I had heard a couple complaints about the new I-405/I-5 exit arrangement, so I’m glad it’s getting worked.
Here is the story.
I had heard a couple complaints about the new I-405/I-5 exit arrangement, so I’m glad it’s getting worked.
Here is the story.
From: Charles Marsalisi
Sent: Friday, January 29, 2010 4:05 PM
To: Denis Law; Jay B Covington; Marcie Palmer; Don Persson; Randy Corman; King Parker; Terri Briere; Greg Taylor; Rich Zwicker
Cc: Preeti Shridhar; Kevin Milosevich; Timothy L Troxel
Subject: King County Guardian One Helicopter Operating in Renton
I received a call from Captain Lisa Mulligan, King County Metro Police. Captain Mulligan told me that beginning tonight, the Sheriff’s helicopter will be monitoring local transit centers. She said that they should be flying at an elevation above the height generally associated with noise complaints, however our citizens may notice the activity and call to see if there is a criminal issue. Captain Mulligan said that the flights will be between 8 PM and 4 AM, on almost a nightly basis. She did not anticipate that the helicopters will be hovering or circling the downtown area, unless they spot something suspicious.
This operation is part of an overall preparedness plan for the upcoming Olympic Games.
The purpose of her call was just let us know about the operation. She requested that any complaints be forwarded to her at (206) 296-7631. You can also forward the concerns to me, and I will handle anything that comes up.
I just wanted to provide the information to everyone, since many times you receive calls directly from the community.
If you have any questions, please let me know.
Deputy Chief Chuck Marsalisi
Renton Police Department
1055 S. Grady Way
Renton, WA 98057
Reminder: My journal entries are strictly my own observations and opinions, and should not ever be taken as an official city-wide policy, position or statement.
Renton citizen Ben Johnson has emailed me and the City Finance Director his full critique of the Proposition 1 utility flier (email attached below), and I think he makes some reasonable points. After watching this debate rage on, I believe we should improve our process for developing city fact sheets about ballot issues.
Some options could include:
(1) A non-advocate review, in which the city presents the proposed material to one or more people known to be opposed to the measure and collects suggestions and comments
(2) A Pro and Con statement, each written by representative advocates for their position, similar to the voters pamphlet but with much greater length allowed.
(3) A simple statement that the ballot measure implements whatever draft legal documents are affected, and then attach these legal documents. Then let the campaigns make statements after that.
I understand the city followed long-standing procedures when preparing for the current election. And I don’t know if Ben’s concerns regarding the utility flier insert rise to the level of being PDC violations. It would not be my call. I understand that at least one of the city fact sheets was passed through the PDC, but I don’t know how deeply the PDC reviewed it.
As I’ve said all along about this decision, I want voters to have all the information. I encourage readers to study both sides of this decision from the campaigns, which can be found at these websites:
—– Forwarded Message —–
From: “Ben Johnson”
To: “Iwen Wang”
Sent: Sunday, January 31, 2010 4:47:15 AM GMT -08:00 US/Canada Pacific
Subject: Corrections to the Utility Flyer
When the city mails out a corrected utility flyer so that voters can
make a better choice, there’s a few more corrections that I would see
to make the document more factual and fair:
Please add Seattle to the list of cities that have an independent library.
Please use the current budget, we wouldn’t want people to get the
impression that our library is underfunded.
Please calculate the current Renton hours, I’m coming up with a
Please omit the whole sentence “The role of libraries has changed…”
This is opinion.
Please omit all costs associated with the Master Plan, as the flyer is
dealing with Prop 1 with doesn’t afford the citizen the choice of
following the Master Plan.
Please update the amount of items in KCLS, I’ve found it to be under
4,000,000. Phrases like “more than” were not used in discussing the
number of Renton items.
Please use KCLS’s actual budget for 2009, or 2010 – whatever your
using to Renton. I’ve seen a number less than $90 mil. Phrases like
“more than” were not used in discussing the Renton budget.
Please move items four under “Effect of Proposition 1″ to under the
“Current Situation”, we currently have access through the reciprocal
agreement: Strangely I’m not sure item one and three is dependent on
us accepting Proposition 1.
Please mention that KCLS is experiencing budgetary problems and will
have to cut services. The cutting of services was mentioned about
Renton, so it’s only fair.
