|Bob Yoder, Editor and Writer|
Dear friends and visitors,
Welcome! The Idylwood and Education Hill neighborhoods of Redmond have been my home for over 32-years. I've been living in the same house with my wife since we've been married - a stone's throw from Hartman Trails, Mann Elementary and Redmond Middle School. (Read my Profile.)
In 2006, I started writing this blog to shed light on city government land use and public notice issues. Residents from greater Redmond, Lake Washington School District and Evergreen Health Hospital District now contribute with their own stories, opinion and photos. Send your contibutions to firstname.lastname@example.org
The RedmondBlog.org (RNB) overarching mission is "to broaden community." A seminal piece to this end is "Reaching out to our Neighbors, Sharing our cultures." I hope you'll participate.
The goals of Redmond Neighborhood Blog (RNB) are providing:
1) independent news and opinion of Greater Redmond neighborhoods. A place for neighbors to comment, participate, advise, and connect. (Send in your news and opinions!)
2) a catalyst for change and community building in Greater Redmond, WA.
3) a public service, seeking insight and transparency of our local governments of: Lake Washington School District, Evergreen Health County Hospital District, the City of Redmond, WA. and of non-government organizations.Community participation and contribution on this blog is appreciated. Popular stories, news and opinion are posted on the sidebar as "Popular Stories." Your readership keeps RNB the #1 "neighborhood blog" in the country. Search it, you'll see!
RNB is constantly evolving and adapting to the needs of our community. For the last five years I've scrutinized local governments to identify needs, activate change, open government processes, monitor power, and independently report the truth behind the news. It's important to build and broaden city, school and health communities and be more communicative with our governments. Relevant posts are emailed to our governement leaders so they have feedback.
RNB "digs deeper for community news that counts to greater Redmond neighborhoods." This blog looks beyond "news" spun by PR departments. Our news is community-driven and not comprehensive. Primary sources for government news are: public meetings, staff contact, and researching public records.
To build-community, at times, we have to renovate or rehabilitate outdated structures - "raise a new barn." In other times, recognition and public attention to organizations will bring out their best to move the community forward. A few examples of community activism and progress, are as follows: (This list is consolidating and growing under the "catalyst" label.)
- RNB reported the 2008 Bear Creek floods on SR-520 with photos and a reader video that catalyzed funding actions by WSDOT, Rep. Ross Hunter, Finance Chair and other key legislatures and leveraged community voice. Councilmembers Cole and McCormick thanked RNB, stating the communication opened the doors to an $8 million state grant to re-locate the creek away from 520 and mitigate flooding. The city is contributing $2 million to the project. Endangered salmon and riparian habitat are restored. Preliminary consulting work started in 2011-12 after Army Corps delays from an archaeological find.
- In 2006, investigative reporting catalyzed hazardous waste clean-up and stormwater infiltration and riparian upgrades in SE Redmond industries. 11 regulatory agencies swept onto a AWR to enforce the city aquifer protection ordinance. RNB leveraged voice with the State Department of Ecology, City of Redmond Code Officer, SE Redmond industries, and the engaged community. In 2012, the City incented SE Redmond business to install stormwater treatment systems and upgrade their permits.
- Starting in 2005, RNB raised awareness of flawed public land use notice and catalyzed notice changes. The proposed land use public comment period was extended by 33%. Signage and Hearing notice were improved. Neighborhood meetings were required with proper noticing.
- In 2005, awareness was raised of Perrigo Heights plat encroachment on Hartman Wetlands and it's important woodland trail connectors. RNB lobbied the developer for a native growth easement trail. The City purchased 3 acres from the landowner to buffer the forested wetland trail neighborhood connector. City Administration appears more transparent about Land Use projects, though website notices are still dated and urban center tree clearing permits are non-transparent.
- Councils and Boards are dependent on staff for the information they need to set policy and fund operations. Thus, salaries and bonuses of local government workers are usually increased without meaningful Council or Commissioner review; yet labor costs constitute the majority of local government budgets. RNB brings transparency to this challenge.
- RNB coverage of LWSD and Evergreen Hospital governments began in 2009. Evergreen's Brown Administration ended abruptly thereafter. LWSD's Superintendent Kimball left for Singapore in July, 2012. Both administrations have written entirely new organizational charts. Kudos to the City and Evergreen for putting "the people" on the top of their organizational hierarchy.
- Some local governments hire, pay, train, promote and fire employees without any written job descriptions. Policy and Administrative code language is seriously outdated at LWSD. Improvements in code process have been made at Evergreen and the City of Redmond and recently the school board has been updating some of their language.
- RNB investigated the school district's use of archaic city code to document their over-regulated pet policy. District policy was changed to conform with County code giving owners more freedom to walk their dogs. New signage was installed district-wide. Pet policy is more transparent. Pets are prohibited from athletic stadiums.
- RNB identified and clarified mission and vision statement confusion within the Chamber and is promoting "One Redmond" to realize economic sustainability.
- RNB connects organizations and their leaders with the community. LWSD superintendent is now an ex-Officio member of the Chamber and Redmond Economic Development Association (REDA). Evergreen CEO Bob Malte is communicating with LWSD.
- Evergreen Hospital commissioners are improving transparency and placing greater emphasis of general levy dollar allocations for community health and wellness programs for 2013
- RNB reported on eight state audit "findings" from the Brown Administration and in 2010 hot-lined the State Auditing Office (SAO) for levy accountability. Taxpayers will receive a $476,990 capital levy carry-over refund in 2012. The Evergreen Board of Commissioners wrote their first Levy Charter in 2011. The Malte Administration renamed Evergreen Healthcare to Evergreen Health in 2012.
- Local governments are reminded their records and documents are public and owned by the People. RNB works to open government and improve reasonable access to government information. Problems and unintended consequences are solved or minimized and public trust builds with citizen participation. The City of Redmond (and King County) now post transparent disclaimers that their emails are subject to public record requests.
- RNB reports on the burgeoning free-standing ER and Urgent Care industry, over-prescribing of opiates, and sometimes financially abusive medical procedures upon patients with independent insurance.
Microsoft became a part of Redmond's 2012 Centennial celebration from their move here in 1986. You may notice a few Microsoft and Google products on my blog. Bing was launched after I started blogging on Blogger. I and hundreds of neighboring businesses are fortunate to have MICROSOFT as a prized greater Redmond "Edge City" employer. At the same time, I acknowledge Google's presence in Kirkland and am grateful both engines crawl my pages!
Thank you for reading and and contributing to Redmond Neighborhood Blog! Please share RedmondBlog.org with your friends and neighbors! Your stories, news, photos and opinion are always welcome and eagerly reported with your permission.
Redmond Neighborhood Blog published By:
Bob Yoder, Community Editor, Writer, Photographer
Education Hill Neighborhood
Redmond, WA. 98052
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*Journalism experience: "Seattle Times" News Partner (2010), "Bloggers We Love" feature for New York's "Outside-In" (2010). "City Watch" Redmond Reporter columnist (2007). "Journalism That Counts" seminars in Tacoma (Tacoma Tribune) / Seattle. Student of Kovach and Rosenstiel's "The Elements of Journalism".
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Disclaimer: RNB is not responsible for errors, omissions or mis-representations made by RNB's publisher, editors, reporters, and news, comments and opinions made by readers. Not all content and sources are verified. Readers can expect that errors, omissions, and misrepresentations will occur from time-to-time, though every measure is made to publish accurate, clear, and responsible reporting. Reader "comments" are moderated for civility, and relevant, factual content. Readers should leave their name after comments and Letters. B.Y. 10/3/2013