EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is an opinion column written by SeaTac resident Earl Gipson. It does not necessarily reflect the viewpoints of The SeaTac Blog, nor South King Media or its staff:
By Earl Gipson
Hello readers. I have been quiet for some time now but it is time for me to speak once again (and at length).
I have made mistakes
In the 2015 elections I touted the integrity of then challenger, now Councilmember Forschler. What happened to him? I don’t know but former “friend” Forschler and I no longer have anything in common (my brain still functions, too). Former Mayor Siefkes had everyone fooled and when his personal dealings came to light he resigned and fled the state never to practice law again. Mr. Forschler is not running for re-election and with Mr. Siefke’s tire tracks still fresh, enough said on those two. No matter how smart/intuitive we may think we are, any of us can be scammed and fooled, humans that we all are.
Let us get to the Council election at hand.
Challengers/Newcomers don’t know diddly/not trying to learn either
Ms. Merryweather, Mr. Gobena, Ms. Negusse, and Mr. Egal have been absent at Council Meetings, Committee meetings, and Planning Commission Meetings (except for Mr. Gobena’s cameo appearances at a few Council meetings where he captured his 3 minutes of camera time during Public Comment and promptly left). These are the places you learn how the City is run. Active listeners will develop an understanding of municipal language, budgets, procedures and planning. The incumbents all attended many of these meetings BEFORE they even ran/were appointed to the SeaTac Council. From what I can see, the challengers (should they win) will “hit the ground falling.”
Racism This and Racism That
The constant drumbeat of an all white racist Council by the challengers (and their supporters) in a minority City is a contrived issue. One thing the City of SeaTac has never had is a racist Council. The last Majority Council that was ousted in the 2015 elections weren’t racist they just treated everyone like crap and had non-existent ethics. We are all mainly just bags of water that talk. What you look like, your gender, and other aesthetics do not define your judgment or character. These false accusations and rhetoric serves no one in this City. If that is your election strategy you do not deserve to hold power here or anywhere else.
Money, Money, Money
Today’s incumbents do not seem to be great fundraisers but they shouldn’t need to be.
Record money has been donated to the challengers by entities mostly not from the City of SeaTac. (See here -Filter on SeaTac) We have yet to see the Independent Spending that was so prevalent at the tail end of the 2015 and 2011 campaigns for the then incumbents. This usually shows up at the end of the game.
The City is now well run, our finances were put in order, and inherited problems resolved (for the most part).
1.The Firs Mobile Homes issue was between the City staff, the Hearing Examiner, state and local law. The Council could not intervene without violating those laws regardless how the misguided Rep. Gregerson tried to politically/legally entangle them. CM Peter Kwon personally made the extraordinary effort to lobby Olympia and together with Rep. Cindy Ryu, 32nd District (here) got legislation passed to increase compensation at the state level (no help from our 33rd Dems).
2. The City of SeaTac is lawfully selling the SeaTac Center property. The intent of the purchase, per the Agenda Bill (here), was redevelopment and should have happened years ago rather than a decade later.
In my opinion this should have been a straight up business transaction no different than Northgate Mall whose tenants are also being displaced. They didn’t get 9 years notice like the SeaTac Center tenants have, nor the discounted rents.
The current political fallout is a result of decisions dating back years. The continued mess has been fueled by bad advice, lack of business acumen, incompetence, and those wishing to capitalize politically from those less informed. Representative Gregerson comes to mind immediately (again). She was on the SeaTac Council for some time during the unlawful acquisition, fought against a SeaTac lawful Code of Ethics and continues to agitate claiming discrimination whenever she gets an opportunity. She was voted off the SeaTac Council in 2015 for more reasons than I can name in this brief summation.
Moving forward there is great opportunity for the displaced tenants. My advice would be to find a temporary home for your businesses while the demolition/reconstruction of SeaTac Center progresses. Do whatever it takes to secure space in the new first floor retail area. You will have at least 600 new households/customers over your heads when it opens. The construction start projection of 01/20 is ambitious. The permitting and demolition alone may take that long, however the building cannot be safely occupied during that.
3. After a decade of effort the current Council unanimously enacted a City wide enforceable Code of Ethics. Considering the actions of past councils this was no small feat. I hope any incoming staff or Councilmembers read the damn thing because we are watching.
4. The intentional $3 million budget deficit handed to this Council by the outgoing Majority Council in 2015 has been resolved and our reserves/expenditures/revenues are where they should be.
5. The last minute extension of the lousy Interlocal Agreement with the Port by the outgoing 2015 Majority Council has expired. The old ILA extended a bad deal for the City for years to come. With City Manager Joe Scorcio and the new Majority Council this agreement was re-written and we now have resources and control over funds we did not previously have (but should have had).
We learn nothing from those who agree with us all the time. Fueling division and bigotry is something we should not be learning, practicing and/or teaching. The deeds/decisions of the sitting Majority SeaTac Council on behalf of its residents have been consistent in regards to the benefits to all and not for or against one group or another. Those who attempt to make this Council election about race/division will NEVER get my vote no matter how much they spend trying.
Cactus song for the column
Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Tears for Fears-1985: