By David Anderson
Turns out not only Tillicum was kept in the dark.
While former Lakewood City Councilman Walter Neary “starts to squirm as he thinks back about that low time regarding that traffic matter,” also known as the Camp Murray gate debacle, and dusts the cobwebs off the information he should have known and when he should have known it – should he even be able to find it which, as you’ll read below, he won’t – here for his indigestion and everyone else’s reflection who gives a rip about being ripped off by elected representatives, is a review of “the conditions that created the fluke,” per Neary (read his comments to an article linked here).
The fluke of which “the public deserves a better explanation of what happened there and why,” per Neary.
The fluke that cost Tillicum’s residents $20,000 in out-of-pocket court costs to sue the city.
The fluke that resulted in hundreds and hundreds of pages of documents in protest, and hours and hours consumed in writing them, rallies, letters, testimonies and letters-to-the-editor.
OK then, here following – so that “maybe we avoid,” per Neary, flukes in the future – is a facsimile of what “a fluke” looks like to the flummoxed in actual quotes from the powers-that-be (no reference to anyone in Tillicum as it obviously turned out).
Note: there is a connect-the-dots conclusion following the time-line document research so you can skip to that if you prefer.
What was the date Camp Murray and Lakewood City Staff began meeting about the gate relocation?
Bugher: “the city learned about this project in May, 2009”
Lowenberg: “the City approached Camp Murray in (August), 2008”
(Lowenberg was then the fellow with whom the buck stopped on Camp Murray. To this date it remains unknown with whom the buck stops in Lakewood.)
Whose idea was it to move the gate?
Bugher: “the city learned about this project”
Lowenberg: “Lakewood officials contacted us about moving our gate”
How often did the two agencies meet?
Bugher: “Between May and October (2009), meetings continued”
Lowenberg: “For more than two years, (the two agencies) met on a regular basis”
When were the citizens of Tillicum informed?
Lowenberg: “In addition to working with City officials the past two years, we’ve provided information and voluntarily hosted open public meetings.”
Facts related to what Lowenberg just said:
Tillicum residents were first apprised July 20, 2010 in a Murray press release.
Lakewood never called for an open public meeting for impacted Tillicum residents.
The only open public meetings Murray hosted were Aug.10 & 11, 2010 yet two years of regular meetings of city and Murray staff had taken place, and just one month remained before the close of Murray’s abbreviated public comment period.
Citizen Transportation Advisory Council (CTAC) discussion of this topic over two years: Never. Note: This is the admission of Paul Wagemann, CTAC member, currently chairman of the CTAC.
Most interestingly Lakewood City Councilman Walter Neary was then the liaison between the council and CTAC. So obviously, since the CTAC – by their admission – never had the transportation issue on their agenda and Neary was the go-fer between the CTAC and the Council, what did the council know about the Camp Murray gate project? No more than Neary who knew nothing because the transportation committee knew nothing.
In an August 24, 2010 letter from Bugher to the city council, Bugher wrote “The City chronicled its involvement with the project in the latest version (June, 2010) of the draft Tillicum Neighborhood Plan which is currently before the Lakewood City Council.”
This date of August 24, 2010 is evidently the first ‘briefing’ the City Council had on this issue. In that letter Bugher also wrote, “At this point, staff has merely offered informal comments on a ‘working draft’ version of the EA.”
However, on April 8, 2010 in an email obtained via a Public Disclosure Request (PDR), Bugher writes then Lakewood City Manager Andrew Neiditz as follows: “WA State National Guard staff and City staff are working very hard to finalize the environmental documentation. Both groups are rushing to get this done so as to obtain federal funding and thus relocate the main Camp Murray gate.”
But for public consumption in an article in the TNT dated September 15, 2010, Bugher wrote “Lakewood has never been a proponent of the project.”
Depending on who you’re listening to in the time-line thread above, the earliest date discussions began about gate relocation was August, 2008.
Again depending on who you believe the most – but let’s go with the General again – the party proposing the gate be moved was the city not, interestingly, Camp Murray.
Though both agencies – Lakewood and Murray – admitted to meeting and “coordinating” on a regular basis for as much as two years on this subject of moving the gate, it was not until that two years had passed that for the first time the Tillicum residents sandwiched between the two behemoths – and the community that would be most impacted and have most to lose – would hear about it and that via a press release from Murray.
Though Lowenberg said “open public meetings” had been held, there were in fact only two and those on successive nights, the first of those only 20 days after Tillicum had first read about it in the paper and with but 30 days to the close of an abbreviated public comment period.
Perhaps most revealing of all is an email obtained via PDR sent by Bugher to Neiditz dated April 8, 2010 in which Bugher declared the two agencies – Murray and the City – were “working very hard . . . rushing . . . to finalize the environmental documentation to obtain federal funding and thus relocate the main Camp Murray gate.”
This private transmission to the City Manager is in direct conflict with what Bugher told the council four months later: “merely offering informal comments.”
Ironically, Timothy J. Lowenberg, Major General, Washington Military Department, would write on September 10, 2010, “We strive daily to be open, transparent, and sensitive about how we carry out our public safety mandate . . . . You have my word on it.”
Maybe. And certainly, quite apparently, not the policy of everyone.