Letter to the editor: Council should find way to purchase Perrinville property

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Dear editor:

There are obviously differences of opinions as to the value of the natural environments in Edmonds. Some individuals espouse that preserving a watershed and wildlife habitat is far less important than clear-cutting, re-grading steep slopes and the filling of deep ravines and wetlands to make way for additional housing.

The property at issue here is known as “Angler’s Crossing”, a 5.47-acre woodland, located between Seaview Park and Perrinville. It is also the only undeveloped part of the Perrinville Creek watershed. If this site were allowed to be clear-cut and covered with impervious surfaces like asphalt, concrete and roofing materials, any stormwater that falls on the property would become polluted run-off rather than infiltrated into the soil.

Building out every greenbelt to provide tax dollars to the City is not always a responsible way to manage stormwater runoff and our natural resources. The Edmonds Comprehensive Plans supports our views as it also recognizes the need for the retention of open space and development of recreational opportunities. Additionally, it calls for the conservation of fish and wildlife habitat, and to increase the access to natural resource lands and water, and the development of parks.

Contrary to others’ beliefs, preserving and protecting the Angler’s Crossing area is not being short-sighted. This wooded watershed needs to be preserved not only for future generations but in attaining the goals of “Puget Sound Starts Here”.

Our homeowner group who advocates for preserving this watershed also wants to be actively involved in the development of this site as a passive recreational area. We feel there is real value in providing a year-round unique recreational and educational experience for all visitors, regardless of age, over and beyond that which neighboring parks offer.

It is for those reasons that we have been urging City Council to find a financial way forward to purchase the other 4.8 acres of this watershed.

Duane Farmen
Edmonds

40 COMMENTS

  1. For the developer to call the proposed new housing development in Perrinville “Angler’s Corner” is especially ironic when you consider the importance of mature conifers in preventing storm water runoff and soil erosion which are so harmful to fish, such as our iconic salmon. We wish the citizens of Perrinville much luck in protecting the woodland but do not count on City, County or State protection. The political deck is stacked in favor of land developers and against preservation of our environment. We know; we’ve been there (in SW Edmonds.)

  2. I guess the proposed name is Angler’s Crossing. In any case, the deck is stacked at all government levels due to the constant push to generate more tax revenues, regardless of the impact on the environment and livability of communities.

    • Cliff:
      The Edmonds city council has generally been weighted against development since the beginning of 2008 – there has been nothing built in the BD zones, development agreements have not been approved, the redevelopment of Harbor Square has been thwarted, etc.

  3. Mr. Farmen,

    Why is it necessary for the City Council to spend taxpayer money in order to preserve this watershed? Why not follow Benjamin Franklin’s example and create a private trust to purchase the land?

    In 1731, Franklin organized a group of friends to create a subscription library. Each person he recruited donated a sum of money (initially forty shillings) and pledged additional money on a yearly basis (ten shillings a year for fifty years). It seems to me that you could easily find a public-minded attorney who would help you create a trust to purchase the land and protect it from development. All you need are enough civic-minded donors who would pledge the money to fund the trust. In addition to not further burdening the tax payer, such a trust would surely be better protection from development than the whims of a City Council whose members could change to a less conservationally-minded majority at any given election. Your “Angler’s Crossing Preservation Trust” would be a permanent protection.

    Might I suggest that if you cannot find enough resources to protect the watershed in this way, then you surely have no legitimate call to ask the City Council to spend public money on this project.

    Respectfully,
    Allen McPheeters

  4. Mr. Farmen,

    Former Mayor Gary Haakenson wrote an article that was published in a local newspaper on September 8, 2005. His article stated that the City is boxed in by two contradictory laws: one is to protect critical areas and the second is our duty to allow for “reasonable use” on private property. The article continued by stating that there is a third solution, the City could just simply buy these types of wetlands in order to protect and preserve them. Former Mayor Haakenson stated that available funds for such a purchase could come from the parks acquisition fund, and that he believed matching grant funds could be found as well.

    Former Mayor Haakenson finished by stating that he would recommend to the council that we find a way to purchase that site from the property owner and include it in our park land inventory.

    On October 18, 2005, the City Council conducted an executive session and decided to buy the related lot (located across Main Street from the Wade James Theatre) for $199,675 (1 of 3 lots purchased by the private owner for a total of $175,000 months earlier). Why the City did not buy the other two lots for our park land inventory is an unknown mystery.

