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Mercer Island Reporter
Mercer Island, Washington
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September 30, 1981     Mercer Island Reporter
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September 30, 1981
 

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i LIBRARy OCT ng a a barrel of fun, =v -cording to Pepper Kmnim M =mr resident and former drctm clown. Kmnlnoff perkzrmed them tricks at Luther Bmbm k Park INt week Ptzie Hill mmm school students. For more pictures and a stow about Kandn- ofl's clown philosophy, see page A8.(Ph by Dave m against city Beginning next week: The Reporter becomes a Tuesday paper Watch for It in your mall Oct. 6 Putting her best feet foward Islander recalls life in Tunisia, page BI .q Mercer Island. Washington Volume 28 Number 39 50 Cents Wednesday. September 30, 1981 At 'worst council meeting in memory,' By NANCY GOULD It was "the all-time worst city' council meeting" anyone present could remember, Amid hostility and caustic com- mentary, the council Wednesday, Sept. 23, voted 5-2 to amend Ordi- nance 483, thereby deeming the old Farmers New World Life Insur- ance Company building on Sunset Highway frontage road "'an im- practical and undesirable" site for city hall. From a crowd of more than 75. the council heard more than two hours of public testimony, much of it eonfrontive. In response, a heavy gavel was wielded by an angry mayor. "You will be ejected from the room ff you speak out of turn again," admonished Mayor Beth Bland as she jumped to her feet after a particularly loud-mouthed remark from the audience. One spectator, Bob Reid, re- ferred to the "witch-'era way in which some of you have tried to stonewall the council tonight I'm embarrassed by some of my neighbors here." THE EMOTIONALLY-LADEN issue dealt with amending Ordi- nance 483, passed in July of 1979, to authorize issuance of $2.5 million bonds to acquire and develop a city maintenance facility and a city hall on the Farmers property off Frontage Road. The amendment supports ex- ploring lease or sale options, "be- cause the Farmers building now appears less desirable than other locations for a city hall." Mainte- nance and renovation costs are greater than first estimated, and citizen access to the butldtng ts more difficult than first thought. reads the amendment. Further- more, more was spent to develop the maintenance shops than was originally planned, leaving only $275,000 of the bond money to con- vert the building. Also. responses to $5,0(X} worth of advertising and marketing since June have brought some fi- nancially-attractive possibilities. some councilmembers say. Blfr AT LEAST 41 persons. calling themselves Concerned Cit- izens for Responsible Government ICCRGI. disagree so vehemently with this decision the.~ are seeking a court writ forcing the city to fol- low its original plans to move city hall into the Farmers building. Details of the legal battle are in an accompanying story. "I don't think any of the 'so- called changed' circumstances cited in the amendment hold up," Bob Orr told the council "It's a fallacious assumption to cater to pedestrian traffic. I'd drive my car to any city hail on Mercer Is- land, just as all the others who filled the Mercer View parking lot tonight." Many persons in the audience wanted information from three feasibility studies undertaken by the city to analyze the 37,000- square-foot building's potential as a city hall or as an income-pro- ducing property. Studies were done by Waldron, Pomeroy, Polk and Smith, archi- tects, Coldwell-Banker Commer- cial Real Estate, and the city staff. Information from these studies has been withheld as it pertains to property disposition, which is ex- empt lrom the pul)hc dis~'losure rule. THE COUNCIl, .M,SO IS SI'I.IT on the issue Bill Stewart said he Is v,m,'vrm,d the majority of the c mtwtl 'has It~ sights on Mercerdah, Ficht." ~1 surplus school propcrl), for a lu ture city hall. "We neither ha~e the land nor the inonev for thai. so we shouht capitahze on havm~ a bird in the hand ~w~th Farmers " Stewart said He also said he docsn't lhmk conditions have changed "lust the attitudes of ('lly Man;lgel" Larry Rose and some of the c,un ell. In July, 1978, when the city and schools were talking al~)ul trying to help each other out. Rose told me he thought Shorev~'~.~d Apart ments was 'a fine phwe' for city hall" But Stewart said Rose in i.qT.q changed his tune to laud Farmers as "an incredible future home for the city, police station and p, ssi bly the court. By 1980 Rose called city hall at Shorewood "'an archaw muddle of apartment complexes creating an unappealing bathroom bureaucracy." Now he doesn't think Farmers is a good place ei- ther. Stewart added. "I just don't trust Larry Rose anymore," Stewart told the Re- porWr after the meeting. During the meeting he said he wondered if he had all the same information as the rest of the council, since "in many cases ! haven't received in- formation from the city manager in the past." Councilmember Jim Horn urged tabling of the issue until after the CCRG had its day in court, tie said he was appalled at thc i~Mtr rein- tlonshtps which have developed I~:qwecli the council and the eom- munit~ as a result of the way the lsstw had been handled Ih' ;lls. su gested the city move int. F~,rtnet's when it is vacated in 1~3~2. "without spending any money for remodeling -- to see ho~ we like it. There needn't be