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Mercer Island Reporter
Mercer Island, Washington
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April 29, 1998     Mercer Island Reporter
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April 29, 1998
 

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Wednesday, April 29, 1998 A6 , an OPINION “in; REPORTER Jane A. Meyer. Editor and General Manager Linda Morgan, Associate Editor Peter A. Horvitz, President Thurston ’llwigg—Smith, Chairman Emeritus Catherine Sheri, Publisher WMMMWW Everyone has a role in building assets for kids ave you helped build an asset today? It’s been nearly two months since the launch of the “It‘s about time for kids” community ini- , native on Mercer Island. . The Search lustimte has identified 40 assets which children and teens need to grow into competent, caring and healthy adults. The results of a survey last {allot 600 Island teenagers provide a profile of the extent to which our youth experience the developmean assets. Simply put, the more assets kids have, the more chances they’ll thrive and be successful in life. Now the job‘of the community —~ not just parents, but everybody is to do to help build developmtal assets in our youth. Sohaveyou helped build unease! today? Here are some suggestions homtheSearchInnimmforlmwtobeginsuengdteningmeassetsamong island youth: ‘ . individuals can: ._ 3 v Smile at every child or teenager you see. IA e sue a “thinking of you” card, letter or e-mail mes- :'Sas°my°um- km as... doviteayoungpersouyou wtodosometlu'ngto— s' gather, such as playing a game or going to a park. H ‘: Neighborhoods can: \ » Create projcCts linking adults and children. , r Sponsor r 've activities and events that help people get to know their neighbors. . O neighbors to provide safe places where young people ‘ can go after school if fliey would be home, alone or if they feel unsafe. loci Aunts, : ‘ - Work'with children and teens to c: almighborhoddgard‘en, a ‘ 3 neighborhoodplaygroundorapark. , j ~ «r together toadopt a park in your neighborhood. a intetgenerational relationships with activities for all ages. r * Offer pmnt'edtwatimas part of the congregations program. e year-rowdcomieaions with youth. . j: involve youth in caring for and teaching younger children. if: ‘9 opportututies for youth "to be leaders in and contribu. gmwtte‘cmoesafim a ‘ , A arm/doitohelpzbuild assets teens on Mercer Island? gathm‘ng‘But anig'- ,_ gling doubt keeps pop- ping into my mind: Maybe the community View after all. . ‘ Maybe it shouldbc built at the North Mercer campus. tr n: saunas like a crazy idea, maybe‘it is: » , , B ’ ifan‘cue‘hadsaidjusta r slew deliberate ’ . surplus property. the it would never are school. ,_ . A ter chades o'i Elec‘l'm'mg en- rollment and school closures, it would’ve been hard to imagine having a space crunch in our schools so soon after remodeling t e lease/purchase of the property by the city from the school district. About a year ago, a new, 1]- member CommunityCenter Task Force began studying what pro— Mercer Islanders speak on “I have no problem With that — to I think it sounds reasonable to each his own.” m .9 a . Neil Getty,- account executive " center shouldn’t be built at Mercer ‘ merit haddropped Why did the city pay $66,500 to settle suit? The City of Mercer Island was wrong to agree to a confidentiality clause in settling the sexual and racial discrimination suit brought by former police officer Sharon D. Stevens. As a resident of Mercer Island, I have the right to know how my city is being operated, and how my tax dol- . lars are being spent. r If Ms. Stevens’ allegations, as re— ported in the April 22 issue of The Reporter, are true, someone at the po- lice department should be punished. If they are not true, the police depart- ment’s reputation has been unfairly maligned. Unfortunately, we don’t know why $66,500 was paid Ms. Stevens. We should know. The state’s Open Public Records Act does not exempt settlements of this type from disélosure. Allowing confidentiality clauses is contrary to the legislative intent of the Revised Code of Washington, which states: “full access to information concern— ing the conduct of government on v every level must behssured as a fun- damental and necessary precondi- tion to the sound governance of a free society.” In that vein, Washington Attorney General Christine Gregoire has op— posed confidentiality clau'ses in set— tlements involving public agencies. Why? With limited exemptions, the pub— lic shall not be denied access to in- formation it needs to make basic de— cisions regarding the‘function of gov- ernment. ‘1 . ‘ Was (is?) the Mercer Island Police Department hostile to'“wornen,‘ espe— cially women of-color? Should some— one be held accountable? Is greater public oversight of the department and city warranted? The city can’t claim an exemption to the Open Public Records'Act, and Ms. Stevens can’t claim one for privacy reasons. Her right to privacy would be violated only if disclosure would be highly offensive to a reasonable per- different “new pfififinyoghuflxx too expensive, for youngfamilies, and the amount of still~ buildable land was almost non-existent. School enroll-y a” whopping 40 percent betiveen I977 and 1987, and it was hard‘to imagine that there’d ever be a “problem”, with rising enrollment. . wasbefore the existing ' ’ schools «were remodeled, and before die-my :7 i113“ Pflgcl Sound econ- ‘soekiugagiood schools, for their ch11- *dreut'EVcn just a few years'ago. it would’ve been hardto imagine that i the “blip” of recent in— in Island schoolsvwould‘ continue. But it‘s looking like the “‘dirpf ’rs,‘rrrtrech,'a‘n‘tnrh. " " " ‘ Clearly, the assumptions on which much of the facility planning has been done