    Based on former Mayor Haakenson’s comments and the related precedent established, it is easy to understand why a citizen of Edmonds might hope the City will make an effort to buy this type of property in order to protect and preserve them.

  5. Mr. Reidy,

    I’m not sure if your comment was intended for me (Mr. Farmen is the original letter writer).

    I can certainly see why, based on past precedent, a citizen of Edmonds might hope that City would make such an effort. However, I think your story illustrates at least part of my point. The City did not purchase the other two lots, and the reason is a mystery.

    Why not take control of the situation and form a group to buy the land? If you can get enough subscribers, the costs to each individual would be relatively light and would be borne by people who are truly committed to the preservation of the wetlands. Private ownership could protect that land forever; public ownership protects it only until the City changes its mind and decides to sell it off to a developer.

    Respectfully,
    Allen McPheeters

    • Mr. McPheeters, My comment was for Mr. Farmen, but I imagined you would read it also. You provide excellent, valuable information about the Trust concept. My point was meant to make sure the precedent established in 2005 was known. Thanks.

  6. Ken, I do not know the details but the purchase of the property across from Wade James was a strange deal. I recall it related to some work by the lot owner to create a natural area without city approval. There were some strange transactions on the property that show on the county records. The area on the north side of main and east of 9th has some strange history as far as assessments. Some of that land is owned by a family trust of a former City Council member and the evaluations have not been consistent with nearby properties. I am guessing that the city could have purchased the property but the owner wanted to make a profit in excess of the evaluations. The evaluations of property in this are have very wide variations ranging from $80,000 per acre to over 10 times that amount.

    My point is that this area has some strange things about it that are not likely to be used as president for other areas of town.

  7. My suggestion, instead of begging the City to consider buying it – how about getting a group together, creating an NPO, apply to federal and state governments for grants, begin fund raising, and buy the property, and improve it. How about establishing (and/or) increasing the homeowners association fees in your neighborhood, and buying the parcel and putting a park or nature trail or whatever you deem on it?

    I agree completely with Mr. McPheeters –

  8. Thanks for your thoughts Darrol. I have a high level of respect for you as well as your right to express your opinion. In this case, I strongly disagree and believe the City’s 2005 property purchase to be a strong precedent with many similarities.

    I am not positive, but I think the property I am talking about is to the west of the property that a private citizen wanted to allow the public to visit as a natural area.

    I think Mr. McPheeters point is excellent. With hindsight, I think that would have been a great way to address the property across from the Wade James Theatre. However, I think a different precedent was established.

    That precedent relates to the following:

    “There is a third solution, and that is that the City could just simply buy these types of wetlands in order to protect and preserve them. Available funds for such a purchase could come from the parks acquisition fund, and I believe matching grant funds could be found as well.”

  9. Mr. Reidy,

    With all due respect, what is preventing these private citizens from buying the property? Why is the City the first line of defense? The third solution is not a viable option, given that the City has interests both fiscally and tax base wise that are diametrically opposed to buying the property. Hand outs are great – but the City need not worry about hand outs in this case. There are interested and well-heeled property owners that can organize and increase their property values at the same time, without placing a requirement on a local government that will tax their already overtaxed staff. Why not a private HOA investment? Why not a private organization or non-profit? If we are going to inhibit private development of the property – then we (as the City) are doing our part by not offering permits to develop. The rest – it is in the hands of the landowners.

    I like your comments and research, and value your opinion, obviously you spend time researching these issues, but I ask the community, when did the City or any government set a precedent that requires them to buy this property, or any property? An elected official 9 years ago made a statement – that does not set precedent.

    I thoroughly encourage private and libertarian movements where neighborhoods are concerned – if the property is that valuable to their futures – then they should invest accordingly.

    Just my two cents.

  10. Mr. Bennett – Please forgive me if I somehow declared that something is preventing these private citizens from buying the property, or that the City is the first line of defense. My intent was simply to point out that I think a precedent was established in 2005. If so, I find it easy to understand why a citizen of Edmonds might hope the City might make an effort to buy this type of property in order to protect and preserve it.

    Mr. McPheeters makes a very thought provoking comment: “Private ownership could protect that land forever; public ownership protects it only until the City changes its mind and decides to sell it off to a developer.”

