Newspaper Archive of
Mercer Island Reporter
Mercer Island, Washington
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February 2, 1994     Mercer Island Reporter
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February 2, 1994
 

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A8 Mercer Island Reporter Consultant. . . — Continued from A1. worked well across the country, I think it’s a waste of time to look further,” said Giger. A STRATEGIC PLAN formu— lated using the Cambridge model typically takes nine months to ac- complish, Huggins told the board, and by the time it’s done, approxi- mately 100—300 people have partic- ipated in the process, depending on the size of the community. Usually, the mix of staff to com- munity members is about 50-50. In response to questions from the board and audience, Huggins said the Cambridge method never gets bogged down. “The process is so tightly formed, it’s not possi- ble to manipulate it,” he said. Those chosen to work on the stra- tegic plan must be people of good will, able to subordinate their own personal agendas, he added. The work already accom- plished by the district’s strategic planning committee, which was presented in draft form to the school board in early December, will be included in the data col— lected early in the strategic plan— ning process, Huggins assured the board. Data collection is the sec- ond of 11 steps in the Cambridge nl-an Drainage. Continued from A1. the law does not yet require con struction of a drainage system. City officials say they want recommendations from three neighborhoods Council approves a plan. A third neighborhood will form a commit- tee to study the problem later this month. Currently, Island homeowners pay $3.09 a month for repair and cleaning of drainage systems. But the systems are beset with prob- lems. Since 1992, citizens have filed 24 legal claims against the City of Mercer Island seeking payment for damage caused by overflow- ing drainage systems. It is the most common source of legal claims against City Hall. City Attorney Ron Dickinson said no active lawsuits are pend- ing because of drainage prob- lems. But City Hall has faced law- suits in the past. “We have won some, and lost some,” Dickinson said. MOST RECENTLY, City Hall has been hit by a handful of legal New Subscription I lentryonly,pleasc. before the City, I Tfl, I Y68,Iwanttoenter&win! Special Subscription Offer: (check appropriate box) When Vander Houwen asked for more information on the cost of the plan, Giger responded. “We’re a $20 million operation. We’re talking about being the best school district in the state; this has the potential to change the school district,” he said. “I chal- lenge anyone to take issue with how we’ve managed the public’s money. I think it’s worth the in- vestment. Cost is always sensi- tive, but I think it’s a small in- vestment to change dramatically what we do.” He said the money could be found in existing budg- ets. “A well—organized plan saves money,” commented board mem- ber Jon Oesting. “A LOT OF DISTRICTS would envy your‘where you are now. The question is, where you want to be in five or ten years. Organizations have a life cycle. If it continues to operate as it has, the organization will become less effective,” said Huggins. “The purpose of a stra— tegic plan is to transform the or— ganization, not to improve it.” It puts in place a system of organ- ized abandonment for things that don’t work, he added. Board members other than J ahncke seemed sold on the plan. “I like the focused nature of it. claims related to flooding in a July 13, 1993 rainstorm. Up to two inches of rain fell in one hour that evening and the Na— tional Weather Service issued flash flood warnings for East King County. The storm knocked out power and flooded roads across the Eastside. The damage to local homes re- ceived little attention at the time, perhaps because the problems were minor in comparison to the Mississippi River flooding on nightly news reports. But some Islanders faced cost~ 1y repairs. Ken Ashton, who lives in the 9500 block of Mercerwood Drive, filed a claim against City Hall, alleging that a faulty drain- age system caused flooding in his house that cost more than $1,800 to repair. “Our garage, den and back bedroom were flooded,” Ashton wrote. “The stain from the waterline still shows five inches high in the den. The water stopped only six inches from the furnace room, where there is a new furnace, and one foot from our front door.” . So far, City Hall has denied [:l additional entries plus 12 months of the Mercer Island Reporter for $36.00. I D 6 additional entries plus 6 months of the Mercer Island Reporter for $18.00. Renewal I Send to: Circulation PO. Box 38, Mercer Island. WA 98040 or call 453-4240. It captures the flavor and culture of what we’re already doing,” said Susan Kaplan. “I like that it challenges some of the assump- (tiions we’ve been operating un- er.” “I like that it brings in an ex- ternal facilitator to give expertise to the process,” said Oesting. He said that one of the problems that last year’s strategic planning committee faced was the fact that “everybody was family.” Vander Houwen said he was pleased by the speed of the Cam— bridge model. “This is the fastest way we can get this done.” “I like the fact that the whole group will start with the same data,” said school board presi- dent Laurie Koehler. Neil Williams, president of the Mercer Island Education Associa- tion, said that the timing for get- ting a strategic plan in place is perfect. “In the last two years we’ve hired more and more new people, as the old guard retires. In the next five to 10 years, there will be lots of fresh, energetic peo- ple.” A teacher in the district for 25 years, Williams said he wished the district had had a strategic plan from the beginning. “We’ve stumbled and muddled through change,” he said. payment of claims related to the July 13 storm. “The city position is that the overflowing catch ba- sins were an act of God,” the city attorney said. So far, none of the claims has gone to court. Flooding and erosion are seri- ous problems on Mercer Island. But the state law that requires a drainage plan is mostly aimed at water pollution. In the end, clean water may be the most compelling argument that supports an Island-wide utili- ty over the “fix your own” plan. Today, when it rains, the oil from roads, fertilizer from lawns and the mud from ditches washes into the drainage system and pours into Lake Washington. “A big part of the problem is the pollution, and that is every- one’s problem,” said Robert Borovec. The committee agreed that