on the Island in re— cent years have changed. There’s a proposal to create a nude beach in a state park near Bellingham. What’s your nundsetwasthat ' A‘ Another new factor to add to the equationis that theMaty Wayte _‘ Pool will city property. musk weirdly young people ‘- son, AND is not of legitimate con- cern to the public. How she was treat- ed by fellow Mercer Island police of- ficer‘s is of legitimate concern to the public. ' In short: This $66,500 wasn’t your money, City of Mercer Island, and we . want to know why you spent it. Diana Kramer Keep us informed and keep task force honest Since your paper was open enough in your editorial of April 1 to chas- tise the City Council for their lack of action on solving the parking prob- lem in the central business district, perhaps you would continue your new- found strength and write an editorial about the somewhat unethical man- ner in which the Community Center at Mercer View Task Force has been act- ing. Ivcall your attention to these points: 51. Jim Pearman, co-chair of the the event or so -» f‘rollrnent; increases. The oldN’orth wet! .ortiigh was always , as the facility that could , ” ought-backfon line”. as a v 'r Built on School District land, the pool isoan and operated by King County. But not for long. , It’snolonger a question of “it” but of “when” the City of Mercer Island it over, asking County . is concentrating-on regional parks and facilities and is turning local- , profanities to local jurisdictions._ . . So if the city is going to have-a pool on its hands in the next couple bf years, perhaps it makes sense to build anew community centef’adja— . cent to it. This increases the chances , of making a pool a success‘fulven- 'ture forthecity. and enhances its, warmtacwnmrmin; Imus“ ONE COULD ARGUE that the North Mercer campus is a better lo- cation for a community center, any- reaction to that? “I don’t have a problem with that; we’re the only country that Karen Hollenbeck, doesn’t have one.” clerk Lindeigh Stein, database specialist “I wouldn’t use it, but it’s fine for people who want to use it.” ' Amy Hoppea . property tax appeals task force, is part of the industry that would benefit greatly from the en— largement of the community center for rental space. Mr. Pearman is the chairman of the East King County Convention and Visitors Bureau (Mercer Island Reporter, March 25). 2. The City Council ordered and paid for a community survey about the CCMV. Hebert Research of Bellevue c0ndu'cted the interviews. The people who participated were of— fered $50/each. Since when does this community need-to pay its citizens money to answer questions? 3. I have heard over and over again that neighbors in the area of the Island that would be most impacted from the CCMV project were deliberately‘kcpt" off the task force committee._ What kind of place have we become when we deny interested Citizens simply be- cause of where they live? , Ibelieveouroouncilsandboardscan handle criticiSm. And even if they way. ‘It’s on a main arterial — 40th Street —- and its location is relatively central on the Island. A community center bear the I new high sChool would offer oppor- tunities forjncreased Shared uses and intergeneran'onal activitiesfor various segments of the 151, , dpo’p— ulation. Senior citizens could take classes in MIHS computer lube-inf thelateaftemoons,for‘examplcl” , . and high school studen‘ts‘in’ service learning classes could Volunteer ‘at’ senior activities oti’in‘ preschool classes. ' Mercer Viewis a gorgeous piece of property, with gorgeous views, but it’s isolated at one end of the Island, with access through narrow residential streets already feeling the impact of the 1-90 park and ride lot. Anyone who’s spent much time at the CCMV knows it generates “Yuck. It’s not needed, as there’s too much nudity anyway.” Karen Brusa, internal auditor ,_ bring Merceerew on liti’eas «a ‘ . school again-— but itiwould costa “‘1; ,, 'y x In inst; both‘have been , 5: ’1 SChSol, c 7in 1982, has been can’t, your role as an editorial writer is to keep us informed and keep them honest. . Chip Miller Remembering a fine and friendly gentleman I am writing this letter in memo- ry of our friend Heinz Betzler. Mr. Betzler was a stamp collec- tor and we in the Finance Department at City Hall would save all of our re- turn envelopes for him. About once a month he would come to City Hall, pick up the envelopes, and always leave us a treat, usually a box of can- dy. Mr. Betzler was a fine gentleman and even though we will miss his warm and‘friendlysmile and conver~ " serious about his many travels, we will cherish his memory. Barbara Hasson amen “ year of each ' at. 1960.axiéiNorth l rented primarily to private schools " s and preschools;- The fate of Youth Theatre Northwest and the various ; tenants of the North, Mercer Camp 3»: is up in the air in any-caseif the E" districtrnust convert. either old ‘, 2- building back to anchool.” . a In a community characterized public facilitiess rinkled all Over a: the Island,_»this might be an oppor-3 .tunity' to consolidate; to combine a: Compiunity centerwithan‘eiristing . ' pool and a successful theater. V “I Maybe it’s crazy to even consids or changing gears afterso much planning on the community center at Mercer View. ‘ ,5 . Maybe it’s crazy to consider studying another location with nevg; assumptions about school enroll— if ment projections andthe future of 3. the Mary Wayte pool. But maybe it’s crazy not to. nuance: tannin? 'sueaaaaaasuakaaaaaana; {ii ‘5. .yzefifiviié‘séifilenda “No way. I’ve always been ,. against that, I don’t want 'my' chil— k dren involved in that.” V Yung Knuckey, r audit analyst '2 figmmwmmsgs} ..t....‘._1...MLHWM<M . , l , . ,; , [My ,Hv. . g. ,«y , .. v. .. With“: . F “33],; ranvn—u ..