    A quick glance at the City’s zoning map indicates that the single (1) lot (.23 acres) purchased by the City during October of 2005 for $199,675 is still ZONED RS-6. The $199,675 paid for 1 lot was $24,675 more than the owner had recently purchased three (3) lots for (totaling .61 acres). Was the City’s Parks Acquisition Fund and possibly matching grant funds used to buy residential property and leave it zoned residential? Why did the appraisal used by the City state that it was subject to the extraordinary assumption that the reasonable use exempton is granted?

    I do not know if buying property zoned for residential use and leaving it zoned residential is a practice of the City of Edmonds, especially when Parks Acquisition funds are used.

    It would be nice to obtain an inventory of City owned property that is zoned for residential use. If the City owns this lot on Main Street and perhaps other property zoned residential, what is the public purpose? Should the City sell these residential properties and put the money towards a different public need? Should the City rezone the property and develop parks and/or take steps to permanently protect the properties, especially if they contain critical areas?

    Also, I’ve long been curious whether or not this 2005 City purchase of a .23 acre property located in a critical area somehow had an impact on the development of other properties located in critical areas.

  11. Ken, It should be a simple public records request or some how get the city to post properties it owns on the website

  12. Thanks Don, I would like to see the City provide a list of properties owned by the City that are located on property zoned RESIDENTIAL.

    I believe one such property is the .23 acre property located at 951 Main Street.

    An article was published November 1, 2005 that discussed that public outcry had prompted a deal with a developer in which Edmonds paid $200,000 to buy one of his properties across from the Driftwood Players’ Wade James Theatre. The article discussed the following, and more:

    1. The property was just south of Shell Creek and an adjoining wetland.

    2. Former Mayor Gary Haakenson said he proposed the purchase after a neighborhood meeting at which he heard nearby residents’ protests of the single-family home the builder planned for the property.

    3. Residents stated that the creek ravine is home to many kinds of wildlife, including salmon.

    4. The city used money from its park acquisition fund, a fund that contained about $1.5 million according to former Mayor Haakenson.

    5. That the former Mayor also commented about many more parcels in there that the City would like to acquire in the long run.

    I do not know if Step 5 resulted in the City buying more parcels.

  13. The Snohomish County Council voted unanimously Wednesday to buy roughly 40 acres of land including a peat bog/wetland known as Hooven Bog for about $1.6 million. A developer had wanted to build luxury homes in the area.

    It has been reported elsewhere that the county received more than 150 letters of support from people advocating conservation of the related property. County leaders apparently still need to decide how to pay for the purchase.

  14. Hats off to the TREES OF SUMMER, WINTER, SPRING & FALL today! Get rid of those paper towels……use cloth rags, over and over and over
    CONSERVATION, care of wildlife, our forests, water, air we breathe, etc. NOW is the FUTURE in this country…….Many lessons to be learned from the development done across the country in the past 30-40 years……..and what has been lost in many cases. Time to get past OLD SCHOOL ideas and look to the FUTURE with more CREATIVE ideas for development, not necessarily tearing down whole green areas and building inexpensive housing, for short term financial gains for a select few.

    Hooray for the Snohomish County Council for LISTENING to the citizens and what they are advocating. It is the sign of the times and the key our future and our children’s future

    On another note……The United States is pushing forth new “tank standards” NEXT WEEK in regards to safety issues with oil shipping (Bakken comes to mind) and the long tanks rolling by along our waterfront)……according to the Transportation Department, its proposed rules would include “options for enhancing tank car standards”…….We need to move very FAST now and FOLLOW Canada’s lead in regards to this…………YES!

  15. Tere Ryder,

    I’m not sure that receiving “more than 150 letters of support” constitutes “LISTENING to to the citizens and what they are advocating” in a county with over 121,000 registered voters and nearly 746,000 residents. Without knowing how many, if any, letters of opposition the council received, or how the other 99.98% of the people feel, the best you can say is that a small cadre of activist succeeded in using $1.6 million in taxpayer dollars for their pet project.

    Randy Whalen and the good folks at Bear Creek Headwaters (http://www.bearcreekhw.org) could have tried to raise the $1.6M themselves, purchased the land, and preserved it on a more permanent basis. Instead, they’ve taken the easier way of persuading the Snohomish County Council to purchase the land, which protects it only until the membership of the council changes and sees a way to make more money/get reelected by selling it off.

    In my opinion, private ownership of the land by interested conservationists is a superior solution, both environmentally and morally. It’s environmentally superior, because the land is protected by people who truly believe in protecting it. It’s morally superior, because it doesn’t depend on using other people’s money for the pet projects of a few. It’s more difficult, but most worthwhile things are.

