New City Leaders Encouraged to Embrace Transparency

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These past few weeks have been a whirlwind at Yelm City Hall.

We have a new mayor, city administrator, councilor and another councilor resigned. This comes after three newbies gained election to the Yelm City Council during last year’s election cycle. That’s a lot of change.

First off, thanks to all for stepping up in what can be a tireless job with little pay (except for the city administrator, who gets paid plenty). Councilor Bob Isom, congratulations for all the fine work during these past 16 years, and best wishes as you work through the Moose Lodge organization and its charity “Mooseheart” to make this world a better place.

I spent a few afternoons not so long ago with developer Mike Edwards and Community Development Director Grant Beck examining the governance of the city of Yelm. After more than a few hours on more than a few afternoons, we came to the conclusion the city is operating in a reputable manner, but could be a bit more transparent and proactive in defending itself when it comes under criticism.

With all this change, there has been plenty of talk about being open and above board, I hope all of our new players make sure that is a priority. While we applaud your dedication, in the end, you all serve for the best interests of the people, and that includes as open a government as possible.

Food Trucks

Speaking of the council, the Yelm Business Association presented the Yelm City Council Tuesday night with a proposal to come up with a set of regulations regarding food trucks.

If you haven’t left our sleepy former bucolic town, food trucks are all the rage. I went to church in Seattle not long ago and there was a food truck parked right outside the front door.

I put up a question on Facebook asking people if they would support assisting food trucks in coming to Yelm. The support was overwhelming a “yes.”

My favorite comment came from our own Nisqually Valley News Correspondent Cindy Teixeira, who wrote, “I personally would like tacos on every corner. Wait, we have that already, right?”

All kidding aside, I see no valid reason to block food trucks from rolling into town. I know one food truck with local ties that has a reputation for delivering the tastiest of hamburgers once a week. I sure would like to stroll out into the parking lot on a busy work day and grab one to go.

Art Show

The Yelm Business Association was also busy with its first of what is hoped to be an annual arts and crafts show.

The show took place in the courtyard of RE/MAX Country. You can read all about it on the front page of our Life section.

Before coming to Yelm, I was the executive editor of our sister paper headquartered in Centralia. Each year the artist community puts out what is called ARTrails. Artists open up their studios for two consecutive weekends, showing how they work and sell their creations (perfect timing just before the holidays).

It has continued to grow and it is amazing how many studios are tucked away across Lewis County. You can read about it on the second page of our Life section which we always reserve for our “Go” feature, which highlights a happening usually just outside of the Nisqually Valley.

As far as an ARTrails happening here, I imagine Yelm has its full share of artists that we don’t even know about. Wouldn’t it be fabulous to spend a sunny fall afternoon crawling around all those Bald Hills artists’ studios discussing art?

I sure would like to see something similar emerge in the greater Yelm area.

The Yelm Business Association has a vision of promoting our area as a sort of artists’ colony. That idea has merit.

Rocket Firings

Joint Base Lewis-McChord announced this week (see page 5 in our Life section on the military page) that they will go forward with rocket firing testing next week.

This rocket training usually takes place on the remote training grounds near Yakima. The military is testing if they can do it here in the Nisqually Valley without too much disruption to area residents. If so, it would save money to keep the training here.

It is important to note that the rockets will be fired within the base, and will not fly over Interstate 5 or any of the communities just outside of JBLM. Also, the rockets do not carry any explosives, but they could possibly, if conditions are right, create a sonic boom.

I understand people who are more than uncomfortable with the rocket testings. Some people have deep feelings about our military, be it spending or involvements overseas. Some people simply have pets that cower when the blasts shake Yelm.

I am empathetic, but our military does have to train, and we do live right next door to a major military base.

I agree with those who state, “It’s the sound of freedom.” I trust if the noise is too disruptive, our military leaders will make the right choice.

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