an~, conuuitment to it," Ilorn also questioned the authen twlty Of figures from studies cited m the ordinance and amendment as well as "changes in the build- tn~'s desirability" t'(|UNCII,MEMBER BEN WERNER said all past studies have shown the best location fl~r city hall to be in the central bust ness district. "Tht're Js an active citizens' group willing to explore Mercer dale property with the school dis- trict." added Werner. "Talks may provide some benefit to both us aml the school district." "' tt you think city hall should be at Mercerdale. let's get a cost comparison on that rather than the one we have between Shorewoud and Farmers," retorted Horn to Wemer. Horn said the current studies are comparisons between "apples and oranges." Werner, Bland. Fred Jarrett. Verne Lewis and Gordon Rasmus- sen spoke in favor of the amend- ment. assuring the citizens that any negotiated proposal would be brought before the council again at a public meeting. According to Lewis. "when you see the offers, you'll be glad we pursued them. ! anticipate an at- tractive proposal from a dollars and cents point of view" By NANCY GOULD A King County Superior Court judge tomorrow will likely hear a request by a group of citizens for a writ of mandamus forcing the City of Mercer Island to move its ad- ministrative offices into a building which it owns. The structure in question is the old Farmers New World Life In- surance Company building near the East Channel. which the city acquired as a gift in a land swap in 1979 In a special meeting Wednes- day, Sep! ~9. the council voted 5 to 2 to amend Ordinance 483, and di- rect the city manager to solicit lease or sale proposals for the building Councilmembers Jim Horn and Bill Stewart dissented. "'It's just as possible you have passed an illegal amendment to- night," said [~nnie Schulze after the council action. Schulze is spokesman for Concerned Citizens for Responsible Government CCRG,the group which is seek- ing a writ of mandamus demand- ing the city use the building for city hail. as it once had planned. ' Your amendment will go before a judge for review." Tomorrow's court proceeding ~Thursday. Oct. 11 was resehe- duled from Sept 28, and if court scheduling permits will be as- signed to a judge after 9:I0 a.m. The citizens" protest has been raging for more than a month, since the council decided at a July 2 special meeting to entertain out- side offers for the tmllding's use. According to Councilmemher Bill Stewart, three lease offers have been considered to date. Forty-one Mercer Island citi- zens comprise CCRG, and are rep- resented by attorney Randolph Petgrave, also of Mercer Island. Petgrave has taken depositions from City Attorney Ron Dickin- son, Mayor Beth Bland, and the other six council members. Pet- grave has said he intended to de- pose City Manager Lawrence Rose Monday, Sept. 28, upon Rose's retur~i from a three-week absence at a city managers' con- vention. Petgrave also sought a writ of prohibition so the council could not hold the special meeting Sept. 23 to amend Ordinance 483, the July, 1979, document which authorized the issuance of $2.5 million coun- cilmanic bonds "to acquire and de- velop new maintenance and ad- ministrative facilities" on the Farmers site. Superior Court Judge Jack SeboHield found against CCRG's request to prohibit the special meeting, choosing not to interfere in the legislative process, he said. Schulze, CCRG spokesman, said there have been no changed cir- cumstances since 1979 to warrant the amendment; and that the council has not been democratic in the decision-making, nor has it lis- tened to its constituents. Mayor Beth Bland, left, keeps an eye on her watch to time imlividual testimony and raps her gavel to maintain ord~ at an unruly ciai council meeting Sept. 23. Col. Bruce takes a "strong umbrage" at her sugge ion that the maqodtv of dtizer, s' remarks were aimed at "'making the counctl foolish." (Photos by Dave Ekren) Lightning strikes Island home The J.A. Santerelli family got quite a jolt Sunday night, Sept. 27. when a bolt of lightning struck a nearby tree, arced to the house and boomed throughout the elec- trical system of the house, "We saw flashes, heard loud crashes and saw smoke coming from the outlets at 5:40 p.m " said a very shaken Mrs. Santereili Monday morning. None of the five in the family were hurt, she said, "but who would think that would happen in this pan of the country? l'd expect it in the Midwest, but not here." The home is at 8 Shorelane Drive, near the 6800 block off West Mercer Way. Mrs. Santerelli was at the klt- cl n sink when the flash occurred, "aM sparks came from the refrig- erator, the water pipe to the ice- maker blew out and water was spewing from there too. One of our daughters was on the telephone upstairs and heard a loud clap In the phone and couldn't hear for 8 few minutes. "Paneling on a basement waft buckled and wood was knocked from under the eaves. When the fire department came the power was turned off and i expect an electrician will have to come out and fix the electrical system." Mrs. Santerem8 added she also saw a light in the 80-foot fir tree. Fire Marshal Ed McKinney said lightning usually seeks the tallest thing around. Then it travels to the ground, unless there Is a wire for it to follow. In this case, there was a wire. The Santerellis feel lucky there was no fire, just sparks and smoke, and no one waz lahn.ad But they were "mighty nonetheless, said Mrs. Santerellj.