    Respectfully,
    Allen McPheeters

    • Allen:
      This statement of yours is one of the most logical ones I’ve seen posted on this site:
      “In my opinion, private ownership of the land by interested conservationists is a superior solution, both environmentally and morally. It’s environmentally superior, because the land is protected by people who truly believe in protecting it. It’s morally superior, because it doesn’t depend on using other people’s money for the pet projects of a few. It’s more difficult, but most worthwhile things are.”

      • A Citizen’s desire for public purchase of land is easier to understand when one considers the following two elements of the Growth Management act:

        (9) Open space and recreation. Retain open space, enhance recreational opportunities, conserve fish and wildlife habitat, increase access to natural resource lands and water, and develop parks and recreation facilities.

        (10) Environment. Protect the environment and enhance the state’s high quality of life, including air and water quality, and the availability of water.

      • These are not “pet projects of a few”……..and I’m not sure what “morally superior” means……but I do know that the people that have believed that they should have DOMINION OVER THE LAND at all cost, no matter what cost to the environment, for short term financial gain, are out of step with the rest of the world……………We should ALL be CONSERVATIONISTS to save our environment from further damage and deterioration…….We’ve managed to do to our environment in a mere 60 years what hasn’t been done to the planet in thousands of years.

        I would say it is AMORAL what many, many developers have been doing to our environment. …..are you saying if we want to SAVE our Planet from more destruction , we have to BUY IT?!

  16. Allen has some very interesting thoughts. Basically it boils down to the idea of the role of using tax dollars in buying land for purposes other then providing basic services. Looking at Edmonds as an example raises the question of what lands do we as a city own and why. Ken Reedy has outlined some thoughts about using tax dollars to buy land in other posts but what I find interesting is that is very difficult to find out what we own and why. Maybe the first step to a more complete understanding of the idea of using tax dollars to buy public land is to inventory what we currently own and try to find out why. While we may have had a reason to buy land in the past does it still make sense on a parcel by parcel basis? Are there parcels that can be put to better use by selling them and increasing our tax base to lower the tax burden for all?

  17. Now because of Snohomish County’s actions, I simply find it even easier to understand why a citizen of Edmonds might hope the City might make an effort to buy property like Angler’s Crossing in order to protect and preserve it.

    Still hoping that somebody from the City will explain the City’s public purpose for holding the .23 acre lot located across Main Street from the Wade James Theatre. What does the City intend to do with that land?

    Also, why were the other 2 lots left in private hands? Should all three lots have been purchased at the same time? Should the related property have been rezoned or included in our park land inventory as mentioned by former Mayor Haakenson?

  18. Solid points by all – Darrol, I agree that a great first step to take would be to obtain an inventory what we currently own and try to find out why. Don Hall is right, should be a simple public record request – I’ve simply been too lazy to make such request. Anybody else care to do this as a joint request so they know multiple citizens are interested?

  19. Ken, there are 3 parcels across from Wade James in private ownership. County records are a puzzle. The value of these parcels and the building one them have vacillated over time in ways that are hard to understand when compared to how other property is evaluated in Edmonds.

    On the public records request issue that is one way to proceed and that would cause costs upon the city and will not solve the issues of transparency. I would strongly support a discussion with council members to develop a process to create a list of ALL publicly owned land and the reasons for public ownership. The council has continued to suggest that “transparency” is very important. It was also an important ideas supported by the Strategic Plan. I would be happy to support a way for council to step up to this in a way that all the citizens, voters, tax payers could see more information about our town.

    Anyone care to help?

  20. Hi Darrol – happy to help. I’ll email you my phone number shortly.

    I see that Parcels 00434206702700, 00434206702100 & 00434206701700 are City owned lots zoned residential.

    The two that were left in private hands when the City purchased 00434206702700 back in October of 2005 were 00434206701200 and 00434206701400.