On the final item under “Effect of Proposition 1″, please make the
reader aware that we would have only an advisory role in influencing
Change “Homeowner Costs” to “Property Taxes of Proposition 1″, please
remove all mention of new libraries as Proposition 1 has nothing to do
with new libraries.
Change “roughly $104″ to “approximately” – the writers prejudice is showing.
Please mention that we currently pay zero in dedicated property taxes
for the Renton Library.
Remove “Renton rebuilding two library branches.” Proposition 1 doesn’t
Change the pseudo-property tax rate to reflect the updated numbers, or
Cyberspace has been turbocharged with blogs, comments and emails debating the pros and cons of Renton’s Proposition 1, as well as the format and assumptions of the city’s information sheet about this proposition.
I welcome this dialogue on the numbers, as it is a vital part of our democratic process.
As part of this discussion, there have been inquiries coming into city hall, and I’m going to share some of the exchanges here so that everyone has a chance to see the data and comments.
I’m going to start with yesterday’s conversation between me and Renton Ben regarding what we both felt could be an error in the city information piece regarding the 0.22 per thousand figure quoted for operating the master plan. In the end, I felt that my concern about an addition error was resolved. Ben is still questioning some of the assumptions presented in the overall analysis, and I appreciate that our finance director has been available to work directly with him. Ben and Iwen have been exchanging emails even this morning. It seems to me that everyone at city hall is making it a priority to respond to your questions about Proposition 1.
I’ll try to get a few more items posted later today, so please check back.
(Like all email chains, the first message is at the bottom)
—– Forwarded Message —–
From: “Ben Johnson”
Sent: Friday, January 29, 2010 1:29:41 PM GMT -08:00 US/Canada Pacific
Subject: Re: Followup Questions RE Tax Rates and Revenue
Thanks for the answer!
I see their point, but my gut reaction is not a good one. I think they’re not being quite honest… here’s why:
If we that the city’s word that they’re trying to portray costs a few years down the road, then to be honest, they would have to show KCLS at $.50.
As we know that KCLS needs $.50 to keep operations at the current level without the “10-15% cuts” that they predict if they don’t get the levy lid.
On 1/29/10 12:38 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Thanks for the warm comment Ben.
Well, I had a one hour meeting with Denis, Iwen, Marty Wine (our annexation specialist), and Preeti (our communications director) to get to the bottom of all the numbers.
It took me a while for them to remind me exactly what is going on with the numbers for the option of remaining independent. In the end, they did convince me that there was not an error where I suspected there might be one.
I was getting confused with the fact that the Master Plan document has a year 1 cost and a year 2 cost (each around 1.3 million), and that when these two numbers appear to show up on the chart in the FAQ flier it looks as though they have been added together into an annual cost (and then reduced to 0.22 per thousand). However, it turns out that the FAQ chart is assuming that both “Stage 1″ and “Stage 2″ (not “Year 1 and Year 2″ ) of the Master Plan document have been completed, and it is compared to a KCLS condition that includes new libraries.
This is confusing because Stage 1 includes year 1 and year 2 improvements and increased staff. Stage 1 is roughly comparable to KCLS after an annexation to Renton (if approved), but before any new libraries are built. Stage 2 is the building and equiping of new libraries.
The confusion is that the 0.22 per thousand on the Renton side includes both the Stage 1 and Stage 2 staffing levels…ie the staffing to get hours and service up (stage 1), and then to carry this level of staffing and hours into new larger facilities (stage 2). To make things more confusing, the Master Plan document calculates Stage 1 staffing costs, but it does not address stage 2. Put another way, Stage 2 staffing– extra librarians, assistants, etc– to handle a larger highlands library, are not in the Master Plan. So their extra costs were estimated to be similar to the bump up in staff for Stage 1. And all other operations costs (books, heat, maintenance, etc) follow this same pattern.
This FAQ is attempting to make the comparison to KCLS, which will provide the larger staffing and operations resources for new buildings as part of the basic assessment. Have I got you confused yet?
I finally had to think of it this way. When we add a library, the most expensive part of the library is not the building…it’s supplying the staffing, equipment replacement, utilities and maintenance for the rest of time. The FAQ is trying to show that in the out years, after building improvements, Renton’s costs would be as shown in the left column vs KCLS in the right hand column.
