I am responding to Jim McKiernan’s editorial in the June
15 Valley Record. I am very concerned about several of the statements
made in the article starting with the title “Parking proposal process just
starting.” I strongly question the use of the term “just starting.” The site is
already selected, designs have been drafted, Federal grants have been applied
for and received, King County has had dedicated staff working on it for
more than eight months, a resolution to “plan, design and build” the Park
and Ride has been passed.
All this occurred prior to any public input or even awareness that
there was a project. City legal counsel told me (following the June 6
council meeting) that there is already enough momentum to ensure that a
permit application will be filed. This means that the city’s statements that we
are “early in the process” as well as
Mr. McKiernan’s, are clearly inaccurate. By the city’s own statements, a
permit application will be filed regardless of how many concerns and
questions are raised by residents and regardless of how little supporting evidence
there is to justify the project.
As for e-mails to the city council and mayor, it is noble to suggest
that “a face-to-face meeting would be better.” However, I must remind
Mr. McKiernan that only one councilmember was present at
the May 24 open house speaking with concerned residents
“face-to-face.” The rest, including the mayor, did
not attend. Furthermore, they have been advised by legal counsel not to
meet face-to-face with the community prior to the filing of a formal application.
Once filed, they are not allowed to speak face-to-face with
residents outside of public hearings. I know first hand of many e-mails that
responsibly presented legitimate questions and concerns. Mr. McKiernan neglected
to mention any of those.
To Mr. McKiernan’s remark “let’s not subvert the process,” I say,
“let’s not suppress democracy.” I
encourage everyone concerned about the idea of building a Park and Ride in a
downtown residential area to send e-mail, send letters, attend council
meetings, demand facts and let your opinions be heard now.
Unlike Mr. McKiernan, I assume that most people are reasonable
and courteous. It is irresponsible to blame the whole for the actions of a few.
As for the pros/cons of e-mail, would paper and a stamp really add
credibility? The opposition is, and will continue, using all available means
Indeed, there will be opportunities for input later in this process.
However, this idea is so poorly conceived and so poorly supported that it
makes one wonder why we are even discussing it in the first place, let alone
sitting back and waiting until it is time for a vote.