  21. It would be better if the council would just direct some staff person to compile a list and post it on the web site. I have been told a a citizen asked a council member to post pending and settled law suites on the web site a few months ago but it hasnt happened yet. I start to question the phrase transparent gov. Lets hope a council member will step up and get the job done on both issues

  22. F.O.I.A. requests go directly to the City Clerk of Edmonds. A new LAW has been passed recently (in the past month) in regards to F.O.I.A. request to EDUCATE & standardize the City Clerks in regards to F.O.I.A. requests…… The new law was put in place because the TRANSPARENCY has been very LOW……Saying, “it cost the city money” doesn’t work anymore and has been just an excuse for government entities NOT being TRANSPARENT………and clearly has been a way for many cities to NOT have a TRANSPARENT GOVERNMENT…….The City Clerk of Edmonds prior to the one Edmonds has now even made a comment to the media of how it costs so much money…… When I did F.O.I.A. request in this city I did not receive some requests because (which I knew wasn’t true) “you have the wrong page number”, and this one by someone that CLEARLY wasn’t the City Clerk of Edmonds, “you can’t have that information”……

  23. Don,

    The Council does not direct staff, the Mayor does. Your request that all properties owned by the City of Edmonds be posted on the city website should be made to Mayor Dave Earling.

    Thanks for your continued interest in transparency and open government.

  24. The process of open and transparent government has at its root the two branches of local government: council and administration. While it is true that council does not direct staff they can and do ask staff for information. Examples are endless and staff generally complies in a timely fashion. If they cannot comply because of workloads or motivation then they can delay or avoid providing the information based on staff availability and work load issues. Council can solve this issue with a budget amendment to provide the money for helping staff. Council does this all the time by authorizing fund for consultants or other temporary measures to get projects done.

    This should not be a finger pointing deal of Mayor vs Council. It should be guided by transparency, open government and accountability. All three of these issues and more garnered a large majority of support from the voters in the statistically valid survey done for the Strategic Action Plan, are assigned to Council for implementation. Council has approved the SAP by a vote of 6 to 1. I will be asking the new council member at the coffee with Harry this week how he would have voted on approving the SAP. My guess is he would say yes but even if he said no that would still make the vote 5 to 2 for the SAP

    So if Council voted in favor of the SAP is that alone enough to set into motion activities that are Council responsibilities? Or does it take a specific resolution or something from Council to more issues like accountability and transparency along?

    Maybe an alternative course is for Don, Ken Reidy and others who are interested in such a list and have compiled a particle list already to write a letter, get some voters to sign it, ask individual council members to sign it and then give it to the Mayor. The council should be prepared to fund the request if the current work load prevents completion in a timely manor.

    We are all in this together and in the interest of good, open, transparent, and responsive government let’s get on with it. Any one want to help?

  25. Actually Council Member Bloom, I have not asked anybody for any lists, just agreeing with Ken Reidy. Darrol I would be happy to help

  26. clarification to above comment. Thanks Joan for your clarifaction of what a citizen should do. When a council member is asked for some information they of course can go to the mayor with that request on behalf of the citizen which is what I was trying to get at.

  27. From what I have seen, we are NOT ALL in this TOGETHER. here…..Therein lies the problem. The more TRANSPARENT a city, the FEWER reasons to have to get information using the federal F.O.I.A requests……AND! THAT is exactly WHY the law came to be.

    It wasn’t until 1974 (Watergate, remember?!!) that this law really got its greatest strength, and that is why it is the BEST LEGAL TOOL for regular citizens and reporters to make govt. entities transparent in their dealings, business and actions always.

    Again, F.O.I.A. requests go to the CITY CLERK, who by now needs to start getting on board with the new standardization of what City Clerks have to do (training) regarding FOIA requests .

  28. My read of the Freedom of Information Act is that Edmonds is in compliance with the law. A request to the City Clerk does generate information that a citizen would like to have. What is being talked about in the “city property” list question is: ” How best to get a list, how best to find out why we own various properties, and how best to make the information available to all citizens.” I could go to the city records and find a bunch of this stuff or go to the county records and do the research. And that would produce a list but then how best can we make that information available to others for the important decisions we need to make as a city. Rather than criticize I want to find a positive way to help with the notion of transparent, open and accountable government forward. Taking a few small steps can actually lead to getting from point A to B. Thanks Don for your offer to help, I will be in touch.

  29. It has been my experience in requesting public records the city clerk has followed up within the guide lines with questions or if delayed why and my requests have been emailed to me.

  30. I also have never had a problem getting any information from the City Clerk’s office – the clerks themselves, as well as their staff, have always been very helpful and responsive.

  31. I am doing a project for our homeowners association that required a public records request and the folks were very helpful and the information they provides may save tens of thousands of dollars on sewer repair issues that would be the homeowners responsibility. Thanks to the city we have the information for our association. I have actually made a proposal to offer this same information to all citizens of Edmonds so they too can do some preventive work that may avert costly repairs.