Could Renton have shown this better? “Yes.” Are the numbers presented basically correct? “Probably within limts, understanding that we don’t know exactly what a new larger Renton library would actually look like…2 stories, 10 stories! who knows. ” Was it right to compare “out-years” in the FAQ instead of near term impact… “probably a matter of opinion, but I think near term should have also been included.
After digging into this analysis again, I can see that regardless of how KCLS stacks up against Renton near and long term, KCLS in the near-term is not as good of a deal for taxpayers as KCLS is in the long-term. This is because our basic levy of almost 5 million dollars pays for staffing of either older smaller buildings, or newer expanded building; either way we pay the same. So if we join KCLS, we need to implement new buildings to get the most value from our annual levy.
There are many valid ways to look at this set of circumstances. But I hope this helps clarify them a little bit. I think you have been asking some brilliant questions… you are clearly a numbers guy.
Oh, one final thing. The missing million bucks that KCLS owes us!… My understanding is that if we merged with KCLS, this million would be credited to KCLS and added to the 2 million or so we were going to pay for Renton libraries for the balance of 2010, and then given to KCLS to pay for library service starting March1 2010 –since their levy would not start until 2011. Don’t know if you like this answer, but this is what I understand.
I hope this helps!
—– Original Message —–
From: “Ben Johnson”
Sent: Friday, January 29, 2010 8:43:06 AM GMT -08:00 US/Canada Pacific
Subject: Re: Fwd: Followup Questions RE Tax Rates and Revenue
Thank you! I appreciate the administration and your willingness to get to the truth, even if it doesn’t look good. That’s a true test of character. Ideas can be wrong, but character never is. I sincerely appreciate it.
On 1/29/10 7:13 AM, email@example.com wrote:
I’ve sent an email to bring your concerns to the Mayor’s attention, and I will speak to him this morning. I described the situation as looking like a two-year cost in the Master Plan was being treated as an annual cost in the city fact sheet.
I recommended in my email that if finance determines such an error exists, we should seek official guidance from King Councy Elections and PDC.
We will make sure you stay informed during the course of the day. Obviously time is of the essence.
—– Forwarded Message —–
From: “Randy Corman”
Sent: Thursday, January 28, 2010 9:37:47 PM GMT -08:00 US/Canada Pacific
Subject: FW: Followup Questions RE Tax Rates and Revenue
UPDATE Wednesday Afternoon:
This information has just been provided by the police department:
A single incident was reported to police. The report, which was made two weeks after the event, stated that an individual was assaulted while walking on the trail. The reporting party was unable to identify the subject in a photo montage, and has since decided not to pursue the case. There have been no other formal reports of incidents occurring on the trail.
We have been told that there have been other incidents that are associated with the same suspect, however the Police Department has not received a call. This is a common theme as citizens are hesitant to call 911 unless it is a serious life threatening issue. We encourage our citizens to call 911 whenever they observe suspicious activity.
Because of the increased community concern, we have been conducting additional emphasis patrols on the trail.
There have been no arrests of any subject in relation to the alleged incidents on the trail. A person of interest has been identified. This person has been arrested recently for criminal violations not associated with intimidation on the trail.
Word comes to us tonight that a suspect has been arrested in a case that was described this morning by Renton Blogger Lady P of the Picaroon.
Lady P’s description of events can be found here, and the mayor’s email informing us of the arrest is attached below.
Anyone who has been harassed is encouraged to contact the Renton police department to provide a statement.
From: Denis Law
Sent: Tuesday, January 26, 2010 8:41:37 PM
To: Marcie Palmer; Terry Higashiyama
Cc: Council; Jay B Covington
Subject: Re: Cedar River Trail safety concern
Auto forwarded by a Rule
We will get you some details. A suspect has been arrested.
From: Marcie Palmer
To: Terry Higashiyama
Cc: Council; Jay B Covington; Denis Law
Sent: Tue Jan 26 18:40:10 2010
Subject: Cedar River Trail safety concern
I was surprised to read on the Picaroon blog (http://thepicaroon.blogspot.com/) the info about the creepy weird angry man harassing walkers on the Cedar River Trail. Our family walks this all the time and now I’m scared to do so. Can you advise us of details and anything else we should know please.
Renton Ben has raised questions about the calculation of library costs, with and without annexation to KCLS. The most detailed discussion has been occurring on my blog here , under the unrelated topic of the supreme court justice.
