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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Why are County Staffers for Brightwater involved in Woodinville’s Election for our Water and Sewer District?

Hank Stecker, candidate for the Woodinville Water Board of Commissioners questions the propriety of a letter written to the board from a King County department head.

Why are County Staffers for Brightwater involved in Woodinville’s Election for our Water and Sewer District?

Pertaining to the ongoing election for Woodinville Water Commission, I received a letter from Christie True, King County Director and former Project Manager for Brightwater apologizing for getting involved in the Water District election and involving Jack Vermeulen and myself in her comments. She writes "I therefore wish to retract the letter" to the Woodinville Water District and states “the purpose of the letter was to correct what I believed to be inaccurate factual information”.

The letter's history is interesting. On Sept. 6th, Karen Steeb the Chair of our Water District, emailed Christie True at King County: “I am running for re-election to the Woodinville Water District Board of Directors. My opponent and another opponent have made some very interesting predictions about future actions of King County Waste Management and Brightwater that will be forced upon the Woodinville Water District ratepayers. They have posted their claims on their websites at; www.VoteJack2011.com  and www.ElectHankStecker.com. I would appreciate your comments on their claims”.

Karen Steeb’s request is clearly campaign-related asking for County involvement in a local election. While Christie True stated she didn’t “want to intervene in elections”, she did just that directing at least 9 county staffers to compose a letter (on county time) that she knows will be used for campaign purposes. Ms. Steeb and Mr. Goodwin then use a public water district meeting, with invited press in attendance, to read this letter into the record for the purpose of promoting their election. Both of these actions would appear to violate State Code RCW 42.17.130: “No elective official nor any employee of his [or her] … agency may use or authorize the use of any of the facilities of a public office or agency, directly or indirectly, for the purpose of assisting a campaign for election of any person to any office …."

Why is the former project manager for Brightwater being asked to and then getting involved in the election for Woodinville Water Commissioners? These same Commissioners that have the authority to compel their users to hook-up to Brightwater and who just unanimously (with no legal obligation) passed resolution 3725 on July 5th which states: The District (has) statutory authority to compel property owners to connect to the District’s sewer system...when... there is an issue of public interest. Why is the county also working to extend sewer into the unincorporated areas of our district?

Folks, properties built on large lots and on septic comprise 85% of the Woodinville Water District. Who is planning our future for sewer and water and why these resolutions? It may help to know that not one Water Commissioner owns property on a large lot with septic. Of the five Commissioners three are renters and two have homes on sewer in downtown Woodinville. They have nothing at stake.

My family has owned our Woodinville home on large lot/septic (which works just fine) for 22 years. I have been and will continue to be a strong advocate for our neighborhoods. We have some serious issues to address that will impact the future of our community over the next several decades. It’s time these issues get addressed in an open forum so the voice of our community can be heard and we can shape our future together. 

Gail October 10, 2011 at 09:19 PM
Thank you Hank.

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