City of Montesano Issues ‘Decision Letter’ on KD&S ‘Cease & Desist’ Appeal

There has been much fooforah surrounding a parcel of Montesano property located at S. 10th Street and W. Pioneer. Complaints about health, safety, and the environment have been raised. See: Mysterious Maladies in Monte?.  For additional background, see: What’s Up in Monte Today?

The City of Montesano recently issued a “Decision Letter” to the property owner, KD&S Environmental. Dated January 5, 2018, the letter is signed by Dan Wood in his capacity as Mayor Pro Tem. Obtained via public record request today, a copy of the letter appears below.

Here are the salient portions:

Based on the zoning of the parcels that are the subject of this decision, and the current use of those parcels, City staff has determined the current use of the parcels in question is not consistent with MMC 17.20. As such, you are hereby notified to cease and desist all non-conforming uses of the above referenced parcels no later than February 8, 2018. In addition, you must immediately cease any nuisances (such as noise and odor) that may be caused by non-conforming uses.

Wood notes that this action “specifically addresses compliance with the City zoning code,” and that complaints related to health, safety, and the environment “do not fall under the jurisdiction of the City zoning code.” He also points out that “many, if not all of the complaints have been investigated by applicable local and state agencies.”

Here’s the full text of the January 5 letter:

Dan Wood ‘Cease and Vacate’ Letter to KD&S – 05 January 2018, page 1

Dan Wood ‘Cease and Vacate’ Letter to KD&S – 05 January 2018, page 2

What say you?

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What’s Up in Monte Today?

Some Montesano residents are sounding the alarm over health concerns ostensibly related to a light industrial work site located near 10th Street and W. Pioneer Avenue. Whether or not cause for major alarm is warranted or the situation has been blown out of proportion (again) by a local blogger is open to question.

The site in question, lots on Wynoochee and Pioneer, is/are owned by KD&S Environmental. Neighbors within a two-block radius of the site are or have allegedly complained about a variety of mysterious illnesses. Symptoms include “Upper respiratory problems, severe congestion, spontaneous deep nose bleeding and more.” Also “Pets coming home with fur falling off and open sores.”

See: Frederiksen – Reading you in – 13 July 2017

Continue reading “What’s Up in Monte Today?”

Mysterious Maladies in Monte?

I recently received something related to “possible exposure of illness to a large group of children that attended the now closed day care center” in Montesano. Also possible stonewalling by the mayor’s office, et.al., on the subject. Per a December 29 email to Mayor Vini Samuel:

From: montesanotoday [mailto:montesanotoday@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, December 29, 2017 7:48 AM
To: vsamuel@montesano.us
Cc: editor@thevidette.com; Doug Barker; …
Subject: Health of Children in Montesano

29 Dec 2017 Mayor – city of Montesano,  I am writing for the entire neighborhood.   I am not bothering to write your staff as they don’t return emails anymore on the subject.  They are waiting for your lead.   I and my neighbors have direct knowledge of the possible exposure of illness to a large group of children that attended the now closed day care center in our neighborhood.  As you know, we are at over 80% sickness rate here in our two neighborhoods with reported upper respiratory, digestive issues, and severe spontaneous deep nose bleeding.   Since they were part of our neighborhood it isn’t a stretch to think their parents might want to know.

Your city staff and departments refuses to notify the parents of those children.  I have been threatened in writing If I talk about what is going on.  Police report on file.

I have filed a request with both the DA office as well as the Sheriff Department to investigate and inform those parents.  Everyone points back and says that it is your responsibility.

When you took your oath of office you swore to look out for this town.   I assume that includes the children. We even have people that used to live in this neighborhood that have volunteered to come back over this.  As far away as New Mexico.   They both got sick too with the same things.

It is my understanding that you have recused yourself from our health issues.  If you have direct knowledge of what is making us sick or possible causes we ask you to tell us.  We need to know what to tell our doctors.  The parents of the children need to know as well.  None of us know if we are going to have long term health problems.

This is serious and it is starting to look like the city is hiding something.  What possible explanation would your city have for not telling us or the parents of those children and the surrounding neighborhoods?  Every single house has been in and out of doctor offices and emergency rooms.  Thousands and thousands of dollars.

There is sickness in your town and it appears that the city is doing everything they can to hush it up.

I was visiting one of my neighbors and let me tell you, I’m no doctor but I am extremely worried that he isn’t going to make it.  The County Health Department points back to you.

