- About Us
O'Brien and Black are honest Kenmore residents | Letter
We are a small community with a huge City Hall and a top-heavy staff while many of our children qualify for subsidized lunches. Yet, our Kenmore City Council increases staff salaries – and such favors are returned with expensive travel budgets and retreats. This council more directly voted itself lavish offices, and yet retreats and further insulates itself from residents' and businesses' concerns. Remember when residents pleaded for flood protection and businesses pleaded for viable access to State Route 522 during construction? The council's response was sandbags and traffic cones - Bandaids to their failing policies.
We residents formed Kenmore with a vision quite different than our current reality of a staff that plays favorites through wordplay and misinformation. Exemptions from state laws are justified by such doublespeak as naming all manner of entities "public utilities" and "maintenance." Kenmore's driving force is government working for its own survival.
From three staff members during the first few years of our incorporation, the city staff has grown to more than 20, while our population has fluctuated little. We are a city of supervisors supervising supervisors and demanding not just high-end salaries, also retirement programs that grow exponentially.
As residents struggle with personal budgets, we must pay for this outsized staff for decades and suffer as a city with permit fees far more extensive and higher than Kirkland's. Such fees make it difficult for residents to do home improvements and, perversely, the fees motivate the city to issue permits to subdivide sloping lots, which add to city-wide flooding. At one time, this valid issue was brought up by Bob Black; the council ignored it for years, except for Councilman John Hendrickson who repeatedly objected to the city policies.
Hendrickson was also brave and correct the many times he warned us that city spending was being mismanaged and hidden taxes were on the rise. The city was granted enough funds to complete the renovation of SR-522 in a timely manner, yet the process dragged on, ruining businesses, with one-third of 522 in Kenmore left un-renovated due to cost overruns.
We now have a failing infrastructure and higher taxes.
Look at your increasing tax costs on just the Frontier phone bill. The council chose Frontier because the increased taxes benefit the city coffers.
Hendrickson, understandably, may not run again. Remember when Councilman Alan Van Ness told the Kenmore Reporter that the City Hall would cost $5 million, maybe $7 million? Henderickson corrected that misinformation and paid for it in the past election with scathing personal attacks by Van Ness supporters.
Patrick O’Brien has likewise been attacked by the supporters of the current council. You have all heard the city version exaggerated by political foes ad nauseam, of Obrien’s “unsafe” grape arbor later converted to hold solar panels. You saw the photographs of that stout structure. The city did not have a solar permit policy, and city developer Debbie Bent wrote in an email that the city did not require a permit for solar panels. O'Brien's solar panels were up for three years with a Washington State Labor and Industries electrical permit, and Puget Sound Energy issued a net metering agreement, yet the city decided after the fact that the panels needed a city permit and singled out O'Brien at a cost of $40,000 in city legal fees and personal monetary and reputation costs to O'Brien. Disagree with the city at your own peril. In politics, candidates cannot sue when the truth of what they have done or not done is deliberately mis-stated by political opponents, a strange law, and apparently when it comes to Kenmore city wordplay, there is not a fair day in court.
Don’t let the same people who attacked honest John Hendrickson ruin our chance to elect two equally honest Kenmore residents, Patrick O’Brien and Bob Black. These two talk in honest specifics, have a passion for this country and for Kenmore. Support hardworking and tax-burdened residents and businesses by supporting Patrick O’Brien and Bob Black who promote fact-based solutions for Kenmore’s failing policies.
Ann Hurst, Kenmore