Council Ignores Petition

Manzanita City Council to 260 Petitioners: JUST GO AWAY

Here is a timeline for a petition signed by 260 residents and taxpayers asking that Manzanita City Council give the remodeling option of the Underhill Plaza a fair evaluation as an option for the new City Hall. In communication with the then interim City Manager Kunkel I referenced:

Pursuant to section 5 (E) Agendas of Chapter 2 of the Council’s Rules of Procedure, I request that the petitions I submitted to the City on May5th be placed on the June 9th Council meeting for review and discussion. Citizens who submitted their names would like the opportunity to discuss the direction that this project is going and how their input could best be utilized to ensure a successful outcome be achieved.

  1. E. A citizen wishing to have an item placed on the agenda shall make a request to the City Manager at least two weeks prior to the meeting. The City Manager may postpone the agenda item to a future meeting.

On May 17, Interim City Manager, Mr. Kunkel responded as follows:

You should be receiving a letter from me regarding your petition. I mailed it earlier today. I will your email available to the mayor and incoming city manager. She starts June 1st. I would ask that you consider moving your request to the July meeting, just to give her time to get her feet on the ground. I think she will be able to address your concerns in a timely fashion. Again, just something for your consideration.

On May 18 in a response to Mr. Kunkel:

Delaying the discussion of the petition until the July meeting is reasonable to let the new City Manager get up to speed.

I would ask that the City Manager report at the June meeting that I asked that the discussion of the petition be held at the June meeting and agreed for the postponement until the July meeting in light of there being a new city manager.

On May 18, Mr. Kunkel responded:

Thank you. I will make sure that it is acknowledged during the June meeting, that it will be on the July agenda.

On June 16, I met with new City Manager Aman, along with Council members Koslowski and Spegman attending. City Manager asked that I consider not having the petition as an agenda item. Instead they would provide extra time under citizens comments. We also discussed the merits of comparing remodeling costs versus building a new City Hall. City Manager Aman said she read the WRK study before she started and has already concluded the study was wrong and the remodel would not lead to cost savings. She admitted she had no specific sized building in mind. The WRK engineering study indicated the Underhill structure was in good condition and could have reduced remodeling costs versus a new building.

On June 21, I responded to the City Manager’s request as follows:

After thinking about your suggestion, petitioners determined that it is more appropriate for the discussion of the petition to be included on the July council meeting as originally requested and agreed.

On June 23, City Manager responded as follows:

As discussed at our meeting you are invited to speak during the public comment portion of the July 7th meeting. I did confirm with the Mayor that he will allow additional time for your comments if requested at the meeting.

On June 23, I responded:

That is not acceptable.

We want the petition included as an agenda item to ensure a proper discussion including putting questions to the council members.

(I also included prior emails procedures and agreements with the Interim City Manager included above.)

On June 23, City Manager responded as follows:

After conferring with the Mayor, we are standing by our recommendation that you present the petition during the community comments period. This does allow you the opportunity to present the petition as agreed to at the July meeting.

The Mayor is willing to extend your time to ten minutes to present the petition. If there is a need for a response from the Council a response will be provided within 60 days of the meeting.

So what that means, 260 residents and taxpayers, is your opinion as a group doesn’t matter. Anyone can make a three-minute comment at any Council Meeting. Council members have no obligation to respond to questions. They can merely wait for the three minutes to expire and move on. In past meetings Councilors have done this when asked about the Underhill Plaza land purchase and the WRK report.  In August,2019 after cursory reflection on a 68% bond denial, City Council passed a resolution eliminating the remodel option. Then they refused to include comments about remodeling Underhill Plaza off the table during the Manzanita Listens program in early 2021. They don’t want to know if the remodel option can save taxpayer dollars.

They don’t care that the WRK engineer recently reiterated the potential cost savings from remodeling the Underhill building.

Councilors are in charge here. Your 260 opinions to fairly consider remodeling Underhill Plaza don’t matter. JUST GO AWAY.