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Major campaign misinformation | Letter
A longtime campaign member of Kenmore Council members Laurie Sperry’s and Allan Van Ness’s election team posted a July letter to the editor in which two issues were used to grossly mislead the public in support of the claim that: “Sperry and Van Ness deserve re-election.”
In the first issue, Sperry and Van Ness do not deserve credit for reducing the cost of the new 22,000-square-foot City Hall from $23.5 to $17 million.
It was a citizen group from the Uplake neighborhood (Hugh Wiese, Don Williams, Jim Palm and Wayne Fu) who deserve the credit for saving taxpayers millions on City Hall costs. Sperry and Van Ness had met with the group in August–September of 2008 and dismissed their concerns. When city management did not provide reasonable information, the Uplake group made a legally binding public records request for the design budgets.
After the request, the assistant city manager failed to provide the documents requested and instead provided copies of the recent city council meeting documents. (In fact, she was in charge of the project and had five different budgets at that time.)
When the group responded that these were not the records that they requested, the assistant city manager (who is the vice president of our executive branch) responded “she was not aware of or did not have such information.”
The group persisted and the city was ultimately forced to acknowledge the issue, hand over the budgets, and re-bid the project at a savings of $6.5 million.
The Uplake group filed a complaint with Sperry, Van Ness and the council that the city had violated state law under the Public Records Act when they failed to provide the requested budget documents. They were ignored.
The state auditor reviewed the complaint and found that the city did violate the law. Sperry, Van Ness and the council ignored that also.
Documentation supporting these facts are online at: http://db.tt/vBJgfiob.
The second misleading issue is the credit given for the prudent funding of the State Route 522 project.
Originally, the city was to pay $6 million for the project. When Sperry and Van Ness took office in 2006, the project was fully funded at $46 million, with Kenmore paying $6 million. (See proof here: http://db.tt/pkbBId7J.)
Now, the 2013 budget reports that the cost of the project has grown from $43 to $83 million and to date, Kenmore has paid (not $6 million) but $13.2 million into the project. In addition, the budget has Kenmore paying another $9 million through 2016 in addition to $2.4 in reported grants that are unfunded. Without additional grant funding the increased cost to Kenmore taxpayers will have grown under Sperry and Van Ness from $6 million to $24.6 million.
During Sperry’s campaign four years ago, she refused to acknowledge the escalating cost of the SR-522 project and told the Kenmore Reporter on Sept. 30, 2009 that: “Kenmore will never get stuck with any bill for the roadway.”
Documentation for the increased costs of the SR-522 project are here: http://db.tt/qQi4SkdE
The council deserves credit where credit is due, but they do not deserve the false credit given out by their campaign team.
John Hendrickson, Kenmore