Letter to the Editor: LFP Council vs the Citizens of Lake Forest Park
THURSDAY, JUNE 7, 2018
To the Editor:
The Current Lake Forest Park City Council has been on a slow, but steady path, for the last 5 years of isolating itself from the community and voters of Lake Forest Park. The disconnect started with the elimination of Public Comment at what was previously called Council Work Sessions and are now entitled Committee of the Whole (COW) meetings.
As a former Council member I found the Work Session format was invaluable in receiving input from citizens. The Work Session also allowed for Council members to have a dialogue with citizens. This ability to communicate has now been lost.
Next the Council disbanded the Commission system, promising to replace it with something in a year which would be, in the words of one Council member would be “truly amazing”. In the last year and a half, nothing has been proposed to replace the knowledge, community concerns and solutions from citizens and citizen groups.
Following disbanding the Commission System, this Council decided to sequester its annual retreat in Leavenworth, WA. Previous LFP Councils held their annual retreats in the Seattle area encouraging citizens and City Staff to attend. By holding the retreat out of town it pretty much insured that there would be very little, if any citizen or staff participation.
In the last couple of years the Council has decided to request / demand to have their own table at community events such as the Annual Lake Forest Park Stewardship’s Dinner and the annual Friends of Third Place Commons Breakfast. Past Council members spread themselves out at different tables giving attending citizens access to Council members.
Lastly this Council dispensed with the “Three Touch Rule”. The Three Touch Rule stated that legislation would not be passed until it had been discussed at three different Council Business meetings. The purpose of this rule was to prevent hasty decisions with incomplete understanding of the possible outcomes and inadvertent consequences of the ordinance under consideration.
It allowed individual Council members to study and understand ordinance, address doubts and to have confidence that the ordinance was needed and that it had a good chance of addressing or solving the issues the proposed ordinance was addressing. It also provided time for LFP’s Citizens to become aware of the proposed ordinance and to comment their concerns or approval of the ordinance to the Council.
The isolation is now complete, the Council only hears itself talking to itself.
In addition the Council has degenerated from a collaborative body to one in which a few members have recently interjected that their personal opinions and goals are paramount to collaborate deliberations for the good of the community. In most cases personal opinions are not a substitute for good governance.
We now have a Council some members of which do not not acknowledging or include citizen concerns, and who looks for procedural advantages to advance personal agendas versus negotiating collaborative agendas.
Don Fiene, Jack Tonkin and Ned Lawson
Lake Forest Park
Originally published in the Shoreline Area News here: https://www.shorelineareanews.com/2018/06/letter-to-editor-lfp-council-vs.html