So tell me, what am I, we, supposed to do?  Cross our fingers and hope it just all goes away?   Just go to bed and forget about the kids of that daycare center?  None of us here are that callous.  Why are private citizens being put into this position?  This is your job. The media isn’t going to touch this and risk their access to you down the road.  You know that.

Do you really think I want to write letters like this?  I’m at the point where I don’t care about the retaliation anymore.  I have a sick wife upstairs over this and my neighbors are keeling over.

I have one neighbor ready to take out ads in the newspaper.  An entire section of your town is asking for your help and the City of Montesano is hiding behind closed doors afraid to talk about it.

End this.

PDF version:Health of Children in Montesano

In another missive* dated December 28, 2017, the same individual writes:

We don’t know if the sickness has spread,  as the city is trying to cover it up.  The newspaper won’t touch it as it would kill their access to public officials, you know how it works.  We know why.

Yes, we do:

 

 

 

* I have that email. And more. If you want ’em, holler.

Image credit: Flickr – CC

‘Grab Bag II,’ Conniption Fits, & Clueless Cassowaries

Holding tight to whatever? Good. Cuz we’re going to go fast today, covering a bunch of random stuff. You might want to buckle up.

First: Repealing Obamacare. I support Graham-Cassidy, basically for the same reasons the Family Research Council and the Susan B. Anthony List have endorsed Graham-Cassidy. Their September 15 press release reads in part:

Continue reading “‘Grab Bag II,’ Conniption Fits, & Clueless Cassowaries”

Russ Burke Lawsuit Over

The Russ Burke lawsuit against the City of Montesano is over.

In a prepared statement released on April 21, former Montesano Mayor Ken Estes wrote:

To Montesano’s Citizens,

Last week I was pleased to receive confirmation from our counsel, Alex Casey, that the February 22 unanimous decision of the Court of Appeals affirming the Superior Court’s dismissal of the claims filed by Russell Burke and his spouse against the City of Montesano, Kristy Powell, the former City Administrator, Rocky Howard, the former Director of Public Works, and myself, then serving as Mayor, was final.  I can assure all of you that when I was elected Mayor of the City of Montesano,  I certainly had not anticipated having to work through the departmental issues which came to our attention nor to take the various administrative steps leading to discipline of some employees and, as to Mr. Burke, his dismissal.  However difficult it was to carry out the actions, it was our duty to the Citizens of Montesano to make certain that the City’s resources were properly utilized.

I would like to thank the City’s insurer Nicholson & Associates Insurance and Travelers Insurance Company, for their belief in us; Alex Casey, Ann Trivett, and Robert Christie, the legal counsel designated to handle this matter at the various levels; Scott Snyder, the City’s labor counsel, for providing such effective representation at all levels; and Hoquiam Police Chief Jeff Myers and Sgt. Shane Krohn for their assistance.

I especially appreciate the support of Dan Glenn (then city attorney), Rocky and Kristy as we worked our way through the various investigations and actions.  Then, there has been the unwavering and so much appreciated support of my spouse without which this matter would have been even more difficult to work through.  Also, I would also like to thank those Citizens of Montesano who understood why it was necessary to take the steps leading to this litigation.

In closing, when I received the complaint filed by Mr. Burke’s counsel back in 2013, I was both shocked and saddened by the allegations.  The fact that after three and one-half years two courts have found that there was no legal or factual basis to support those claims which had received much news coverage and talk around town, reaffirms to me one basic point.  That point is that while doing the right thing is often not easy, things come out right in the end.  I can assure you that it has been a difficult period for Kristy, Rocky, myself and unfortunately, our respective spouses and families.  However, that “book” is now closed and may all move on with their lives.

For those who would like to read the Court of Appeal’s decision, I have left a copy at the Clerk’s Office at City Hall.”

Ken Estes.  Mayor 2012-2015

Reached in Utah for comment, Ms. Powell responded:

I’m glad that the city prevailed. Our responsibility was to secure and protect the assets of the City of Montesano and we did so. The results handed down by the courts support our actions.

The former Public Works Director, Russ Burke filed a lawsuit against the City of Montesano, et.al., after he was terminated in 2013 by then-Mayor Ken Estes amid allegations of misuse of city equipment and supplies per a theft investigation regarding city paint. Burke claimed he was terminated due to “political retaliation.” He filed a $400,000 claim against the city.  (For background, see: Russ Burke Loses Appeal and THIS is What an Epic Fail Looks Like.)

