Guest OPINION: I call BS, Mayor Samuel

When I first read Mayor Samuel’s Opinion “Do you want a weed store or a new clinic” (published in The Vidette on March 29, 2018), I thought she was finally giving Montesano the opportunity to actually give an opinion about the direction of our city. Then I realized it was rhetorical BS.

To be totally transparent I must say that (A) I am not running for any political office, and (B) I do not have the funds nor do I desire to purchase the (former children’s soccer field) Gateway Park, now called Bull Dog (dog) Park.

So now the facts:

• To sell public property the city council must declare it surplus —t hat has NOT been done. Neither former Doug Iverson nor I have advocated selling this park. We have suggested selling the old park and ride, but not Gateway Park. From late 2016 the Mayor’s proposal has been to make a rest area in the old park and ride. This would require cutting a road through the park to access this property.

• Thanks to council action in 2014, this grassy area was designated a children’s area and the 1,000 foot no marijuana zone was approved by that council. Making this a dog park removes that protection.

• Doug, I and hundreds of citizens (in a two-day petition drive) believe a rest area and roundabout are wrong for Montesano—in addition to destroying Gateway Park, it would create a nightmare traffic jam downtown, create enforcement problems and cost Montesano taxpayers for maintenance.

• A roundabout is still under consideration at the exit of the freeway. There is insufficient room to build this, at this location, without destroying wet land and/or taking private property. This is not an accident prone location and will waste tax funds. We are thankful to read that the mayor has removed the rest area project from deliberation. Since the roundabout is no longer needed for the rest area, we hope to hear from the mayor that the roundabout has also been removed from consideration. However based on her past statements, seeing will be believing.

• From Mayor Shillinger’s term (and perhaps before), the city has been investigating a rest room at Fleet park. Without funds during those depressed years, nothing could be done except to rent port-a-potties. We are thankful that between county/city/private funding a restroom has now been installed at Fleet Park. Well done mayor (and all partners in this effort).

• We find no request on record for state funding for a restroom at Fleet Park; however there is a request by Rep. Brian Blake in January 2017 for $1.8 million for a “rest area” and $550,000 for a roundabout. The rest area funding was removed by the State Budget Committee, but the roundabout was approved and funding given directly to the city. This is currently a city project to be accepted by the state Department of Transportation before construction begins. Conveniently this project is now being called a “traffic revision.” There are simpler, less expensive options to this problem which we have pointed out.

• A health facility in the old park and ride is within walking distance of downtown, limited ingress and egress for automobiles and would not attract tent residents.

Doug and I have been smeared and accused. We do not control a “powerful push of money” nor do we exert “political pressure to sell Gateway Park” nor do we want Montesano to become something beyond small town America. This is simply a distraction by the mayor to keep the public from realizing that she still wants a roundabout and a rest area and is trying to stifle any dissent.

Lay off the rhetoric, Madam Mayor, be transparent and truthful in what your dreams are. A roundabout does not improve the entrance to town. Listen to others not just a few political friends. I, for one, am tired of being insulted, accused and smeared and take no joy in responding to insulting opinion pieces like the one you wrote last week. We all want the same thing — the best for Montesano.

Ken Estes is a former mayor of Montesano.