PuyallupNow has uncovered the following secret email.
From: John Palmer
Sent: Friday, April 18, 2014 9:35 AM
To: XXXXXXX@ci.puyallup.wa.us; XXXXXXX@ci.puyallup.wa.us; XXXXXXX@ci.puyallup.wa.us
Subject: Schnitzer Negotiations
I want to set up a meeting up with the three of you to talk strategy with Schnitzer.
Here is the outline of a proposal that I’d like the three of you (our negotiating team) to present to Jeff [of Schnitzer]:
1) Expand the footprint of the Schnitzer development. That is, more buildings to spread the infrastructure cost across more sq feet of buildings. This, of course, would require Schnitzer to purchase more land.
2) Have the development “campus style,” consistent with the design specifications in our overlay zone (assuming we pass it). Mix of business park and a limited amout [sic] of truck oriented warehouses.
3) Schnitzer helps purchase park land (30-40 acres, most likely Knutson land east of the Schnitzer project) as mitigation for the development and in lieu of park impact fees. If Schnitzer financially supports the park land purchase and the city is able to secure this land, the city would have “skin in the game” regarding sewer expansion and the city could help pay a portion of the cost.
Of course there are a lot of details, but this framework may produce a better outcome than our current path.
This is one of the latest attempts by District 2 Councilman John Palmer to block the creation of a new job center in Puyallup.
In the midst of his war against the people of Puyallup, John Palmer has hatched this new ham handed scheme.
After publicly opposing any new development, is Councilman Palmer now suggesting the city seek a bribe from a private company in exchange for concessions at the taxpayers expense?
After he was unable to stop them with an “emergency moratorium” on economic growth, is he now trying to kill the project by tricking its creators into surrendering their vested application, forcing them to adhere to his personal agenda?
I wish this could be a letter of thanks… for a job well done by employees of WDFW working in cooperation with employees of the City of Puyallup to enable the golden opportunity of a silt removal demonstration project in Clarks Creek this summer. But instead of thanks, it is with utmost disappointment and anger that I write to you regarding the sabotage of this project.
As a citizen that has always worked to find solutions to problems (and not just complain about them), I have worked many years towards having the City step up to a plan that will restore Clarks Creek to its natural salmon habitat instead of just “cut the elodea” year after year. Along the way I helped create the Puyallup Historical Hatchery Foundation for the preservation of the Puyallup Hatchery, which has a new Educational Center opening this spring. Teaching our youth how to properly care for our waterways is one of our main missions. With Clarks Creek running through the hatchery, we were thrilled when this silt removal demonstration project was slated to be done by majority vote of a task force in 2012.
So what happened? Why the disappointment and anger… especially when all permits are now approved for the work to be done this summer? Because Gina Piazza (WDFW) and Mark Palmer (City of Puyallup) have turned an estimated $40,000, sand-wand, silt removal demonstration of 400’ of Clarks Creek where there are records of the silt being 50 inches in depth, into a now three year “environmental study” at a taxpayer cost in the hundreds of thousands! In addition, instead of using the task force recommendation of Streamside Environmental, whose experience at silt removal and stream restoration, using their safe, patented and proprietary equipment is documented throughout the United States and in Canada, they have elected to invent their own patched together system of pumps, hoses and screens and “experiment” with it on our creek!
As a member of the task force I sat with both Gina and Mark, listening to months of discussions regarding a Clarks Creek restoration solution program. It sickens me that the two of them took what was agreed upon and signed by the task force and manipulated it into this mammoth, expensive, worthless effort. (More detail is attached below.)
I would like to know how on earth this happened and why. As our commissioners, my hope is that you will look into this. Restoring all of Washington’s waterways to encourage proper restoration of salmon habitat is a priority to all of us.
Without any discussion, the City Council voted 4-3 in favor of raising utility rates for the next four years by 4%.
Due to the lack of discussion, we have no idea the motivations behind any councilmember’s vote.
What we do know is that your future city bills will be higher.
Voting in favor of the utility rate increase were Councilmembers Palmer, Shadko, Hopkins and Door.
Voting against were Mayor Knutsen and Councilmembers Vermillion and Swanson.
Tuesday night the city council quickly changed course, voting to postpone the moratorium in the Shaw-Pioneer area of our city.
This vote came after an executive session, and just one week after four members of the council voted in favor of it.
While we will never know what discussions and advice was had between the council and city attorneys, we can infer from their vote and some of the citizen comments that this vote was done to avoid litigation brought by the land owners or developers.
Mr. Harmer, a representative of Schnitzer West, spoke with his comments focused on Councilmember Palmer and the issue of trust. Three days after having what was described as a “burying the hatchet” phone conversation between the two, Councilmember Palmer added the moratorium to the council agenda without any mention of this to Mr. Harmer. The good will and ideas discussed about future trail connections and parks was tossed aside by Mr. Palmer for no apparent reason.
It is disappointing that John Palmer would put at risk the opportunity to partner with a developer and possibly offset some of the cost to add a park and connect a section of the trail in our city. We hope that in the future this council can work to add amenities to the east part of our city and that Mr. Palmer is not a roadblock to these issues.
Today marks the final day as mayor and a city council member for Rick Hansen.
Mr. Hansen has served our community for 14 years on the council. He served 8 years in the 1980′s and another 6 starting in 2008. The last two years as mayor.
The council will miss Mr. Hansen’s business expertise and financial knowledge. He was able to communicate his thoughts clearly and with respect.
He was the target of political attacks, but always handled them with the grace and tact you expect of a leader.
Mr. Hansen deserves much credit for helping to turn this city around. Reducing our city debt, returning the police traffic unit, instituting term limits, and bringing a sense of respect back to the position of mayor.
Good luck in your future endeavors Mr. Hansen and thank you .