I am taking Ben’s questions seriously, and have passed them along to our city finance director. She has promised to look into the numbers. Mayor Law, who is spending today and tomorrow in Olympia, has also confirmed to me that he is making the review of the numbers a priority and is in contact with his staff by mobile phone.
The costs of joining KCLS, 42 cents per thousand or (50 cents per thousand if KCLS’s prop 1 passes) are not in doubt. However, the calculation of the existing library costs to the city, which have been stated as an equivalent of 26 cents per thousand, are being rechecked.
Mayor Law and I are both in agreement that we need to move quickly. Look for an update tomorrow or Thursday.
UPDATE Wednesday, January 27:
The city published a press release on this topic today. Click here to read it.
Most people were probably unaware that up until today Dan Clawson was STILL trying to pursue his claim that some of us were part of a secret meeting, even after the trial court threw his case out and told him he needed to pay fees.
Today, the court of appeals did the same thing as the trial court, rejecting all Dan’s claims and affirming the trial courts decision that Dan should pay for his bogus claims.
I would go easier on Dan, if not for the fact that when he filed his claim he sent it to every local newspaper, complete with a letter telling the media about all the illegal meetings he thought we had. So, it’s important to me that the news gets out that these meetings were all just in Dan’s head.
The Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) is valued and important to me just as it is to all citizens in our state. I think my affection for this law was part of Dan’s motivation for fabricating his bogus lawsuit. He and I had an argument a half a year before his suit, when I wanted all our email to be made public, and he resisted. I went ahead by myself, and by the end of the week USA Today had covered the fact that I was making all my email public with blogs around the country approving of the move. This left Dan fuming.
Dan was also politically motivated by the mayor’s race, as his lawsuit occurred in the middle of the 2007 campaign season at the peak of a hotly contested race. Dan invented the “facts” he would need to fool voters, and tried to make them seem real by itemizing them as claims in a lawsuit. Then he sent them to the paper. This backfired badly for Dan, becoming a case-study in what NOT to do, as HIS candidate had been the subject of a far,far worse lawsuit years earlier You can read more here in the Seattle Times.
Washington Courts take OPMA very seriously, as can be seen in this story from two weeks ago in which a judge found the Tacoma Council in probable violation. Washington Courts do not let public officials skate by… we ARE held accountable to OPMA.
That is why it was such a travesty that Dan kept this up when he was so clearly wrong about his facts. And now it is finally over.
You can read more background on this case by clicking on the “Dan Clawson” tag at the bottom of this entry.
Here is the Court of Appeals decision on the matter. Dan could theoretically attempt to appeal to the State Supreme Court, but the Supreme Court is allowed to pass on cases, and I’m sure they would given the circumstances. (The appellate court was required to review this case, but they did not allow any oral testimony).
IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON
DAN CLAWSON, )
) No. 62869-1-I
) DIVISION ONE
) UNPUBLISHED OPINION
RANDY CORMAN, DENIS LAW, )
MARCI PALMER, and DON PERSSON, )
Respondents. ) FILED: January 25, 2010
Appelwick, J. — The party seeking to establish a violation of the Open Public
Meetings Act, chapter 42.30 RCW, must demonstrate that members of a governing
body met privately to discuss government business. But, no OPMA violation occurs
if the private meeting does not involve a majority of the governing body. Because
Clawson’s claim of an OPMA violation rests solely on speculative allegations about
the identity of the participating council members, he failed to establish a material
factual issue as to whether a majority of the council members participated in a
private meeting. The trial court therefore properly dismissed his claims on summary
judgment, and we affirm.
….[footnote to decision]…
1 Clawson’s action originally included a second alleged violation of the OPMA involving a council vote on design guidelines, but he has abandoned that claim on appeal.
Here is the full opinion on the Washington Courts website.
Celeste Gracey of the Renton Reporter points out that our state’s highest judge, Barbara Madsen, is a Hazen High graduate.
Ms. Gracey tells us in her education blog here that she is going to work on putting an in-depth story together about the honorable Judge Madsen in a future edition. In the meantime, congratulations to Judge Madsen for her important new post and to Renton School District for this tremendously successful alumna.
