this morning to find that a contractor has set up in the area of the clubhouse of the golf course with instructions to demolish it. Despite several hearings and reviews, Snohomish County Park provided no notice to the neighbors or other interested parties of their intended action.
As far as we know, the clubhouse building is a functional structure that could be used in the future, depending on the decision of the council for comprehensive and master planning for the site.
However, Parks seems intent on taking actions which make decisions on the future of the park without notice and without approval from the council.
We are aware of no reason why demolition is required at this time and no explanation of this action has been provided. We write today to ask that you take action to suspend further actions regarding demolition of the building on site pending further review.
Most significantly, Parks is taking action to demolish these buildings without compliance with the State Environmental Policy Act. No environmental checklist has even been prepared for any master plans or work in the park.
The SEPA rules make clear that the county shall take no action on actions subject to SEPA until SEPA compliance is complete: 197-11-070. Limitations on actions during SEPA process.
(1) Until the responsible official issues a final determination of nonsignificance or final environmental impact statement, no action concerning the proposal shall be taken by a governmental agency that would:
(a) Have an adverse environmental impact; or
(b) Limit the choice of reasonable alternatives
The planning for future use of Wellington Hills is an action subject to SEPA and as such requires that no actions be taken which “limit the choice of reasonable alternatives.”
Many have urged that the Wellington Hills property remain as a passive facility and the existing clubhouse would certainly be useful in that regard.
In short, demolition of existing building at the site is inconsistent with SEPA and the SEPA rules.
In addition, the county must consider whether the buildings and site would qualify for designation under the county register of historic places under Chapter 30.32D of the Snohomish County Code.
The criteria for such designation are that a site or structure is at least 50 years old. SCC 30.32D.040.
The Wellington Hills site, as a golf course and facility, opened in 1930 and is more than 80 years old and was certainly one of the very few golf courses in Snohomish County with this history.
All of this smacks more of an attempt by Parks to silence opposition and make the grand master plan a “done-deal” by moving forward with irreversible actions, even before the council sees the master plan. This attempt to stack the deck in favor of Parks should be summarily rejected. County officials should immediately suspend further demolition actions until all SEPA and historic standards are fully met.
Todd Bailey, Board Director, Neighbors to Save Wellington Park