everyone benefits from clean water. “One big need is education,” Borovec said. “People need to know that when they dump some- fihing up on top, it drains out right ere.” NAME ADDRESS CITY STATE ZIP PAYMENT METHOD “MASTERCARD CARD CHECK ENCLOSED Wednesday, February 2, 1994 Kiwanis surveys Islanders about its sale of fireworks By Chris Nor-red Mercer Island Reporter Department stores are selling Valentine hearts, but a local club is asking Mercer Islanders to think about a Fourth of July fire— works ban that would affect the Island in 1995. The Kiwanis Club, which raises charitable funds by selling fireworks, is distributing ques- tionnaires at shops and offices in the central business district. The questionnaire asks if fireworks should be banned, limited or re- striction-free on the Island. “We’re trying to get the pub- lic’s view,” said Bill Price, a lead- er of the Mercer Island Kiwanis. The club raises about $12,000 a year at its fireworks stand to do— nate to local causes. Kiwanis members are concerned that the City Council will vote between now and June to enact a fireworks ban. Most cities around Mercer Is- land already outlaw the sale or use of fireworks. And recently, King County has considered a ban. Several months ago, the Mercer Island City Council voted to limit fireworks in 1994. And the ' council discussed a possible ban in 1995. This year, low—power fireworks will be legal on Mercer Island only on July 4 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 11:30 pm. THE CITY COUNCIL has de- bated a fireworks ban twice in re- cent years. But they dropped the idea last spring because most council members clearly opposed a total ban. Still, Kiwanians fear the issue will resurface. Several changes have taken place since last spring at City Hall. For example, AI Huhs, a coun- cil member who defended legal fireworks, retired from the City Council. New council member David Clancy said he has not formed an opinion on a fireworks ban. But Clancy noted the fireworks sale has worked well without serious injuries or accidents on Mercer Island. Also since last spring, a new mayor has been elected. Elliot Newman, who argued stridently against fireworks, stepped aside. New Mayor Judy Clibborn sup- ports a ban on fireworks. But she will not push the issue, she said. TELEPHONE VISA Expiration Date 1‘ Two "Also try for stays in Victoria, BILL ME “Maybe it’s a non-issue and we should leave it at that. I don’t in— tend to bring it up unless there’s a reason,” Clibborn said. “But my fear is that it’s only a matter of time. The minute we have a house burn down, you can bet we’re go- ing to hear about it.” Also since last spring, Mercer Island Fire Marshal Ed McKin- ney has retired. McKinney led the ' push to ban fireworks here. In McKinney’s absence, the is- sue may fizzle away. Jan Deveny, the director of public safety, also recommends a ban on fireworks. “For several miles in all direc- tions, this will be the only fire- works stand,” he said. But Deveny is more experi- enced in police work and fire- works may be an issue more closely tied to fire fighting. Mercer Island firefighters and police respond each year to about 25 incidents caused by fireworks, officials say. The incidents in- clude brush fires, property dam— age, injuries and noise com- plaints. But fireworks have caused no major house fires or se- vere injuries on Mercer Island at least in recent memory. KIWANIS members say they sell only “safe and sane” fire— works, which do not explode or shoot projectiles. And they say fireworks cause relatively few problems on Mercer Island. For example, celebrations during the hydroplane races keep police much busier than July 4 fire— works, said Bill Price, club presi- dent. Even on the Fourth of July, most incidents are not caused by Kiwanis fireworks, they say. The problems involve reports of ex- ploding mailboxes and the Kiwan- is does not sell exploding fire- works, said George Setzler, fire- works chairman. Kiwanis members argue that a ban will cause Islanders to buy fireworks on Indian reservations and bring them home to dis- charge illegally. The Kiwanis Club began sell- ing fireworks here in the early 19605, said Setzler. In 1991, total sales were about $26,000, and about the same in 1993. The club keeps about $12,000 after expenses to donate for community groups. “It’s real important to have a po- tent fundraiser to make a club like this viable,” Setzler said. The Lions Club sells Christmas trees and the Rotary Club organ— izes the half—marathon on Mercer Island. Last summer, the Kiwanis Club tried to raise money with a barbecue during the Summer Cel- ebration. But Setzler said the bar- becue required too much man- power and equipment while bring- ing in little money. “The barbe- cue just proved to some of our members that it’s going to be ex- tremely difficult to replace fire- works if the City Council takes that away.” Groups that receive support from Kiwanis include the Boys & Girls Club, Youth and Family Ser- vices and an international pro- gram for children. The club is considering a new program to provide bicycle helmets for chil— dren. Price said the Kiwanis Club started its survey to see if Island residents support a ban. “We don’t want to just follow the coun— ty and other cities just because there is pressure to ban them,” he said. “We designed this survey to get a good feel of what people want.” Price said the club started the survey this winter to prepare in case the issue comes up before June. To enact a fireworks ban for July 4, 1995, the City Council must vote by this June. News tip? 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Empress Getaway: Roundtrip transportation for two, 2 nights at the Empress, dinner & afternoon tea! #7 OVERNIGHTS V , Overnight stays at the Salish St the Hyatt! RULES: I. No purchase necessary. 2. You must be 18 years of age or older to enter. 3. Check the appropriate box. select our term of payment, I ill out the order tom and mail to Circulation, Mercer Is and Reporter PO. Box 38 Mercer Island, WA, 98040. or dro it by at 7845 SE 30th Street, or call at 453-4240. 4. Your name, address an phone number must be included on the tom. 5. ldt‘nllt‘fil hand-drawn facsimile may be used, but no mechanical reproductions will be acce itcd. o. Only one entry pcrcnvelopc allowed. 7. Emp oyccs of Northwest Media, Inc. or their families are not eligible to win. 8. Entries must be rcccivcd by 9:00am on Monday, February 14th, the comes! ending dale 9. A random draw- ing will be used to award the prize trips on Fcbnlary 14, 1994 at 1:00pm. 10. Not responsible for lost or misdirected mail. SIGNATURE