Menu

Letter: 'Woodinville City Council and its leadership denied Nicolas due process before removing him' 

  • Written by David A. Williams

The following was approved by the Body of the 45th District Democrats last Wednesday (July 1).

Last year, the 45th Legislative District Democrats endorsed Nicolas Duchastel in his candidacy for the Woodinville City Council. Although he lost the race by a smattering of votes, he conducted his campaign with dignity, courage, lots of energy, and tremendous goodwill. Nicolas made us proud of him and in our endorsement of him.

Very unfortunately, during the race and even more so since the election, Nicolas has been the target of scurrilous innuendo and outright personal defamation.  In connection with all of this, a majority of the Woodinville City Council recently voted to remove him from the Woodinville Planning Commission, in kangaroo-court fashion, with nothing even arguably approaching due process, thereby depriving the citizens of Woodinville of Nicolas' talents and efforts to improve their city's quality of life.  He was not even allowed to ask questions about the reason for his dismissal, publicly question his detractors, or publicly defend himself.  This was not an open and fair process by any stretch of the imagination.

Nicolas has been a tireless volunteer within the 45th District Democrats for years. For years before he ran for the Woodinville City Council, and then since last year’s election, Nicolas has served on our Endorsement Committee. The Endorsement Committee is critical for any political party. Its job is to recommend candidates for endorsement to our general body.   

Every year the committee must recommend one candidate over another in numerous races, including local city council races. This is often a very difficult process with hard choices. Nicolas was — and is again — one of the most diligent and hard-working members of our committee and is known for "tough questions" during candidate interviews.  These are all good characteristics for either a city council or planning commission member. 

Nicolas has nothing but friends within the 45th District Dems, and the undersigned, on behalf of the 45th District, and individually, decry the defamatory and cowardly smears that he has had to endure.   

We are very disappointed that the Woodinville City Council did not allow Nicolas to publicly address the concerns of the Woodinville Council before his dismissal from that city's planning commission. And as such, the public was denied the benefit of his perspective and it being noted for the public record.  Instead, he was summarily fired with no opportunity being given to defend himself.  In doing so, the Woodinville City Council and its leadership denied Nicolas due process before removing him.  As a Woodinville resident, I am very disturbed that this was allowed to happen to any of our fellow residents.

What went on here with Nicholas Duchastel is not what the citizens of Woodinville — and the rest of the country — deserve to expect from their elected leadership!

David A. Williams

Chair, 45th Legislative Democrats

Bellevue

Letter: City council should ask for resignation of Best-Campbell

  • Written by Dave Maxwell

I wish to express my deep disgust over the personal attacks by members of the Woodinville City Council on a decent and civic-minded member of our community.

I worked closely with Nicolas Duchastel as parent volunteers supporting Woodinville cub and boy scouts for more than six years.  Nicolas was an outstanding role model for the boys. He was always positive and encouraging. He was generous with his time and made boys and adults both feel welcomed and included. You could not find a member of our pack and troop who would not have anything but great things to say about Nicolas.

This decency was evident in his city council race. Nicolas was only positive in his campaign, focused only on how to make Woodinville better.

In contrast to demonstrating positive civic behavior, the Woodinville City Council chose to add a last-minute agenda item at 10:30 p.m. as the council meeting is ending and makes serious charges against the character of a volunteer planning commissioner.  This action did not allow a defense by the commissioner and screams "constitutional right of privacy" to stop all discussion. 

This is total bunk. A fair hearing would have the discussion re-scheduled with a clear understanding of what needs to be talked about and to allow a defense to what can only be described as bizarre charges.

And if the city council meeting was not bad enough, the follow-up meeting by council member Rachel Best-Campbell to address the planning commission was clearly over the top. 

Best-Campbell had time to prepare what she was going to say and diplomatically relay to the commission of the council's decision to remove Nicolas. Instead, she again engaged in another unfounded personal attack.

Given that council member, Best-Campbell was appointed and not elected, the rest of the city council should ask for her resignation and appoint someone with the temperament and character to be a positive force on the council with the ability to bring different viewpoints together.

Regards,

Dave Maxwell

Woodinville

Letter: Removal of Duchastel showed council members' 'ethical deficiencies'

  • Written by Paul Hagen

Councilmembers,

I was troubled to learn that Mr. Nicolas Duchastel was dismissed from the Woodinville Planning Commission without cause. After reviewing last Tuesday’s (June 16) Council meeting, I was further dismayed and baffled. No legitimate reason was given for Mr. Duchastel’s removal, and instead the only “reasons” given were vague, unsubstantiated insinuations of bad behavior. Councilmember Price, who brought the unannounced motion against Mr. Duchastel, complained, for example, that Mr. Duchastel had “said some stuff that was offensive” but also said that he was “not going to get into specifics.” Councilmember Taylor said Mr. Duchastel had used “interesting language” and Deputy Mayor Harris announced he would provide specific examples but then struggled to provide any legitimate complaint and instead explained that Mr. Duchastel had used an “aggressive” tone when asking him—an elected public servant—a question. Council’s apparent discomfort with freedom of speech and accountability should be truly concerning to every resident in Woodinville. The fact that Mr. Duchastel was removed for no other reason than asking legitimate questions of city officials about the workings of Woodinville government—questions that apparently caused significant discomfort or irritation to those being asked—is simply inexcusable. Don’t you, councilmembers, represent the people of Woodinville? Isn’t your job to respond to citizens, even when they are asking difficult questions? Instead you have worked to silence critics, reduce engagement, and weaken Woodinville. This is utterly shameful behavior and should not be tolerated in Woodinville—especially from our elected officials. Worst still you never gave Mr. Duchastel even the common courtesy of informing him that you had targeted him for removal, nor did you give him the opportunity to defend his good name. Instead you hurled vile and dubious accusations against him and removed him without any opportunity to learn the truth, or hear support for him, or have him answer your unfounded accusations.