Renton native Jacqui Sandor plays jazz bass in New Orleans and teaches music in the New Orleans public schools. Jacqui received her pre-college education from the Renton School District. Washington lawmakers are working to find funding to help maintain our local music programs.
Marcie Maxwell (Representative, 41st district) is co-sponsoring a “Music Matters” bill in Olympia this session, in an effort to raise more funding for school music programs. The bill introduces specialty license plates that raise money for music programs. While the proposed fund-raising method is a relatively small step, it is definitely going in the right direction by re-emphasizing the importance of music education and working to go after every dollar possible. Marcie Maxwell served on Renton School Board before her election to the state legislature.
Here is the story in the Tacoma Daily about this bill.
Marcie Maxwell just sent out this update about her activities in Olympia this session. As a reminder, while we have 15 very dedicated legislators (Reps and Senators) representing different geographic sections of our city in Olympia (parts of Renton are in the 5th, 47th, 11th,37th and 41st districts), Marcie is the only one of them who lives within Renton City Limits. Marcie has an excellent understanding of the issues we face in our city and school district, and she’s had a very effective first term in the legislature. Here is her most recent report:
January 22, 2010
Dear friends and neighbors,
The 2010 Legislative Session is off to a busy start. Days (and evenings) here in Olympia are filled with committee hearings, caucus meetings, constituent visits and more. I encourage everyone to get involved in the legislative process, so if I haven’t yet heard from you, please email or call with your thoughts and ideas about state government.
Nearly 500 responses to my online survey
I appreciate your valuable input about how our state should address current and future challenges. Many of you asked to see the results, so I’m sharing some of that data below. You also added many comments to your surveys and I took the time to read each one. Thank you!
How should the Legislature address the $2.6b budget shortfall? Most of you (43 percent) prefer a combination of program cuts and new revenue, followed by 25 percent for cuts only and 17 percent for new revenue only.
What areas should be cut? The least popular area for cuts is K-12 education, with just 14 percent of you choosing that area. The top areas were fairly evenly divided: 30 percent chose health and social service cuts, 26 percent both for higher-education and criminal justice cuts, and 25 percent chose no cuts at all.
What kind of new revenue should be considered? First, 22 percent of you don’t want to consider new revenue at all. But of the people who do, the overwhelming choice (55 percent) is to increase so-called “sin” taxes on things like cigarettes and liquor. Thirty-five percent support increasing various fees, and 31 percent support an income tax. For brevity’s sake, I’m omitting the lower-ranked options here.
What issues are most important this session? The top four (in order) are the state budget, economy/jobs, K-12 education, and health care.
What education issues are the most important? The top four (in order) are accountability, class size, STEM (science, tech, engineering, math), and teacher compensation.
Where should transportation resources be focused? Most of you (31 percent) want a balanced multi-modal approach, followed by a highway-centric approach (26 percent), and then transit-focused (20 percent).
My committee work this session
I’m eager to serve in an expanded leadership role on the House Education Committee this year as Vice Chair. I’ve also just been appointed to a 4th committee here, Education Appropriations. From my years as a Renton School Board Director to my ongoing participation on the state’s Quality Education Council — which began work on Basic Education implementation and a funding plan last year — education has been and will remain a top priority.
Our current economic conditions and the need to preserve and grow jobs in our region confirm that this is exactly the time to focus on education and its importance to the future quality of life in Washington State. This session I am continuing my role as Vice Chair of the House Community & Economic Development & Trade Committee, where I hear from industry leaders and local communities about the need for skilled talent — STEM programs, internships, worker re-training, innovations, university research and technology transfer, apprenticeships, community and technical college support, and more.
Town Hall meetings
Please join me, Representative Clibborn and Senator Gordon at a town hall meeting in our 41st District on Saturday, February 20th. We hope to see you there as we provide a mid-session overview and answer your questions.
9:30-11 am – Hazelwood Elementary
7100 116th Ave SE
1:30-3 pm – Eastgate Elementary
4255 153rd Ave SE
Your comments and ideas are always welcome and appreciated!
41st District State Representative
Bellevue, Beaux Arts, Issaquah, Mercer Island, Newcastle, and Renton
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News from Councilmember Randy Corman, your Renton City Hall insider. (All views expressed in journal entries are Randy Corman's personal views, and not the official position of the City of Renton or other city employees. Views expressed in reader comments are those of the commenter)