Weekly Update: 01/05/20

This Week

This is an ACTION-PACKED WEEK! 😀 Sprinkled throughout the week are short “Hi There!” meetings to various CCs in other airport communities. I kind of have a leg up in that I already know at least a few CCs in all six cities as part of my ‘airporty’ stuff over the years. But it’s important to me to get to know as many people as possible because I want more cooperation between the Cities on a whole range of regional issues.

Monday at 1:00pm I’ll be at a public meeting on the Dept. Of Commerce Study On Sea-Tac Airport at City Of SeaTac City Hall on 188th. If you are concerned about airport issues, I urge you to attend. Frankly, there are real concerns that the  study has gone off the rails. This is a chance for the study team to provide some answers. Why you should care? The practical reason for the study is to get money for our communities to fight the noise and pollution. But there is a truism in politics: Without quality data there is no problem. And this study is not based on on new data. So far it has largely been put together with information going back as far as 1997. Think of it this way: If you are a lawmaker from Eastern Washington with no great concern about ‘airports’, it makes it hard for you to vote for money for Des Moines residents if you’re presented with a weak study. We need to fix this now. Even if you are not familiar with the issues, this is a good place to get up to speed.

Tuesday is the first Port Of Seattle Commission Meeting of the year. The new Commissioner Sam Cho will be sworn in. I’ll also be attending the first Water District #54 Commission Meeting of the year. Relations with all the local utilities have been strained in recent years over the utility taxes and I want to work on improving that.

Wednesday will be my first meeting with the entire City Senior Staff. In past years, City Council had much greater access to City employees for the purpose of inquiry. The new policy set down by our City Manager is to require that all inquiry go through his office. I’ve got literally years of questions I’ve been waiting to get answers to so it will be interesting to see how they handle that. One of my big campaign issues was transparency.

Thursday starts with a meeting of the State Airport Siting Committee. Our own Steve Edmiston is one of the sole Citizen Members (which is great). The thing to think about is: How will a second airport help Des Moines? It doesn’t help us if the airport is too far away or only handles a small number of flights. The challenge is, I’ll be blunt here: other cities aren’t stupid. They see how bad the relationship is here at Sea-Tac and they (understandably) are skeptical of a new airport next door with another Port Of Seattle.

Thursday is also the first City Council Meeting of the year and the debut of Anthony Martinelli and moi. (If you can’t be there, it’s on Channel #21) There will be a five minute swearing-in ceremony at the beginning which I hope you will attend. There will also be the election of the next Mayor and Deputy Mayor (whose identities, sadly are already pretty much a fait a compli.) There will also be a presentation by COO Dan Brewer on the Woodmont landslides.

And also, right away we’ll need to address the worst kept secret of 2019: Namely, the resignation of Deputy Mayor Vic Pennington.


I’ll have a few more words on that process below.

Last Week

I mostly took last week off. However I did have my first meeting with City Manager Michael Matthias and City Clerk Bonnie Wilkins who gave me ‘the tour’ of the City–from an economic development standpoint. As some of you know, Mr. Matthias is not ‘just’ our City Manager, but also our Economic Development Director so it’s important for me to understand what his vision is for growing the business sectors here. I am skeptical about several of the City’s current long-term plans, but the one thing we completely agree on is the concept of ‘steps’ connecting 223rd down to the Marina Floor. My hope is to focus his team’s execution on the ideas we all agree on.


The replacement process for a City Councilmember who resigns is pretty simple: The City issues a call for applicants, then a few weeks later, the six remaining CCs will vote to choose a replacement. That new CC will serve out Vic’s regular term which ends in in December of 2021.

I gotta be honest: I am not a fan of appointments. They are inherently un-democratic. In Des Moines in particular, we have had far more than our share of un-elected CCs over the past two decades. In addition to the four or five appointees, if you throw in all the un-opposed campaigns it comes to a very small pool of people who have actually run competitive elections.

That said, this is your chance to apply and I urge you to do so. You can serve. Because, frankly, if you don’t apply, you’ll just get someone that the current Council has already pre-selected. I know that sounds snippy, but we always seem to draw from the same very small pool of people and it leads to a certain elitism and in-breeding which just ain’t healthy for a government of any size. If you don’t like how things have been going? That’s a big part of the reason. There was a lot of talk during the election about ‘diversity’. Well to me that also means a broader range of opinions. I ran specifically to provide a different point of view from the existing Council. And if you think that’s a good idea, you should think about stepping up as well. Because the fact is: running a campaign is work. This is the lowest bar of entry you’ll ever have if you want to serve.