I first met Mr. Duchastel when I served on the Parks and Recreation Commission and have found Mr. Duchastel to be a thoughtful, hard-working, and highly ethical. For several years he has faithfully and effectively served this community, and I am very disappointed to see him treated so unfairly.

As councilmembers your sole responsibility is to represent the people of Woodinville and to serve the entire city. Your decision to remove Mr. Duchastel is a failure of your responsibility. Public servants should exercise good judgement, reasoned thought, and sound ethical behavior. Unfortunately, with the removal of Commissioner Duchastel, you have fallen quite short of that measure and have shown yourselves to be vindictive and petty. You have demonstrated quite clearly your ethical deficiencies, want of judgement, and lack of integrity. I hope you will reflect on your actions and motives. And I hope you will find a way to right this wrong.

Regards,

Paul Hagen

Woodinville

Letter: Removal of commissioner and conduct by council are "cause for great concern"

  • Written by Heidi Schauble

Woodinville City Council,

I met Nicolas recently, when he joined the Facebook group I administer- Woodinville Social Justice Connection. Not only has he been active in dialogue and our organizational efforts, he quickly stepped up as leader in our group and has showed an immense dedication to social justice and inclusion efforts in our community.     

Nicolas has provided more support to myself and our community than I can begin to describe, or thank him for. When I organized the Woodinville March and Demonstration in support of Black Lives Matter, and realized the scale of this event was going to be much larger than expected. Nicolas stepped up to support us at all hours of the night; with hours-worth of free labor, helping organize, communicate and ensure public safety. His entire family pitched in, and his wife worked tirelessly to make masks to pass out during the March and Demonstration. 

Nicolas has worked to make sure members of our community feel heard and cared about. Not only does he hear us, he responds and acts and is a strong advocate for marginalized people in our community. 

Working with Nicolas has impacted not only my life, but the lives of my group members and community, at large. His professionalism, empathy, kindness, selflessness and compassion are some of the first qualities I noticed about him. 

I have worked for four years to bring attention to social justice issues and involve our city council only to be met with silence, and at times, outright avoidance and defensiveness. His support has helped me mentally and emotionally by providing resources and support to take weight off my shoulders and the members of our group. His advocacy work has advanced our social justice efforts into concrete action. 

As a progressive woman leader, and a vocal social justice advocate in Woodinville, Nicholas has shown me his strong dedication to civic service and progressive values. He is both a strong ally, and a leader in our community. That is not afraid to speak truth to power.

I am appalled and disheartened to see the council ambush him, and other Councilmembers and Commissioners, in what appears to be an act of overt retaliation. The claims made against him are unsubstantiated, at best. 

Myself and other community members watched the behaviors displayed at the city council meeting and city planning commission meeting the following evening. These claims do not reflect the Nicolas we know. His removal and the conduct of the City Council during these meetings, is a cause for deep concern. 

Heidi Schauble

Woodinville

Letter: 'No credible evidence of wrongdoing' presented in dismissal of commissioner

  • Written by Amanda Thompson

Dear City Council, 

I've been a resident of the city for nine years and am writing to let you know how appalled I was watching the council meeting on June 16, 2020. The manner in which you brought up and removed Nicolas Duchastel de Montrouge from the planning commission was a shameful disgrace. 

Aside from Councilmember Boundy-Sanders, I find none of you credible. Your tactics reek of unethical plotting and maneuvering. How many more city volunteers will you force out because you simply dislike them? This needs to stop.

In my interactions with Nicolas, he has only been kind, hard-working, and an eager volunteer. He has always taken the ethical approach even when being repeatedly slandered and harassed by councilmembers. His campaign focused on what he would do to help the city, he listened to what the people wanted, and he did not focus on degrading his opponents.

At the council meeting where he was ousted, there was no credible evidence of wrongdoing presented. It appeared much more like one or two councilmembers' personal vendettas against a city volunteer. Remember, he is a volunteer! 

And why were we not given a chance to hear Nicolas' side? You are a disgrace of a council to have done this and not even let him speak. The people of Woodinville will not stand for your corruption. Who will you bully and force out next? 

I would also like to express frustration at how disrespectfully the message of his removal was delivered during the planning commission meeting on June 17, 2020. No evidence was provided; the news blindsided another commissioner and brought her to tears as she recused herself from the meeting because of the lies being spewed. 

The attending councilmember (Rachael Best-Campbell) continued to focus on her personal feelings in a combative manner, which was not appropriate in any way at this time. This is a major disappointment for the city. Woodinville deserves better. 

The public is fully aware of your deceitful tactics and will not stand for it.

Amanda Thompson

Woodinville