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No common sense in Enumclaw Library annexation | Letter
Editor's note: The following letter written March 20 was emailed to city officials and The Courier-Herald.
It is with a mixture of regret and relief that I submit my resignation from the Enumclaw Library Advisory Board effective immediately. When first appointed, I looked forward to working with both library and city staff to help ensure the (Enumclaw) library maintained its high standards as a core service to the community.
Now at age 93, I am one year younger than the library and both the library and I have seen much over these years, but in all candor, I never expected such a sad turn of events with the policies of your administration and City Council. A key platform of your election campaign was to ensure a full and open democratic government. Your promise and the excellence of our library and staff gave me great confidence in keeping our library strong and able to maintain its specialized services to our unique community.
Instead, our library advisory board and library director were purposefully excluded from all discussions with King County Library System (KCLS) personnel. Even after library board chairman Mr. Fred Fleischmann hand-delivered a letter to you Dec. 20, 2010, with a list of board questions and concerns on KCLS annexation (a list specifically requested by Mr. Thomas), neither you nor he ever responded back to the board. Your appointed library advisory board was never allowed to participate in any discussions on alternative funding options, never asked for our opinion, and when we did make comment, were told we should not disagree with city policy. You and the council have refused to honor the mandate in Section 3 of Resolution 1396 that alternative options other than annexation to KCLS would be investigated.
In a documented meeting with my son-in-law April 4, 2011, both you and Mr. Thomas said city staff would help the library director create a 10-year budget and set up a committee to carefully look at alternative funding options. You never followed through.
You both also clearly said that same April day no matter what, the library would never be closed – it was too important to current and potential new members of the community. But now we hear from some council members (apparently with your implied silent consent), that the only alternative to KCLS annexation is library closure. Where is the common sense in this, and more importantly, the honor and integrity we expect of our elected representatives?
The KCLS levy is a new tax. Do you and council really think your constituents are that blind to believe you are honoring your promise to not raise taxes when you are again outsourcing the parts that makes us a city?
Just as you did with the fire department, you are allowing our citizens to be taxed by outside agencies for community resources that were formerly city responsibilities. Why not be honest and tell citizens the entire story; that you may need to raise city taxes in order to keep the parts that make a city "a city." At least city-levied taxes for the library are guaranteed to stay in Enumclaw fully under our control and would be less than the 50 cents per 1,000 KCLS levy. It appears you are unwilling to speak the truth out of fears of near-term political backlash, but willing to denigrate a 94-year institution of this city and allow an outside agency to tax your citizens.
Your administration’s exclusion of the library board and director from discussions on KCLS annexation is not what I ever expected, and you as mayor are ultimately responsible and should be ashamed. Such exclusion and dismissal of your board by Mr. Thomas is clearly evident in how he, as de facto library director, scheduled library board meetings to meet his requirements, and then on March 13, 2012, showing no professional courtesy, failed to let anyone know he was not going to make the meeting. (This was due to more than a busy day when he simply forgot.)
I no longer care to expend my efforts within the city's corrupt atmosphere of closed-door politics. I was not then, and will not in the future, be intimidated from getting the true word out. As a young man, I fought for freedom in World War II and now I will exercise my freedom as a citizen of these United States of America. I will not be constrained by shortsighted petty politics and undemocratic behavior that are now leading to such a sad state of affairs in Enumclaw’s city government.
I am very disappointed in you, Mayor Reynolds.
Charles V. Sansone