Insulting the staff, by councilman-wannabe

John Galvin wants to be a city councilman, with oversight of the city staff via the city manager. Yet for years, Galvin has regularly abused the staff with verbal and written insults and intimidation.

Two recent examples are just the tip of the iceberg.

In an email (March 31, 2011, 8:09 am), Galvin wrote Eric La France on the staff in which he said, in part:

“If you and Ms. Currey [another staff member] are prepared to put your so called professional judgement (sic) to a practical, real life test, then you will make an appearance. We will have video cameras to record your visit and comments.” He goes on to write, “so-called scientists like you” and “Personally, I have lost respect for your professional judgement (sic).”

In an email (June 15, 2011, 9:26am), to council member John Curley, titled “Pull the other leg,” Galvin wrote about the community center process:

“[Consultant] Herbet’s presentation on a 12 person focus group was a complete con job.” And: “The entire process is a con job. The Kellman property was the desired outcome….No talk about funding means this is a fake plan….”

Galvin likes to brag he has a PhD in psychology. Even a first-year psychology student knows that insulting, berating and intimidating people is poor psychology. Galvin deserves a refund of his degree.

Protecting neighborhoods and televising more meetings

Sammamish has a major controversy over whether to remove barriers to increase traffic connectivity. Among the concerns neighborhoods have in removing barriers are speeding cars.

Here’s one solution.

  • Sammamish has decided to start televising planning commission and city council workshop meetings. This is long overdue and was urged by the Planning Commission a few years ago in a formal proposal, but kudos to the city for at long last proceeding down this road (the barricades were finally removed, apparently). This will improve communication between the city government and its citizens.

A hard, but correct decision

City Manager Ben Yacizi made a hard, but correct decision when he halted the City’s recent review of the shoreline ordinary high water mark regulations.

An outgrowth of the flawed Shoreline Master Plan update, this separate city-citizen review came to a halt when it was revealed by a Lake Sammamish homeowner not involved in the process that the lead city employee, Eric La France, was friends with a key official of the City’s outside consultant, and had socialized with him shortly before the contract was award.

The Sammamish Review has this story and the Sammamish Reporter has this one, both detailing that the appearance of fairness demanded that the current effort be ended and restarted.

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Bad decision for Town Center

In a budget-cutting move, Sammamish City Manager Ben Yacizi eliminated the job of Michael Mathias, who had headed the Town Center development plan for the past several years.

Mathias, hired as an expert with experience in developing Town Centers, worked with the Planning Commission and then the City Council to develop the Town Center Plan and its regulations.

Unlike the others on the Community Development staff, or anywhere else in City administration or City Council, Mathias has key knowledge for public-private partnerships, finding creative financing and grants and understanding some key, intricate details of financial and developmental concerns of developers that will–or shall we say, “would”–be crucial to proceeding with the development of the Town Center.

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“Bias, extremism” and the city staff

The Sammamish Reporter had an article August 13 entitled “Accusations of bias, extremism made against city,” in which the staff, “in a remarkably personal attack,” was accused of environmental extremism and bias in enforcing the Critical Areas Ordinance.

While I don’t agree with the characterizations, the underlying issue of over-zealous interpretation of the ordinance is only the tip of the iceberg. But not for reasons of the critics cited in the article.

The staff is sincere and tries to do a good job. But it is short-staffed, overworked and sometimes ill-advised by others in efforts to do its job.

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