[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a Reader. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Waterland Blog nor its staff:]
An open letter to our elected leaders and officials of The City of Des Moines:
The citizens who live and call the City of Des Moines ‘home’ are faced with the biggest battle that they have ever seen. This battle could change the face of our community forever and affect each and everyone of us in the tri-city area of Kent, Federal Way and Des Moines.
The Woodmont Recovery Center is at the heart of the conflict and has heated up the community to a boiling point beyond patience and trust of our civic leaders. Over 250 angry, involved and scared families attended a community meeting on August 18th. People stood up and told Mayor Dave Kaplan and CEO Ken Taylor (of Valley Cities), that this facility is not welcome in our community. Now our city leaders admit to us that “They Screwed Up”. Not only did they screw up, they betrayed each and every one of us. They put their own agenda before the safety of citizens, children and families.
Our city leaders got us into this mess, and now they have to get us out of it. To address the city councilman and city officials who chose not to attend our community meeting… I can safely say there are a lot of people in this community fighting this battle who do not think much of your leadership and the direction you are taking our city.
As for the independent third party examiner, Theodore Hunter, that our city hired to hold the public meeting and approve this facility…Shame on you. The gravity and magnitude of this decision should be career ending. Blatantly disregarding the existence of an elementary school while placing a drug, alcohol, psychiatric and methadone clinic within 674 feet of it is not only a question in moral judgement but also worth evaluating the decision making process. The City of Des Moines is nearly insolvent and bankrupt. Combine that with a reduced police force (four officers at any given time) and a local government with agenda’s other than the safety and protection of families, and we will be looking at a war zone in the Woodmont area. The jurisdictional lines are clouded at this intersection with Federal Way to the south and Kent to the east. Who will be taking responsibility for responding to the increased crime in this area? Did you consider and negotiate that with our neighboring cities?
To City Manager, Tony Piasecki. You are so out of touch with the citizens of Des Moines. At the last city council meeting, you felt threatened by one of our citizens, so you requested an officer to be in attendance. This man took time out of his day to attend a city council meeting with his young son. You recognized him from the community meeting held at Woodmont Elementary School. He was vocal about his fears, passionate about his anger and demanded answers from the panel. He spoke for 99% of the people in the gymnasium that night. Instead of listening to his message and respecting his opinion, you reacted in fear and sought protection. Everyone in the Woodmont community is asking for you to listen, respect our opinions, react to OUR fears and PROVIDE protection. The thing is, you get protection by flagging down an officer. We aren’t so privileged. Our safety and welfare will be dependent on the negotiations of a ‘Good Neighbor Agreement’ by the Des Moines City Council and Valley Cities…both parties who have shown no regard for our best interests but expect us to trust them.
Our city leaders continue to show zero transparency with this facility. Further proof of this can be found in our Fall 2015 City Currents newsletter. Did you read the full story? It’s not mentioned on the cover or in the ‘What’s Inside Index’. If you can’t find it, it’s because it’s not there. It is conveniently hidden in a single sentence on page six. Read it and see if you feel fully informed. The bottom line is that we cannot give this project the support it needs. If our leaders won’t make our children and community come first, then the citizens will!
– John Castronover
[Have an opinion or concern you’d like to share with our Readers? Please send us your Letter to the Editor via email. Include your full name, please remain civil and, pending our review, we’ll consider publishing it.]