A February 22, 2017 decision by the Washington State Court of Appeals rejected Burke’s claim. The decision affirmed  a 2015 Superior Court ruling granting the City of Montesano’s motion for summary judgment. The appellate court also said the City of Montesano “had a legitimate reason to terminate Burke for insubordination.”

In fact, not a single court affirmed Burke’s claim.

To the Bow Wow Brigade and its lock-step “media” lackeys who used the Burke dismissal to launch and drive a hate campaign against Ken Estes and Kristy Powell and made maligning and savaging both your favorite indoor sport: Want some ketchup with that crow?

Shame on you.

Lady Justice – Public Domain

GUEST AUTHOR: Montesanoans Chime In On Roundabout, Rest Stop

If you’re wondering what happened at last week’s community meeting regarding the proposed roundabout and rest stop in Montesano, the answer is: Plenty. Here’s a first-hand recap. – Ed.

***

March 16, 2017.  Senior Center, Montesano 7 PM  – Committee for Common Sense Meeting

By Ken Estes

Committee Member, Committee for Common Sense

More than 30 people were in attendance at the Committee for Common Sense public meeting concerning the Roundabout and the Rest Area proposal.

Doug Iverson lead off with a statement of why we had called a meeting and then introduced Dan Wood, the only Council member present.  Dan had prepared a Power Point Presentation with aerial (Google) pictures and an overlapping display of circles showing the intersection where the roundabout has been proposed.  It became obvious to all present that a small compact (110 ft. diameter) roundabout would not deal with the large truck/trailers being able to travel safely or swiftly through it.

See Mr. Wood’s Roundabout/Rest Area Presentation.

Projected Costs

Dan’s presentation then moved to the rest area and its projected costs.   This created a lot of comments.  Some were:

  • What was the cost of the study the city contracted?  (Answer–$13,000)
  •  “How many pot holes would that have filled?”
  •  “The city’s priorities should be street repair and up keep.”
  •  “Where are the street crews? We never see them.”

The discussion continued with the estimated cost of the operation of a rest area.  Dan reported the property where proposed is valued at $289,000 and “may be” used for the city share of the construction of the rest area.  This brought up questions and statements like:

Continue reading “GUEST AUTHOR: Montesanoans Chime In On Roundabout, Rest Stop”

Community Meeting on Monte Rest Stop/Roundabout Set For March 16

Don’t look now, but a bout of common sense is about to hit Montesano.

A newly formed community watchdog group, The Committe for Common Sense, is rolling up its sleeves. They’re doing what Queen Vini can’t or won’t do related to the latest city hall boondoggle: Setting up a community meeting for public input on the proposed rest stop and roundabout. Their press release appears below:

COMMITTEE FOR COMMON SENSE

A Community Meeting has been set up in Montesano to discuss theproposed Rest Stop/Roundabout project that the mayor has been promoting. This will provide the public with an opportunity to learn the specifics about this project and get answers to their questions. The meeting is set for 7 PM on Thursday, March 16 at the Montesano Community Center located between the Beehive and the Organics 101 Store on Main Street.

The mayor has been invited to attend the meeting to explain the planning and specifics of the project. We hope that she can attend or delegate someone else to fill in for her. The public has had very little input on this proposed project, since there has not been any Public Hearing. Hopefully, this meeting can provide the public with the details and planning that went into this project

In the meantime, a petition has been developed and will be circulated around town. We realize that many people will not be able to attend the meeting so the petition is one way for them to express their thoughts on this project. Along with the petition, an information sheet has been developed listing the biggest concerns identified regarding this project.

There has been a web site developed that will also provide information, www.committeeforcommonsense.org. For more information, please call 249-5374. (The web site includes additional pages outlining concerns and questions per these projects as well as contact info. Reader input is encouraged. – Ed.)

Montesano cannot afford to gamble on this ill-conceived project. It is highly doubtful that the revenue generated by this project would even cover the maintenance costs. This would leave the City with additional costs out of a budget that is already stretched beyond it’s limits. Why spend $2 million dollars on a two seater Rest Stop and Roundabout and have to pay additional expenses as well? This makes absolutely no sense. Let’s stop this now!

 

The Committee for Common Sense