  32. Hi Ron, Don and Darrol – have you experienced a high level of redactions related to your public records requests? Redactions have been a regular source of frustration for me.

    For example, I have made public record requests related to the October 18, 2005 Executive Session Meeting Minutes during which the City Council decided to buy the lot mentioned in the discussion above – the .23 acre lot located across Main Street from the Wade James Theatre. One thing I was looking for was documentation of the public purpose for such real estate purchase and why only one of the three lots was purchased.

    A strong argument can be made that the City Council did NOT have a legal reason to meet in Executive Session on October 18, 2005 to discuss this real property purchase. I believe the discussion should have taken place in Open Session as the public already had KNOWLEDGE of the potential purchase.

    I’ve requested the October 18, 2005 Executive Session minutes related to the $199,675 real estate purchase that closed many YEARS ago. The City has always redacted Page 1 of the October 18, 2005 Executive Session minutes. I wonder why.

    I’ve had many other items redacted, including emails from one city employee to another city employee. Is this legal?

    I’ve also experienced the former City Attorney intervening in my public record request process after a City employee emailed me that she would follow up with me the next business day. This was at a very critical point in time where every day mattered. Why did he do this?

    I encourage Citizen’s to let our elected officials know if you want more Open Government and Transparency. As I stated in my 2011 Guest Column:

    The citizens of Edmonds, in delegating authority to the Mayor, Municipal Court and City Council, do not give our public servants the right to decide what is good for the citizens of Edmonds to know and what is not good for them to know.

    That guest column can be found at the following link:

    http://myedmondsnews.com/2011/10/guest-column-a-call-for-open-government-and-transparency/

    I believe the guest column contains helpful information and I encourage those who have time to read it. Thanks.

  33. A few of you assume that the “city is in compliance”. in regards to F.O.I.A. requests……

    Perhaps the city can consider itself very LUCKY that some people have not SUED in regards to the handling and dispensing or non dispensing of information some citizens have requested and ARE LEGALLY entitled to…..Just because someone hasn’t sued the city in regards to FOIA request, does not mean that the city is “in compliance” with ALL requests. THAT is WHY the F.O.I.A. law has been strengthened recently.

    ….. I know for a fact that I only got some information because I said I would go to the courts to get the information if the city was not forthcoming. I am not the law suit type, nor would I wish to use that avenue, but there was something terribly wrong that I had to put, “I will go to the courts if the city doesn’t dispense this information to me”…….I did not like having to add that to my FOIA request. Soooooooooooo, yes, obviously the City of Edmonds treats different people differently……I assume it is in regards to what you are asking for…..If what you are asking for is legally legitimate, than it is AGAINST THE LAW for a city not to dispense the information…..A city cannot PICK & CHOOSE who/ or what information they are making available

    I would also like to add that when I started doing my F.O.I.A. requests, I had at least three incidences of people parking in front of my house for hours (one on record with the Edmonds Police Dept.and a detective came to my home)…..two reported by neighbors to me. I assumed it was intimidation, as I have NEVER had people at my home sitting out front for 2 hours, smoking and just looking at my house, Hard to say it would be ALL coincidental when I was doing my F.O.I.A. requests……These incidences stopped when I quit doing FOIA. If it was meant for intimidation, I guess you could say, it somewhat worked. ……one thing I do know is that at the beginning it certainly scared me a lot. So, again, NOOOOOOOOOOOO, things are not ALL equal

  34. Thanks for your response Ron. You are fortunate. I fear some of my public record requests may not have been eligible for redaction, but were redacted. For example, I’ve received the same exact public record redacted under one public record request and then not redacted under a different public record request. This is obviously very alarming and makes me wonder how many of the redacted records I have been provided should not have been redacted.

    As a citizen, it is very difficult to determine such. If a citizen questions whether or not the redactions are proper, the citizen has to expend time and money to get answers in Court.

    Please recall the preamble to the current Washington State Open Public Meetings Act, adopted in 1971:

    The people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created. RCW 42.30.010.

    It is hard to see how an email from one city employee to another city employee can be subject to attorney-client privilege. I guess it would be possible if the contents of the email were 100% outside legal advice – but I would think that would be very unusual.

    Also, I have to wonder of it is proper to redact Executive Session Meeting minutes as attorney-client privileged when the City Council should have discussed the related real estate purchase in an open City Council Meeting in front of the citizens.

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